In March, as the world went to hell and New York City went into lockdown, Queens-born chef turned hip-hop-artist Action Bronson (Ariyan Arslani, “Baklava”) began a 127-pound weight loss grind. Now, nine months later, he said it’s almost like he never had that weight to begin with.
At his heaviest, Bronson was pushing 400 pounds, and with the birth of his son last year, he decided enough was enough. “I’ve been a big boy my whole life and it got out of control,” he tells Men’s Health. “My entire career was based around living a fast, hard life. And I got myself together and here we are in December and I’m 249 pounds this morning—shredded!”
Bronson’s gym time was important for his weight loss, but his dietary changes were essential; the former chef had to battle indulgence, starting at sunrise.
Bronson said his days begin now around 4:30 AM, sometimes with a soft-scrambled eggs (no browning!), and always with a protein shake. “I have to make two portions because it’s an after-the-workout shake also,” he said. (Shake recipe: fruit, olive oil, almonds, almond milk, protein.)
After workouts, lunch usually consists of five to 10 egg whites and chicken—“I wanna look like Eddie Hall,” Bronson said, grinning—and broccoli—defrosted in hot water, thrown with olive oil into a hot pan and sautéed with garlic: “beautiful.”
Bronson avoids unhealthy snacking habits by relying on roasted nuts, hit with honey and spices like cayenne and cinnamon. The rest of the day is varied, healthy chaos for Bronson who might eat sopita or other soups—“you’re boiling out all this goodness, all this soul, and you’re putting back into your soul”—and then a light, low-carb dinner—grilled chicken and broccoli.
“I haven’t had a good pasta in months, man,” he said, sadly. “I love pasta.” The difference for Bronson these days, however, is willpower. Dessert has to be carefully considered and then avoided.
“It’s hard to have dessert,” Bronson explained. “You become unconscious when you’re eating that stuff. You can’t gage the size and what the impact has. The smallest thing could be the worst thing in the world.”
Bronson recently spent his birthday staring down a cake. “I looked at it. I know what that cake taste like … But I have willpower now.” He recommended seeking out natural, unprocessed sweets like raw cacao and almond butter.
Or you could just go with fruit, Bronson said. And maybe baklava, on very special occasions.
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