Fat Man Walking…Fight Obesity

April 10, 2006 by  
Filed under OBESITY

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Fat Man Walking…Thin, Living, Gracious Man Emerging


A few days ago, one of my closest friends called me up and asked if I heard about “that obese guy walking across the country.” “No,” I said — and frankly, I was a bit shocked that I missed the story. I seem to catch every other story like this one.

“I don’t know the name of his site, but he’s lost over 100 pounds and…”

That was enough for me. I was already inspired…and I had a moment of intuition come upon me. “Fat man walking?”, I said, half joking and half knowing.

My friend did a search on Google, and sure enough, that is the name of Steve’s website. Just in case you thought I was being callous with my titles, I wasn’t — these are Steve’s words, not mine. My “intuition” was just that…and the fact that the title made sense given the movie, Dead Man Walking.

What I didn’t know was exactly how much sense it made until I read the story you’re about to read.

Steve wanted to reclaim his LIFE…so he chose a goal worthy of life — a massive, inspiring, tremendous goal. A “gigantic why”, as I point out in Fit Over 40. This was crucial to my success as well, although I did not choose to walk across the country.


More on that in a moment.

First, I want you to read the story of Steve. See if you can’t relate to his pain, even if you are not 400 pounds (Steve is now 100 pounds lighter after walking as far as he has.)

Fit Over 40 has our own “Steves” — like Jon Blackburn, who never left his garage for the first fifty pounds and never leaves his church for the rest! Jon shed 150 pounds of fat and has kept it off using sound nutrition and simply walking (and eventually running) stairs. Or Marty Webb, Ph.D., who began her journey in her late 50s to become a super-lean 61-year-old.

If Steve’s story inspires you, Fit Over 40 will inspire and thoroughly educate you using multiple role models and the strategies they used to regain their own lives. My own story is included, as I took my own trip from obesity to leanness.

Before you dive into Steve’s journey, let me tell you this: you do not have to walk across the country to become fit and healthy.

But, you do have to walk around the world.

What do I mean by that? The world is blocking your path. The world, with its schedules, its expectations, its preconceived notions of what you are “supposed” to do and be at a certain age — all of that needs to be walked around in order to get on the path to the greatest “you” possible.

No one achieves greatness through conformity to the masses. I’m challenging each of you to rise above the masses, walk around your own “world”, and join the path to become Fit Over 40 — starting today.

Read on, and then read my challenge below Steve’s story. We’re going to pitch in, make a difference, and even begin a trek of our own.


Jon Benson
Creator/Co-Author of Fit Over 40: Role Models For Excellence At Any Age

Order Fit Over 40

My Name is Steve Vaught, (born Stephen James Liller in Youngstown, Ohio). I am a 39 year old, happily married father of two great kids and I have a pretty good life here in Southern California. You would think that I would be happy because of these things, but I am not.

I am not happy because I am fat and being fat makes every day unhappy.

I did not make this website to complain about it however, instead I am doing something about it and this site was made to chronicle my story.

I am going to walk across the United states from San Diego to NYC to lose weight and regain my life!

The rest of the story is that I have not always been fat. I have been many things in my life from a lanky teenager to a muscular Marine and now I am fat. This latest incarnation is without a doubt the worst.

Being fat is physically and emotionally painful. It diminishes the quality of the good things in life and it will ultimately bring about an early demise. So being overweight darkens every good thing that you achieve in your life and even prevents some things from happening at all.

For the last 15 years I have been slowly gaining weight and it seems that whatever I do, it just spirals ever upward.

Socially being fat is hard to deal with because I feel that am looked down upon by people even when they are not doing so maliciously. It may be human nature. You know, “survival of the fittest”. Also, I feel as though I am being taken advantage of by companies and people that want fat people to buy their latest “miracle pill” or prepackaged food that will help me lose the weight.

We, as a society, are growing larger and have become a big market for high dollar fast fixes. We are not getting the fix because it is an illusion. Don’t get me wrong, if I were given the option I would trade just about anything to be trim and fit again. I have the same excuses, desires and dreams as many others in my position. I know though, that there is no other option but physical exertion to truly get back into shape.

So, after consulting the family and getting their blessing I have made the decision to stop this merry go round and dedicate myself to losing the extra weight. I have an addiction and there needs to be dedication and sacrifice to cure addictions. If I had a drug or alcohol addiction I would go to rehab. Well, what I have in mind is rehab for the fat guy. I am going to take six months out of my life and walk across the United States from San Diego to NYC.

My main purpose in undertaking this journey is losing weight. More importantly though, I need to change the behaviors that have allowed me to be in this situation in the first place. I know that to permanently lose this weight I must learn to be more responsible to myself.

Nuts you say? Well, maybe.

