State lawmaker shares secrets behind his 150-pound weight loss

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 9:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 1:45 PM

He's not a new face in the state legislature, but this year, some of Representative Marko Liias' colleagues barely recognized him.  That's because the Everett lawmaker recently dropped 150 pounds.

The 32-year-old politician says he's struggled with his weight since he was a teenager.

"The highest weight I can remember was 352 pounds, and I think I probably weighed more than that, but at some point you stop weighing yourself just because it's not really exciting to see the numbers on the scale anymore," said Liias.

He was appointed to the state legislature in the January of 2009, and elected to a full term that fall.  By that point, Liias says his weight was starting to seriously affect his health.

High cholesterol, sleep apnea, and a family history of diabetes and heart disease had his doctor looking for a long term solution.

"He was the one, as I recall, that really sort of raised the idea of have you thought about some of the surgical options, things that are a little more dramatic that could really help make a difference," he said.

In July of 2010, he went through with the gastric banding surgery.  Liias says he lost about 20 pounds immediately, but then the numbers on the scale seemed to stall.

"So about a year and a half ago, I got really serious about eating smaller portions, really removing a lot of the extra sugar and carbs out of my diet, and that was when I started to see progress," he said.

The third key to his transformation is exercise.

He started by literally putting one foot in front of the other, pushing himself to walk a bit further each time.

No, he sets a monthly goal for himself.  For the month of October, he hoped to walk or run 25 miles, and when KING 5 interviewed him on October 24th, he Liias has already met that goal.

"It's really started some good conversations, and it's also led to some good changes in the lives of the people around me, which is exciting," he said.

The strangest part is when people he's known for years don't recognize him.

"I can see it in their eyes, that they don't know who it is that's walking up to them, until I saw something or until it finally dawns on them," he said.

Liias points out that stomach surgery isn't a silver bullet solution.

His advice for others struggling to lose weight is to find what works for you.  For him, it was the surgery combined with exercise and healthy eating.

His transformation took about three years total, from the surgery to today.  At six feet, three inches tall, he now weights in at about 209 pounds, and says he'd like to shed just a little bit more.

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