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Man walks from Calif. to NYC to drop pounds

Steve Vaught started near San Diego and is now in Arizona. NBC News correspondent Michael Okwu reports on his progress.

If you drive east on Route 66, say hello to the Fat Man Walking. Self-coined, the walking man is 39-year-old Steve Vaught. On April 10, he began his 3,000-mile trek across the United States to lose weight. NBC News correspondent Michael Okwu reports on Steve Vaught and his journey so far.

This morning Steve Vaught is in Williams, Arizona, halfway through the Arizona Desert and 40 pounds lighter. His wife, April, is at home at the starting point, 462 miles away in Valley Center, California.

“You can't look way out there,” says Vaught. “You'll get discouraged.”

From his hometown outside San Diego, he embarked on what he hopes will be a life-changing cross-country journey to New York City.

"It's crazy. It's an extreme way to do it, but being fat is extreme. Being fat is terrible. You know, you wanna disappear in this country? Gain a hundred pounds," says Vaught.

Vaught is 400 pounds.

A husband and father of two, the former marine wants to lose weight and regain his life. Vaught also wants to restore the confidence he lost after a long bout of depression.

Vaught was between jobs, living at his mother-in-law’s and convinced he would die at age 50 before he decided to change his course.

Along the road, he has made friends and received encouragement.

"God watches out for the brave and the foolish. Whichever you classify yourself as, keep going," says one person passing by.

Vaught is averaging 15 miles a day. At night, Vaught camps out under bridges and along roads, because money is tight. He still has about 2,300 miles left.