Radio Host Inspires Others to Walk After Maintaining 103-Pound Weight Loss

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A local radio host lost more than 100 pounds in about eight months. What might be even more amazing is that he kept it off. Now, others are joining the journey.

"It is absolutely wonderful,” said Barb Hoover on a recent walk around the Iowa Capitol.

Walking has become a regular thing for her. "I started last month, and that was my first Friday of retirement, so I decided this needs to be a regular thing,” Hoover said.

“Bless your heart," added Van Harden, who led the walk. You might recognize his voice--he’s a co-host of WHO Radio’s Van and Bonnie. He started shedding pounds in April of 2015.  It took about eight months. "So, I thought I've got to develop something where it's just a lifestyle."

Harden has quite the following on air. Now, he has people following him on the street. "I've actually had people call me on the phone, 'say I hear you walk, can I walk with you?'”

The recent walk is called Walk with Van. Fans meet him at Fleet Feet Sports in the East Village on the first Friday of every month through the summer.

"A lot of people have come up to me and say, 'I lost 50 pounds,' or whatever, and that's a good feeling," said Harden.

He’s kept the 103 pounds off for more than a year. "I've walked at, I think it's 35 different high school and college tracks. I've done Wells Fargo Arena stairs, 3,000 steps there, I've done the Drake Stadium, I go swimming."

Walking has helped Van maintain his weight loss, but something else has played an even bigger role: what he eats.

"Now, when I get off the air at 9, I have a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts and raisins. At noon, I'll have a thing of yogurt, the best thing about that, it's portion controlled. Then for dinner, I'll have chicken or fish, a vegetable, and then I'll have some fruit for a dessert."

Hoover said, "I'm actually amazed, because the hardest thing to do is to keep the weight off, and I'm hoping this walk will help me follow in those footsteps."

You can walk with Van the first Friday of every month through the summer. The walks start at 10 a.m. outside Fleet Feet Sports, which is located at 6th and Locust in the East Village.