When it comes to government cutbacks, you'd be hard pressed to top Marko Liias of Everett. The 32-year-old state representative has lost about 150 pounds since tipping the scales at 352 pounds several years ago.
Liias, who is now running for the state senate, says he's struggled with weight for years before his doctor finally convinced him to do something different.
"Year after year we talked about it and I tried dieting. I really tried to make other things work and we finally got to a point in 2008-2009 where he said we have to do something about this and we have to get serious," Liias says.
Liias had a gastric band put in place. But he says it wasn't cheating, just the first push he needed to do to get his weight under control.
"It was a tool that I need to use and in the last year and a half I've used the fact that I have the band in place to make the other changes - eat healthier, eat smaller portions."
Liias credits friends with helping stick to his goals and healthy eating, encouraging him when he felt like giving in.
"It really has been a team effort."
He did have another advantage in this process. He's single, and was able to have full control over what was in his fridge and what he cooked for dinner every night.
So now that he's gone from being a chunk to a hunk, has Liias seen a big boost to his love life?
"You know, not enough yet," he laughs. But he is available. And after focusing on being the best person he could be for himself, he hopes to meet a nice gentleman who shares his new-found love of running. And he says interested suitors are more than welcome to hit him up on Facebook. "I'm hoping that that's the next step.