Fifty-two weeks ago, Vance Hinds stood on the talking scale in the bathroom of his home in just his underwear to hear it state "475 pounds" aloud.
He posted the video to his personal social media pages, stating the weigh-in marked day one of his weight-loss journey. Many undoubtedly rolled their eyes, especially with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and the feasts often offered.
Hinds' Waxahachie High School classmates, David Snell and Charline Simmons were not among those who ever doubted the journey that began when comedian Bert Kreischer initially inspired the assistant Ellis County and District attorney by vocalizing his own weight-loss challenge over the podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” just over one year ago.
In fact, even before he began to chronicle his journey and meals on Instagram and Facebook, Snell and Simmons made certain to join Hinds on his first of several hundred walks and workouts.
That initial push, both from Snell and Simmons as well as Kreischer, led family and friends and even others around the world to join his experience, whether by commenting on the progress or joining in on his workouts.
Hinds even inspired the likes of the semi-retired professional wrestler, Diamond Dallas Page, who is now a motivational speaker and fitness instructor.
Now fast forward one full year: Hinds found himself in the DDP fitness studio in Atlanta for his weekly Monday morning weigh-in — in a little more than his underwear — with cameras hovering around and a couple thousand people watching live online.
This time, though, the scale read aloud, "277 pounds."
Hinds was down 198 pounds from his initial 475-pound weigh-in.
“He came in with a fire in his eye,” DDP said. “It’s like from the first week when he lost five pounds — like now when you hit a milestone like this I only know one other guy who has done anything like that. And along the road, he is sharing it with everybody, which took a lot of guts. And now, everyone is inspired by Vance, like they should be.”
When Hinds reflected on the past year, he immediately acknowledged the relationships he built with his old buddies from high school and the unforgettable adventures he took with his wife, Mary.
“My life changed 180 degrees,” Hinds stressed. “It’s an active lifestyle now versus a sedimentary lifestyle. Before, I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything and just watched TV. Now, we are packed with activities all the time.”
Hinds lost an average of about eight pounds per week over the first few months but, as the weight fell off, it became more difficult to drop the pounds.
“Three hundred was a really hard number to hit,” Hinds admitted. “It took me three or four weeks. I got 300.6 two weeks in a row.”
In those weeks of dissatisfaction, Hinds told himself, “I’m just glad it’s any weight-loss. You gotta have some gratitude that you haven’t gained. Some weeks I have gained. When you gain, I use that as motivation.”
Hinds texts DDP on a daily basis to update his food journal and continues to incorporate the DDP Yoga in his fitness. He even swims every Monday. If Hinds gets in a rut, DDP will tweak the diet and has even challenged Hinds to complete the 30-day DDP Yoga program. Hinds was proud to say he is now in his second 30-day challenge.
In a phone interview with the Daily Light, DDP commended Hinds’ performance with the workouts. When Hinds first started, the exercises were highly modified, and DDP shared Hinds has incorporated some advanced moves into his routine.
Hinds agreed that without the support, accountability and the DDP Yoga program, he would not have been as successful. “All the other times I’ve done it myself, I eventually fall off. But this time I followed DDP’s plan,” Hinds said.
In the first year, Hinds had two main goals — post everything publically and commit to saying “yes” when it comes to staying active. As he became accustomed to his goals, others fell in line. His initial ultimate goal weight was to be under 400 pounds before he saw Kreischer’s comedy show in San Antonio on March 4. When the show rolled around, Hinds was escorted on stage to showcase the success of losing over 100 pounds.
For the next year, the goals Hinds has are not really weight-related but do correlate with his more meaningful lifestyle.
“My first goal for this next year is kind of out of my comfort zone, but I want to write a book,” Hinds said.
Hinds plans to interview people who have reinvented themselves like DDP, who went from wrestling in the ring to a fitness guru. He then mentioned George Foreman who went from the antagonist boxer to the positive influence and spokesman.
Hinds has most definitely reinvented his life in much the same fashion and wants to write a nonfiction book about the thread these stories share.
From his attorney perspective, Hinds also wants to study the evolution of the subjectivity of justice in Ellis County and how it has evolved over the years. “I want to nail down what justice means today,” he affirmed.
Since Aug. 24, Hinds has streamed 10 podcasts, "Extrausual," on popular platforms where he discusses anything from suicides and mass shootings to Tejano superstars or novelists.
His third goal for next year is to complete a sprint triathlon. This year Hinds was unable to participate after a fall off of his bike, but Hinds is confident he will make it to the finish line.
“It’s definitely going to get done next year,” Hinds vowed.
With nearly 200 pounds lost, the option for skin surgery is also a possibility. When asked if Hinds would like to remove the excess skin he said, “I’m telling everyone that I earned those wrinkles. Every one of those was a really good steak, a very good glass of wine and I’m keeping it. I may change my mind down the road, but that’s my attitude right now.”
Related articles: Comedian Bert Kreischer in awe of Vance Hinds' weight-loss journey, Vance Hinds continues weight-loss journey; trains with Diamond Dallas Page, The Vance Hinds Experience: One man's weight-loss journey turns into social media inspiration
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450