Back in November 2017, Vance Hinds, the district assistant attorney for Ellis County, Texas, weighed a staggering 470 pounds. But then he listened to an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast in which comedian Bert Kreischer talked about running a half-marathon and giving up alcohol for Sober October and felt inexplicably inspired to start his own weight-loss journey. He posted his very first video from the chair in which he usually sits watching football, vowing to lead a healthier lifestyle.
“Over my life, I’ve lost and gained hundreds, if not thousands of pounds,” he told local news channel. “Normally, periodically, I start these paths, and I lose weight for a while, exercising on my own. But with my wife, it’s just us two, and it’s easy to talk yourself out of it. You do pretty good for a few weeks and a month, and then you start slacking off, and then you quit. I’ve done that over and over and over again.”
This time, however, he made an important change: he decided he would post his progress on social media, which is a tactic, for the record, that studies have shown really does help motivate people to achieve their goals.
Slowly, he began exercising more and eating better, posting constantly on his Instagram account along the way. His efforts began to garner attention on social media, and soon, even a man at his local gym said he’d been following his videos and encouraged him to keep it up.
“I swam a little harder that night, it felt good,” he said.
But the other thing that motivated Vance was the knowledge that the clock was ticking.
“I don’t know if I have a choice anymore at the age of 52. I have to get this weight off of me,” he said. “I just think if I have some extended sickness or injury that I’m going to get to the point that I’m not strong enough to move 462 pounds to be mobile. I don’t think I have a choice. When I started this, I was damn near 500 pounds, close to a quarter ton, so I gotta get it off.
On the second week, he actually gained three pounds, but he didn’t let that discourage him. By the third week, he had lost 10 pounds, and by mid-December he was down to 461 pounds.
But he’s not just doing this for himself, he’s also doing it for his wife, Mary, and their three children.
“Your kids make you better, kids make you want to do better… not only am I doing it for myself, but I’m doing it for them too, to show them that they can do anything if they put their mind to it,” he said.