The 18-year-old said his aunt motivated him to change his life.
When Valerie Bom Conselho visited her little brother in Minas Gerais, Brazil, he told her he was worried about his son. Even though he came from an active and energetic family, 18-year-old Matheus Souza became very unmotivated after high school and gained a lot of weight.
"He had a lot of concerns about his son," Bom Conselho said. "He didn't know what to do."
So Bom Conselho made her nephew an offer she knew he couldn't refuse. Souza had always wanted to come stay with his aunt in America, and she said she would let him if he let her change his life.
Thankfully he did. And just after five months of living in Ormond Beach with Bom Conselho, her husband and their son, Victor Bom Conselho, Souza lost 60 pounds and got his life back.
"I was doing bad," Souza said. "In school, being overweight. I needed a push."
That push started with Bom Conselho cooking healthier meals. Rather than go on a strict diet, she said they just changed his habits by controlling the portions of food on his plate. Half of the plate is always some kind of greens, and the other half is divided into equal portions of veggies, proteins and carbs.
In addition to eating better meals, Souza also started going to the gym regularly. He now works out twice a day, doing cardio in the morning and weights in the evening, along with his cousin Victor.
"Victor doesn't talk," Bom Conselho said of her 30-year-old son who has a disability. "He has brain damage and a communication disorder, but Matheus and him work out, play basketball, swim and play video games. Victor is older, but Matheus is like a big brother."
Though living in Ormond Beach has turned Souza's life around in such a short time, that time is about to end — for now. He'll return to Brazil in May, where he'll start studying to become a lawyer, and at the end of the year, he might return to America with his parents, for good.
"When we left Brazil, his health and motivation were bad," Bom Conselho said. "But now he's healthy and he studies. He's become more responsible."
"I think I'm more conscious now," Souza said. "I think more when I need to make a decision."
And what about the father who was worried about his son just five months ago? Bom Conselho said she's been updating him a little bit on his son's progress, but knows that when he returns to Brazil in a few weeks, he'll be happily surprised.
"My mission is accomplished here," she said, "And I'll keep following up with him to see how he's doing."