Agent Spotlight: Andrew Fishkind Shares His Story of Self-Transformation

By Grace Cassidy

Andrew Fishkind began his career in real estate after more than two decades of working on Wall Street. But alongside this professional evolution, the Brooklyn native embarked on a more personal journey of self-transformation when he decided to focus on his health. Describing himself as “having been significantly overweight for much of my life,” Fishkind went on to lose more than 150 pounds. When he realized the weight loss had not improved other persistent health issues, he dedicated himself to following a strictly plant-based diet with dramatic results. Fishkind was recently featured on the season finale of the podcast “Power to the Patient,” in which he spoke with host Dr. Lillie Rosenthal about childhood asthma and obesity. We invited him to share his inspiring story of self-transformation with Elliman Insider.

Andrew Fishkind
Andrew Fishkind

What moved you to focus on improving your health? Was there a particular moment?

Despite having been significantly overweight much of my life, I vividly recall being 27 and seeing myself in the mirror, wondering, “When did this happen?!”

I began a significant diet change/eating plan and lost 100 pounds, which became almost 150 pounds, before gaining about 70 back. I always kept off that first 80 pounds. Even though my attempts at losing more weight and getting healthy ebbed and flowed, for me it was like learning there is no Santa Claus. I couldn’t unsee that I had a problem and continued to try various methods to lose weight and get healthier.

Like anyone with an addictive personality, despite the weight loss, I am always looking for ways to be re-inspired, as I fight the battle of my own head every day.

What inspired you to embrace a plant-based diet?

I went plant-based in 2017 after having kept off 150 pounds for some time, but surprisingly, my medications were not changing. Much to my surprise, my blood pressure, cholesterol and asthma still needed the same two drugs for each condition, despite the massive weight loss.

I heard that people who eat plant-based were able to get off and stay off a bunch of medications, and within a year of eating plant-based, I was able to stop three medications and cut the remaining three in half. I continue to work at getting off those meds, too, but taking fewer drugs and being a healthier person keeps me motivated to stay plant-based.

Have you noticed any other benefits from your lifestyle change?

I remember the first time I could buy a T-shirt at The Gap, and it was the realization that I was “regular.”

I still struggle with body dysmorphia, but I am getting better about realizing that everyone has their own issues and so much of what I think is really just in my own head. (I had to get healthier to grasp that.)

Food and poor health kept me from addressing other issues in my life that I wanted to deal with. Now, with fewer distractions, I have the space to focus on more than just my weight. I appreciate that aspect of being healthier, too.

I grew up at a time where they told asthmatic children not to take gym class. I was a steroid-dependent asthmatic for almost 10 years, so exercise and movement were truly foreign to me.

Andrew Fishkind before-after
Fishkind with his friend Michelle—in 1987 and 2019.

It is one of the things I struggle with to this day, as my immediate reaction to exercise and physical activity is usually: “I can’t do that.” I’m starting to get better about it, but there’s always room for improvement. Right now, I am trying to find a way to make exercise more important to me. When I found the reason to go plant-based, the change was easy. I still need the reason to make exercise important to me, so that making changes won’t feel so monumental.

What advice do you have for someone looking to make a positive change in their lifestyle?

Changing your body—regardless of your size or whatever change you are trying to make—is not easy. I don’t preach about anything I do or have done; I just tell my story. No one could have talked me into making such a big lifestyle change; it just doesn’t work like that.

The best advice I have is to be honest with yourself and figure out what is important to you. And remember, it’s an ongoing and evolving process, so please do not be hard on yourself.

“The one thing that I can no longer live without is self-reflection.”

Are there any positive habits you’ve adopted as a result of your health journey that you can’t imagine living without?

I think the one thing that I can no longer live without is self-reflection. I lived the first 30 years of my life oblivious to how I was feeling and what I was thinking and was on autopilot in so many ways. I am good at not telling myself things I don’t want to know. So now, I watch my behaviors, and when I start to do something that I know I don’t want for myself (usually around poor food choices or lack of exercise), I spend time trying to understand what I am reacting to.

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