From the Sidelines to the Starting Line (and Finish Line!) with Anthony Masiello: PYP 240

Anthony Masiello grew up as the “fat kid,” and owned the identity with resignation. Growing up in a town with three pizza restaurants within walking distance, it was easy to avoid the healthy food his mom stocked in their refrigerator and rely on the standard American junk diet.

His weight continued to grow as his health and wellbeing began to decline. One day while away at college, a conversation with his mother got Anthony to try giving up meat and alcohol for a few months and “see what happens.”

His friends saw his commitment as short-lived: “When are you going to start drinking again?”

(He hasn't had a drink since.)

As a vegetarian, Anthony lost about 45 pounds (from 325 to 280), but still had a lot of vegetarian junk food.

After getting married and starting a family, Anthony's complacency around his weight and health was shattered by the refusal of his insurance company to sell him 20 year term life insurance. As a data informatics and computer science guy, Anthony correctly interpreted the denial:

“Our algorithm bets against you living for another 20 years.”

He was 33 at the time, weighing 360 pounds, with a 54″ waist, and popping pills for hypertension. The denial letter was a loud wakeup call.

What he did next – and how he's gone on to educate and inspire others – is yet another example of the power of the three pillars of Big Change: Menu, Movement, and Mindset.

We covered:

  • his early years as a fat kid
  • the medical and psychological costs of obesity
  • joking it off: “I'm just a giant” (I'm 5'10”, and you can see how much taller Anthony is in the above photo!)
  • the humiliation of seatbelt extenders on airplanes
  • not being able to go on carnival rides with his toddler
  • three months of “hungry all the time” with zero weight loss
  • scouring the Internet and finding Joel Fuhrman and Eat To Live
  • eating a ton of fruits and veggies and almost nothing else
  • losing 8 pounds a month without any restriction (90 pounds in the first year)
  • ramping off meds
  • becoming a runner
  • finding our big WHY
  • discovering effective self-talk
  • the difference between screwing up and falling off the wagon
  • the problem with “10% of your calories from meat”
  • the strategic value of eating a little bit off plan once in a while
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

Links – Anthony's most excellent recipe site, great for beginners, transitioners, and those who like to keep it simple and familiar – Ron Weiss, MD's lifestyle practice where Anthony coaches and teaches

Eat to Live, by Joel Fuhrman, MD

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Ready to embark on your Big Change journey?

Are you tired of knowing what to do, and still not doing it consistently? The Big Change Program, led by Josh LaJaunie and myself, will help you take the steps to finally live according to your knowledge and values.

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


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