When Josh Goodwin looked at a Facebook post from a year ago, he said, "I don't even recognize myself."

And why should he? The public safety officer at the Waxahachie Police Department weighed 476 pounds at the time of the photo. Last Friday, Goodwin celebrated a weight of 289 — more than 180 pounds in just over one year.

The lifestyle change for the 27-year-old started with another Waxahachie man who was in the same shoes. Goodwin followed the story of Vance Hinds, the formerly-475-pound Ellis County assistant district attorney who lost more than 200 pounds in one year. Goodwin noticed the success of Hinds and participated in a handful of weekly walks with Hinds’ group.

“I saw Vance Hinds’ video, and I said, ‘If this guy can do it at his age then I can do something about my weight,’” Goodwin said.

Hinds said Goodwin went on a handful of walks and was in the same boat.

“We had to stop several times around, and he slowly got to where he could go all the way around [Getezendar Park] with us," Hinds recalled.

“I’m super proud of him," Hinds boasted. "He stuck with it, and it’s been over a year now. I know the hard work and discipline it takes to get to where he is today. I’m very proud of him.”

Goodwin, who has worked with the department for the last four years, said he confided in his co-worker and supervisor at the time, Waxahachie Police Lt. Damon James.

“We had a conversation about that, and he had done some things in the past,” James shared. “He was saying that he was worried about his health and he was emotional about it. I asked him if he ever thought about the gastric sleeve.”

In that discussion, Goodwin disclosed that he did not have the means to afford the procedure. James took matters into his own hands and established a GoFundMe account, which raised $5,000 in one week.

“He is young, so if we can get him here for 30, 35 years as a city employee, that’s even better for him and for us,” James explained. “His confidence is 100 times better. He’s, you know — The Big Skinny — that’s what I call him all the time.”

“I almost started crying,” Goodwin expressed when he heard about the fundraiser. “It meant so much to me that he cared enough about my health to do that.”

On Feb. 27, 2018, Goodwin had the medical procedure that restructured his stomach into about a tenth of the original size, according to WebMD.com.

The results were substantial.

“At first the weight was falling off, it was so easy,” Goodwin explained. “Now, I’ve gotten to the point where I have to actually put in the work. From the first of December to the end of December, I didn’t lose any weight. I maintained, which is something new to me.”

Goodwin abides by a diet of 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day, focusing on protein intake. He also works out Monday through Friday at the modernized gym located at the police department. He averages about two to three pounds a week in weigh-loss. He does consume additional calories and is more flexible on his diet on the weekends.

Goodwin explained the weight-loss surgery was a tool to assist in keeping him on a healthier path. He also said his friends, family and co-workers who contributed to the cost of the surgery kept him motivated.

Goodwin admitted he has tried to lose weight all his life. He then disclosed that he weighed "10 pounds and a quarter" when born. Year after year, the weight continued to add up and, by high school, he weighed 400 pounds. He said the most he ever tipped the scales at was 476 pounds.

Before the lifestyle change, Goodwin said he just “existed” through life and had no motivation.

“I would be so out of breath walking from the front to the back [of the station] and would have to sit down I was so out of breath," Goodwin said. "Now, I can jog. I helped with the move of the building with boxes. I feel like I’m a completely different person.”

He is able to work on the mechanics of a Jeep with his dad on the weekends, “go grocery shopping without feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack. […] I feel like I have a new lease on life. I feel like I’ve been freed from the bondage of living in that fat suit.”

He then reflected on last weekend while he celebrated a friends birthday at Cowboys Red River.

“I have more confidence in myself, and I feel like I’m human again. It felt great to have women come up to me and ask me to dance. I never expected that before,” said Goodwin while he blushed.

When Goodwin looked at his future, he did mention that 220 pounds is his goal weight, for now, and does expect to have a skin-removal surgery.

Goodwin said he would not have the confidence he has today without the support of WPD.

“It’s the biggest support group that I could ever have," Goodwin acknowledged. "It’s 100 employees who truly care about me as a person. Some of them may not like me, but they love me because we are a family.”

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450