BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - In the last 10 months, Eric Hites' weight loss journey has taken him 1,300 miles across the country. He started in Massachusetts and now he's in Hancock County.
"My health was going bad," Hites remembered. "My finances, I couldn't get work. My weight was so much. My marriage was a wreck. I started thinking what could I do to get everything back?"
When he started his journey, he weighed in at 567 pounds. He now weighs 498, dropping nearly 70 pounds. Hites said two months into the trip, the Dr. Phil Show aired his story. And the doctor was tough on him.
"He made fun of me for staying with my wife when she was in the hospital," explained Eric.
His wife Angie added, "I was in there for nine days."
Eric said, "He gave me a hard time for staying with her and not riding ahead."
His advice to overweight children who are picked on might surprise you.
"Quit being so sensitive about everything. Okay, I'm fat. I know people pick on you, but they are just words," said Hites.
He has thousands of followers on his Facebook page, Fat Guy Across America, and they track his every move. Kathy West of Daimondhead has been following his journey for the past seven months .
"To look at him, he's not your typical athlete. That's what impressed me. He's not a Lance Armstrong who's been training for this for 20 or 30 years," West said. "I'm an overweight person as well as Eric is, and the idea that he can do something that motivational and inspirational to me is just phenomenal."
His weight loss journey will end in California. Hites said he plans to write a book about his inspirational cross country trip when it ends sometime in August.