Steve Vaught is 39 years old and until a few weeks ago weighed 400 pounds. He also has two young kids, and was afraid he'd be dead before his children grew up.

So on April 10, he kissed his wife and kids goodbye, strapped on a backpack, left his home near San Diego and started walking east. He won't stop until he reaches the Atlantic, and loses enough weight to get his future back.

The online journal of his walk is called, fittingly, thefatmanwalking.com

But there's more to his story that just a fat man walking, as Vaught told the San Diego Union Tribune. As J. Harry Jones of the Union Trib put it, Vaught "has demons that need exorcising, memories that need to be dealt with."

Here's a little more of the story, as Jones reported it.

Fifteen years ago, Vaught, a fit ex-Marine, was driving into the sun when an elderly couple crossed his path. His car struck them both. The woman went through the windshield; Vaught spent the night in jail with her blood in his hair.

That brief moment was the beginning of a downward spiral into depression and obesity.

Vaught's family is not the best of financial shape, so he's not able to afford a cell phone for the journey, and won't see his wife and kids much for the next six months.

But he figures a few months away from them is worth it, if it saves his life. And his soul, it seems.

Here's how he put it, before setting off.

We have become conditioned to believe that there is an answer in a pill or cream or drink or machine that will fix it for us. We lost sight of the fact that we are the most incredible machine ever built, capable of great heroism, ingenuity and strength.

The human race has achieved great feats solely on the efforts of the individual. Building pyramids, settling frontiers and walking on the moon are a few examples.

I hope to remind people like me, that we each have the strength and ability to do anything we want. Losing weight is a choice the same as continuing to exist in this terrible condition is a choice. I have decided to live! It really is a simple decision when you think about it.


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