Eric Hites, an artist and writer from Danville, Indiana, had always considered himself a "big" person.
He graduated from high school weighing 300 lbs. and managed to nearly double his weight over the years while working as a DJ in his hometown. In Hites’ own words: “I drank too much pop and I didn’t exercise.”
It wasn’t until he turned 40 that he realized how miserable he was. His marriage was in shambles, he lost his job and his health was deteriorating because of his increasing weight. At 560 lbs., the self proclaimed “Fat Guy” felt like he was failing at everything in life, so he decided to get up and do something about it.
“I hit 40 and I said, ‘I’ve got to change this,’” he told the Newport Daily.
Instead of hitting a gym or hiring a personal trainer (as most people would), the author of the quirky cookbook Everybody Loves Ramen, set out on an adventurous bike ride across the United States to get in shape and gather material for his second book.
“By completing this ride, I hope to encourage others to get up and get moving no matter their weight,” Hites wrote on his personal blog Fat Guy Across America. “I have a lot to prove and a lot to make happen. I want to write this book to inspire others and inspire myself and show the love of my life, I still got it. There are a lot of naysayers out there and I am going to prove them wrong.”
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He regularly updates his blog with his bike ride chronicles and during the first two weeks of his epic journey, he has managed to lose 60 lbs.
“You don't have to end up on My 600 Pound Life,” said Hites. “You can just do it yourself. Skip gastric bypass and do it on your own.”
Hites initially assumed his trip would take up to four months, but due to a minor setback involving a bent rim on his bicycle, he is currently stuck in Tiverton – 90 miles from where he began his inspirational journey in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Although Hites’ motivations behind his cross country trip included saving his marriage and getting a new job, his story serves as an encouragement for people like him all over the world. It’s a testament that it is never too late to turn your life around.
He will be on his way soon as a local bike shop Newport Bicycle built the “Fat Guy” a new bike that can withstand his weight and should last until he reaches the California coast, and hopefully, for years following.