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When the fires ripped through the town of Fort McMurray in 2016, people needed to evacuate from their homes. Planes were brought in to help the evacuation efforts and when 43-year-old Tony Bussey boarded, his life changed forever.

“The fire, for all the destruction, and for all the hell that it caused … it saved my life,” Bussey told CBC.

At the time of the fire, Bussey weighed 567 pounds, struggled to put his own socks on and wore a size 66 pant. Because of this, he needed two seats to himself on the plane.

“Seeing people having to wait because I was too fat to sit next to, that was it for me,” he said. “It was like, ‘I’ve got to do something about this.'”

He couldn’t get past the fact that he was the reason someone else couldn’t evacuate and get to safety.

“I kept thinking, ‘Here it is: somebody’s wife, somebody’s husband, somebody’s family member is waiting for their mom or dad or their loved one to come home, and their loved ones have to wait longer now because I’m too fat to sit next to,’ said Bussey.

As soon as he landed in Edmonton he started his weight-loss journey. He now weights 241 pounds and in just under two years he’s lost 326 pounds without any surgery.

A little before and after to encourage anyone struggling with there own weight issues or any issues in life. The pic on the right was taken when I was just beginning my weightloss journey. I had about 70 pounds gone there and still weighed about 500 pounds. The one on the left was taken last night with 324 pounds gone. In the space of 21 months I have lost 324 pounds just by eating right and walking. No gimmicks or tricks. Keep at it no matter what your struggling with. Don’t believe the lies that you won’t succeed, I’m proof that just by hard work and determination you can do anything. #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #weightloss #healthyfood #healthylifestyle #healthy #ymn #determination #motivation #encouragement #happy #new #extremeweightloss #walking #exercise #selfie #nevergiveup #diet #newlife

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“All naturally. No surgery, no anything. Just watching what I eat and walking,” he said. “I basically went on a low-carb, high protein diet.”

He was so determined that even when he was living off of takeout in a hotel room he put in the effort to lose the weight. Bussey would take the skin off his chicken and order veggies instead of fries. He began to walk more to increase his exercise, starting with five minutes and then moving up to 10.

“Two years ago, I could barely walk to my car,” Bussey said. “I could barely fit in my car.”

All the hard work has paid off and he has just bought a pair of size 34 jeans. He has about 20 to 30 pounds of extra skin due to the dramatic weight loss and plans to have it removed so he can start going to the gym.

His current goal is to run a marathon in three years time – on the fifth anniversary of the fire. He also plans to travel more since he has more freedom from his weight-loss and will be less uncomfortable on planes.

Bussey hopes that his weight-loss journey will help inspire those who are struggling.

“You used to think there was no hope. That it was just total despair that you were that big. That there was no going back. It was almost as if you were just waiting to die, as sad as that sounds, but that’s all your life was,” said Bussey. “There is hope. I was 41 when I started this, almost 600 pounds. If I can do this, anyone can.”