But how nutty is spending a fortune on miracle weight loss drugs or fad diets that never seem to have lasting results or dangerous surgeries that cost about the same as a luxury car?

Living your life without health insurance because you are considered too high risk.

What about the fact that only 3% of weight loss attempts are permanently successful?

What about the anxiety, depression and pain involved in everyday activities when you are fat?

I don’t want to miss out on birthdays, graduation, marriages and grandkids because I chose not to take my life back. That, to me, is nuts.

I am going to sacrifice some time out of my regular life to gain 30- 40 years of a better, leaner, healthier and happier life.

So considering all of that, I would be nuts not to do this.

Losing the weight will be the easy part. I plan to keep the weight off in the future by maintaining a proper diet and level of activity needed, as well as remembering how easy it is to gain weight and difficult to lose it.

I hope my story and actions serve to encourage others to take their lives back — to get up and do something about it today.

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.

If you want to keep up with the journey and my progress please come back often to check out the journal page. With details from the road both good and bad, I will talk about the walk, people I have met, my physical condition, and a weekly weigh in when possible.

This effort is not going to be without sacrifice, my family and I know and accept that. I will probably see my wife and kids only once or twice during this time. I am not in the best condition financially to go six months without income and have resigned myself to the fact that I will lose my car and property. Those things however, pale in significance when reckoned with the consequences of doing nothing.

I can get another car or another property but not another life. That which is most precious is the one thing that cannot be bought for any price…life.

Fit Over 40’s Challenge To You…And Our Gift To Steve
I have to tell you this — Steve does not know me from Adam. He has no idea I’m sharing his story, nor (to my knowledge) has he ever even read Fit Over 40. He is in no way affiliated with my book or my company.

That being said, I feel compelled to help this person along his journey.

I will be sending Steve a copy of this newsletter, a copy of Fit Over 40, and half of the proceeds from this week’s book sales to help support his cause.

This is not a marketing ploy — this is a flat-out bribe. If I can draw attention to people like Steve and help him financially, then by all means I’m going to do it. Yes, I’m “bribing” you to help — and I’m asking many of my fellow fitness pros to chip in as well.

You see, Steve inspired me with his story, but more than that, he isn’t trying to do anything but live. If you read his website, you’ll see what I mean. He’s not walking for some higher cause. He’s walking because he’s unhappy and determined to regain joy and health.

Because I’m such a fan of walking, and a fan of this country, I’ve chosen Steve as my “role model of the month” for Fit Over 40 members.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing Fit Over 40, do it this week. I will post the amount raised for Steve’s cause in next week’s newsletter, with a special thanks to each of you. I will also post screen captures of the actual donation for legal purposes. This contribution will be done in the the name of “the readers of Fit Over 40.” Technically, it will come from Fit Over 40 LLC, but the credit will go to each one of you. If Steve is already well-supported, then I will ask him to donate those funds to UNICEF. Either way, this week will be an amazing week, and I thank you for your support in advance.

Fit Over 40 Announces Our Own Journey:
Walk and Train Across The Plains 2007

Just when you thought you’d seen it all from me.

Steve’s trek inspired me so much that I came up with this idea. I will be fleshing it out and giving you all more details as we go. For now, let this thought resonate with you: a walk across America, with anyone wanting to join doing so in any state, for any length, combined with daily resistance training, healthy nutrition, and motivation. Why just walk when you can “Walk and Train”?

People over 40 need resistance training more than any other form of exercise. Don’t wait until 2007 — start today by picking up Fit Over 40 and learning from our role models. Then, join me and our team as we cross our great land in true Fit Over 40 style.

Finally, I will be planning a motorcycle trip back across the country when we reach our destination. We’ll hit the gym 3-4 times per week and get our exercise in as well as we see the most beautiful parts of America and Canada.

to express your interest in this trip of a lifetime. There is no cost to join in on the road with us — just the desire to make a massive difference in your life and the lives of every person over 40.

Details TBD!

Jon Benson
Creator/Co-Author of Fit Over 40: Role Models For Excellence At Any Age

Order Fit Over 40

Need Some Answers Now?

If you don’t have a copy of Fit Over 40 yet, download yours today. In less than a few minutes you’ll have the number 2 fitness e-book of all time right on your desktop — 304 pages of inspiration, motivation and fitness strategy. Fit Over 40 isn’t just for people over 40 — it’s an invaluable training and motivational e-book that can save you years, even decades of frustration when it comes to learning what works for your body and seeing the results you want. One of the reasons I wrote the book was to save others the years of trial and error I went through as I went from obese to fit. With over 50 role models profiled, Fit Over 40 will stand the test of time for anyone interested in health, strength, fat loss, muscle, and motivation — at any age.

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