How One Man Overcame Incredible Obstacles, Lost 200 lbs & Transformed His Life Wholesale

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This interview is like nothing you have heard before on this show.

It will move you.  It will inspire you.  It will erase whatever obstacles and excuses you rely on that perpetuate bad habits, keep you stuck, and reinforce denial.  By listening, my hope is that you will realize that no matter what your circumstances or environment, we all have the power to implement profound personal change beyond our collective imagination in miraculous and fantastic ways.

A couple weeks ago, a guy called Josh LaJaunie tweeted me his before and after pictures, thanking me for helping him along his journey of total transformation.  Bear in mind, I get many such images sent to me.  I absolutely love this stuff – It’s why I do what I do.  But something about this post was different.  The change was so astounding, my first thought was, “Can this be real?”  The 400+ pound guy on the left bore almost no resemblance to the guy on the right, a super fit, super handsome young man running with a big smile on his face.  And yet when I looked closely, I could indeed determine that it was in fact the same person.  I was stunned.

Chris Farley had morphed into Bradley Cooper.  But how?

I had to find out.  I reached out to him, and we exchanged a few e-mails.  Then he sent me a document, with a title that says it all.

“FREE JOSH LAJAUNIE”

A manifesto on life transformation, it’s the detailed personal account of how Josh accomplished what some would deem impossible, dropping over 200 pounds and a life-long addiction to unhealthy foods & lifestyle habits to discover a passion for running.  A journey that led him to completing a half-marathon and preparing for his first marathon.  He didn’t just lose weight — he became an athlete.

But what truly struck me wasn’t just the weight loss or his discovered passion for running.  It was the story of how he faced, battled and overcame astounding, impossibly entrenched cultural obstacles to change everything about how he lives his life.  A gift he now freely shares, transforming the lives not just of his family members, but his beloved community at large.  At that moment, I knew I needed to share his story with you.

Josh LaJaunie in 2007 — “I am an unabashed WHO DAT!”

Born & bred in southern Louisiana, Josh is a 100% genuine, authentic, self-avowed “swamp dweller” from Bayou Lafourche.  Someone who shirks at the label “cajun” as too highfalutin, and “proud to sound like a coonass”.  A big kid surrounded by a loving nuclear and extended family united by their shared love of food — a regional imperative — Josh was a standout high school football player, recruited to play college ball.  But disillusioned by college life in Arkansas, he dropped out of school, only to return home, aimless and unmoored.  He found work in the family construction business, but lived for the weekend – time spent hunting, fishing, cheering for his beloved New Orleans Saints, feasting on his favorite local delicacies — po boys, jambalaya & barbeque.  And partying.  Lots of partying.  It’s just what you do down in Bayou Lafourche.

The weight escalated.  As did the despair.  His embarrassment and shame escalating in equal measure to his declining self-esteem.  Not to mention an almost certain future of diabetes and heart disease.

Then something happened.  In 2010, Josh’s beloved Saints achieved the impossible, winning the Super Bowl.  It seems a small thing.  But to Josh it was everything.  Forever altering his perception of what is possible, he began to question the limits he imposed upon himself.  Empowered, he began to “let go of his normal” and dismiss the embedded “that’s just the way it is down here” mentality he was starting to understand often taints the logic of his region.

A chain reaction of events ensued that set Josh on a new trajectory.  A path that involved a return to fitness and the adoption of a 100% plant-based,  PlantPowered diet.  A path that changed his life beyond his imagination.

A life transformed.

It’s one thing to “go vegan” in Santa Monica, California.  But it’s another thing entirely in Thibodaux, Louisiana.  No plant-friendly restaurants.  No Whole Foods Market.  And essentially zero community support.  An environment where unhealthy food isn’t just a choice, but a celebrated cultural imperative.  Some might even say a religion.

That Josh cut against the grain is an understatement.  To embrace a PlantPower lifestyle didn’t just mean an open invitation to ridicule.  It meant risking complete social ostracization.

So just how did he do it? I won’t spoil the story entirely — you will have to listen to find out — but I will leave you with the final words of his testimonial:

“I want to be a voice, an example of the worst offender fixing the wrong. I want to share my story…”

I am proud to give Josh a well-deserved microphone to serve this end.  And I assure you that his extraordinary tale is well worth your precious time.  So put those earbuds to work and get to listening to this true American original.

I hope you enjoy the conversation!

P.S. – If you are interested in learning more about eating the PlantPower way, or looking for a unique gift for a fellow wellness warrior, our “Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition”  is currently ON SALE for 30% off through the end of today, Monday December 2, 2013.  With over 3.5 hours of streaming video content, an online community forum and tons of downloadable resource tools, tips & recipes (including our e-cookbook), it’s everything you need to get more plants into your life.   To learn more and to purchase or gift, visit MindBodyGreen.com.

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