We often see (or are told about) the ways in which social media is bad. It saps time, can convince us to trade deep relationships for endless shallow ones, and can cause us to compare ourselves to others in all the wrong ways.
The truth is, social media is a tool. It is neither inherently good nor bad, and it can be used well or poorly.
Vance Hinds is a great example of how social media can help motivate you to do difficult — but good — things.
Hinds has been overweight for many years. There have been seasons in his life where he’s lost weight, and seasons where he’s packed it back on.
“Over my life, I’ve lost and gained hundreds, if not thousands of pounds,” he said, according to the Daily Light. “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.”
Hinds, the Assistant County and District Attorney for Ellis County, found inspiration to try again last year after coming across two motivating factors.
First, he was listening to an episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, where they were detailing the journey of several comedians who had decided to try out hot yoga.
Second, Hinds came across a photo of one of his favorite comedians who’d just run a half marathon.
“I woke up and started drinking my coffee, and I was looking at Instagram, and there’s a video of Bert finished (sic) the St. Pete half marathon in California,” the District Attorney said.
“I was sitting in the chair thinking, ‘you know, if that silly (expletive) can run a half marathon on two and half weeks then I can get off this couch and walk.’ And so that was my inspiration.”
The clock was ticking for Hinds, who knew that he was only getting older and less able.
“I don’t know if I have a choice anymore at the age of 52,” he said. “I have to get this weight off of me. 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.”
He’d failed to keep the weight off before, and needed to try something different this time. So he decided to bare it all, pouring out his story to the internet in hopes that it would keep him accountable.
“I feel like once I cut it open … I don’t have anything to hide,” Hinds said. “Hell, I put myself on the Internet in my underwear weight 475 pounds. It’s liberating, but it’s also humbling to see all of the support.”
He started with walking and soon added swimming and yoga. He invited others to walk with him at nearby parks and ended up gathering quite a group of participants.
“It’s great,” said childhood friend David Snell. “Look, Vance isn’t just helping himself. Look, he’s helping everyone.”
“The truth be told, we all got a weight problem. Vance is pushing all of us by getting involved. Everything he’s doing is a motivation. You know he’s showing the message if Vance Hinds can do it, then we all can do it.”
“It’s impacting me a lot already,” said Mark Howell, another friend from Hinds’ younger years. “Just exercising and being with friends, that’s the best part is the friendship that we still have with all of the classmates coming out and getting behind him.”
Hinds regularly posts photos of workouts, walks, and meals on Facebook and Instagram. He uses social media as his food diary, and he knows plenty of people will be seeing what he eats and how he’s exercising, which motivates him to push himself harder.
At the end of a year of consistent progress, Hinds has lost an astounding 198 pounds.
He’s an entirely different person now, but he’s still pressing on and using the tools available to keep him on the healthy straight and narrow.
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