'I lost an entire person but I don't miss him' – In 2010, Ben Boukari was the youngest person elected to the Alachua City Commission in Florida. It was one of the biggest achievements of his life, but he worried how his weight would affect how people saw him.
'I lost an entire person but I don't miss him' – "Ben's got a big heart, but there is no reason his body has to be big, too," said Boukari's older brother Bryan, who motivated him to start his weight loss journey in September 2010 after noting that his appearance could hinder his career.
'I lost an entire person but I don't miss him' – For the first nine months, Boukari refused to step on a scale, fearing he would be discouraged by the number. Instead, he relied on the positive comments of friends and family to gauge his progress.
'I lost an entire person but I don't miss him' – Boukari lost 90 pounds in nine months. When his weight loss plateaued, he teamed up with a friend to incorporate high-intensity exercise into his routine. It was the final push he needed to drop another 50 pounds.
'I lost an entire person but I don't miss him' – Boukari believes that consistency was his secret weapon. After a year and eight months of strict dieting and exercise, he had lost 145 pounds, going from a size 52-inch waist to a size 38.
'I lost an entire person but I don't miss him' – Boukari stands with his family in 2013 after his graduation from Saint Leo University. His older brother Bryan, to his left, was the one to inspire Boukari to lose weight.
'I lost an entire person but I don't miss him' – Boukari's biggest piece of advice to other people trying to lose weight: "You can do it ... you have to believe that it's going to work and keep pushing." The photo on the left was taken in March 2010, when he weighed about 380 pounds. The photo on the right is from May 2012, when he weighed 235 pounds.