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When we make a big change in our lives, it's easy to forget who we were and how we thought before that change. Russ L'Hommedieu doesn't have that problem – he's got a public video record of his old ways of being and thinking: a 2 minute compilation video of his standup routine about the travails of obesity and dieting. (Check it out below.)

After selling his physical therapy practice, Russ began going to comedy open mics, and achieved some success with his “fat guy bemoaning his attempts at weight loss” routine. He's funny, no question, but I can't help but be saddened at the self-defeating attitude of the man in the video.

Then, 15 years ago, he became an accidental vegan and his weight loss accelerated and – for the first time ever – wasn't reversed.

Now Russ is an accomplished weight loss (and “life gain”) coach, and has started an innovative food delivery service, Harvest Food Box, to support his clients and others in the tri-state region of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

In this episode, we talked some about Russ's fascinating past, his journey to health, his entrepreneurial venues, and his current work. But most of our conversation highlights Russ' wisdom around the mental aspects of big change. We covered:

  • that uncomfortable moment when you break the doctor's scale
  • going through PT school without ever learning about nutrition or wholistic health
  • getting bullied in elementary school
  • always gaining or losing weight (totaling 500 pounds)
  • starving himself for the entire summer before entering high school
  • the importance of confronting an uncomfortable question: “How did I get to be so heavy?”
  • changing one's “primary schema” – belief system around food
  • “I look at animal products and don't see food anymore”
  • the human binary code: love and fear
  • “I didn't care about being healthy; I just didn't want a 62 inch waist anymore”
  • “how dare he be so fat in public”
  • Barbara Rolls and the concept of volumetrics
  • fill the plate with vegetables so the meat and dairy fall off
  • reading The China Study: “Are you fricking kidding me? We knew this?”
  • raising his consciousness after going vegan: no coincidence that compassion and health can go hand in hand
  • Melanie Joy and the Golden Retriever meatballs
  • the importance of commitment and purpose – vs sliding back to easy defaults when things get tough
  • sweets: food or flavoring?
  • the problem with cheat days
  • “you don't have to finish everything on your plate”
  • the significance of language
  • trying to get onto a Legoland ride: “Dude, seriously?”
  • receiving an M-1 rifle at age 8
  • his father's gun rule: “if you kill it, you have to eat it”
  • becoming a kayaker for his son – and then for himself
  • circumnavigating Long Island and New York City in a kayak in 8 and a half days
  • creating a plant-based business that others can duplicate
  • 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.


Volumetrics, by Barbara Rolls, PhD

The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, by Caldwell Esselstyn, MD

SuperSize Me, by Morgan Spurlock

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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.

Join the Plant Yourself mailing list (top right of this page) to learn more, and to get notified about the next Bobsled Run of the program. Tentatively, we're looking at December or January for our next run.

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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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