January 14, 2019 1:34 pm

Fort McMurray man writes book on losing 330 lbs after 2016 wildfire

WATCH ABOVE: Fort McMurray resident Tony Bussey speaks to Kent Morrison about losing 330 lbs after the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires.


An Alberta man is sharing his incredible weight loss journey that was inspired by the devastating 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire. Tony Bussey was one of the residents of the northern Alberta city impacted by the wildfire.

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At the time, the Fort McMurray man weighed nearly 600 pounds. It wasn’t until he was one of the nearly 90,000 people forced to evacuate the city that he was motivated to lose the weight.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire saved Alberta man’s life by forcing weight loss

Bussey was working at the tire shop at one of Suncor Energy’s oilsands plant in May 2016, when the order came to evacuate the facility in the face of a wildfire that was raging dangerously close. Buses pulled up to take employees to Suncor’s airstrip.

Bussey was put at the front of the line because of his size. No one was able to sit next to him on the bus or the plane that evacuated the employees, because he required two seats.

“That had such a profound affect on me. It was everything. It was enough. That was it for me,” he said.

“I couldn’t stop thinking about it the whole way down to Edmonton. I had to change from then on.”

READ MORE: Edmonton couple embraces heartbreaking infertility by losing 200 pounds

Tony Bussey has lost more than 300 pounds after being motivated and he credits his weight loss to his experience of being evacuated from Fort McMurray during the 2016 wildfires.

Tony Bussey, Credit

Bussey made the change immediately after landing in Edmonton. He started walking and changed his diet by doing things like cutting out processed sugar and junk food, and not eating late at night.

READ MORE: Why are so many Canadians obese? ‘There’s not an epidemic loss of willpower’

“I cut out all junk food. It’s been two and a half years now since I had any sort of junk food. I used to a horrible junk food [eater], eating it all the time: processed food, fatty food, everything, anything that could get in me,” Bussey said.

“I was a horrible diet pop drinker. I was drinking 10 to 12 cans of pop a day.”

LISTEN BELOW: Tony Bussey shares his story with 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen

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In the first few months, he lost 100 pounds. Two and a half years later, he’s down 330 pounds.

Tony Bussey has published a book on Amazon called “Through Thick & Thin: How a wildfire was a wakeup call to transform my life,” detailing his 330-pound weight loss that was inspired by the devastating 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire.

Tony Bussey/Amazon

The 44-year-old has published a book on Amazon detailing his experience: “Through Thick & Thin: How a wildfire was a wakeup call to transform my life.”

“There’s nothing worse than feeling absolutely alone and when you’re almost 600 pounds you feel like there’s nobody else in the world struggling with this,” Bussey said.

“I wanted to show people there are other people out there dealing with this, especially at that size.”

While writing the book, Bussey had to recount and remember the challenging times before his weight loss, which he said was difficult.

“When I sat down with the gentleman that was helping me — Mark Griffin — and we started to write the book, he asked questions that I haven’t thought about in years. So some of that is in the book and that was hard,” he said.

READ MORE: 2 years after wildfire, insurance frustrations flare up during Fort McMurray rebuild

Bussey said he has treated his weight loss journey like an alcoholic would treat their addiction.

“An alcoholic doesn’t go out and drink once a week as a treat, [so] I don’t touch junk food,” he said. “I found the longer I got away from it, the less and less I craved it, to where today I don’t crave it at all. My treat right now is putting my socks on, my treat right now is travelling.”

The Fort McMurray man hopes his book can inspire others to make their health a priority.

“If I can do it at the age of 41 and almost 600 pounds and lose this weight naturally, then anybody can.”

Bussey said he’s also doing some public speaking in hopes of inspiring others.

READ MORE: A new study explains why ‘Biggest Loser’ winners regain their dramatic weight loss

— With files from Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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