UnNews:Local man faces obesity by driving coast to coast

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23 March 2006

DavidRussell
David Russell

Lemon Grove, CA - Inspired by Steve Vaught's famous cross country trek, former plumber David Russell has tarted a similar project of his own. Weighing nearly 35 stone, Russell knew he was heading for an early death. When watching television, late one night, he saw an interview with Vaught which inspired him. Russell wasted no time in planning his own coast to coast trip. Now, in months to come, Russell will drive from his hometown of Lemon Grove, near San Diego all the way to Houston.

Like Vaught, Russell was once a fit young man, studying law at a community college, and like with Vaught, disaster struck. In 1992, David's girlfriend of three months broke up with him, sending him into a spiral of depression and overeating. Steve dropped out and started working part time to support himself. Eventually his weight gain and self-neglect made it impossible for him to work, and he has been living on wellfare ever since.

All that changed when he learned about Vaught's voyage of self-discovery. Quickly realizing that he too could get his life back on track, he set out to emulate the project. Russell, who describes himself as 'not a fan of walking' realized that he would have to modify the project slightly, if he was going to make it to Houston.

"I just really hate walking", Russel told UnNews. "So while I'm determined to finish this project, I knew I had to change the mode of transportation. What counts is the spirit of the project, the element of self-discovery and the challenge. From a long list of possibilities, like cycling, rollerskating or flying, I finally chose driving. I'm afraid of flying."

Like his idol, Russell plans to record his travels and musings on a weblog, www.fatmaninabuick.com. Today, two weeks into the project, however, the website just shows the text 'under construction', as well as an animated image of a snoring builder. "I started designing the website a little while back. It's about half finished. I'll probably get around to it soon."

In his short time on the road, Russell has already faced many hardships. "It can be really difficult. Sometimes, I'm driving around for hours looking for a hotel. And getting food can be gruelling too. There's always a McDonalds around, but sometimes I'm just more in the mood for Burger King, or Taco Bell. And even if I find what I'm looking for, there's a good chance it's not a drive through, so I'll have to get out of the car and go into the restaurant. I'm still quite chubby, and you can really feel people staring at you. It's the thought of beating that that keeps me going, really."

So far, Russell has travelled 50 miles and gained ten pounds. "That's probably just my metabolism adjusting to the new situation. It'll start dropping pretty soon."

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