"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

Here's a weird sentence. I ate myself into a pair of man boobs a few years back. One day I woke up, put on a shirt, and felt uncomfortable - especially in front of a mirror. It was the worst. So, I decided to do something about it.

In 2016, I lost 25lbs using a system I created called The Moob Diet. If you’re not familiar with the term moob, I’ll save you the before photo I took in 2015. However, imagine flabby pecs on a hairy man's chest captured on photographic film. That would be a moob (aka man boob), which typically comes in pairs making them moobs.

I’m still defining The Moob Diet (i.e., the name may change) and it will take another 6 months or so for me complete, but I wanted to reflect on what I did to lose 25lbs and what I'm adding to the cadence this year.

The healthy life

If you want to fix your diet, you have to eat fewer calories than your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). TDEE is an estimation of how many calories you burn adjusted by the amount of exercise you do per day. I highly recommend TDEE calculator if you want to get a rough estimate of your TDEE. To that end, I used this to understand how much I should be eating and tracked that semi-religiously.

I started 2016 by dieting and working out, but working out didn't last too long. For one, trying to do both is a huge spike in habit changing and eventually working out got cut. So, focusing on diet was my main concern for 2016. The side effect of failing to work out help me realize that my biggest differentiator towards ridding my moobs was diet and not working out. Resistance training was a nice to have but not a requirement to losing weight or man boobs for that matter. I 100% recommend spending minimum 6 to 12 months in habitualizing your food intake before taking on resistance or conditioning training.

Eating healthy isn't sexy

Going from not caring what you eat to deliberately correcting your diet is hard. You have to pick a set of foods/recipes that are the best bang for your diet until the routine sticks. My approach was simple - business on weekdays, pleasure on weekends. Each work day I kept a strict diet, measuring what I consumed, when I ate, and how I consumed food. On weekends I ate pretty much anything, but was conscious about portions. The exceptions to the rule were work trips and vacations. I didn't follow a diet while on vacation or in NYC for work. I don't think anyone can get away with dieting in NYC unless your profession is modeling or acting.

The Moob Diet

The Moob Diet is composed of three parts: Moob Lite, Moob Training, Moob Mindset. I'm going to talk about the Moob Lite in this blog post and expand on the other parts in a later post.

Moob Lite is a eating routine split into two cycles. The first cycle is light on calories, the second cycle adds 500 calories to your food intake.

Cycle 1 (days 1 thru 4)

Breakfast:
  • 1 oz hard cheese

  • 1/2 small orange

  • 1 slice light bread with peanut or almond butter

  • Decaffeinated coffee or tea without cream and/or sugar

  • Snack (2 hours later): Protein shake with a banana, oatmeal, or rice cake.

Lunch:
  • 1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese or 2 oz hard cheese

  • 8 oz of salad vegetables with 1 teaspoon olive or canola oil with cider vinegar

  • Snack (2 hours later): Protein shake with a banana, oatmeal, or rice cake.

Dinner:
  • 4 oz of white chicken or turkey (without skin), or white fish
  • 8 oz of salad vegetables
  • 4 oz cooked vegetables
  • 1 slice of wheat bread

Cycle 2 (days 5 thru 10)

Breakfast
  • 1 egg (boiled, microwaved, poached, scrambled) or 1 oz hard cheese

  • 1/2 small orange or 1/4 cantaloupe or 1/2 grapefruit

  • 1 slice light bread with peanut or almond butter

  • Decaffeinated coffee or tea without cream and/or sugar

  • Snack (2 hours later): Protein shake with a banana, oatmeal, or rice cake.

Lunch
  • 4 oz white chicken, turkey, fish with some extra olive oil

  • 8 oz of salad vegetables

  • Snack (2 hours later): Protein shake with a banana, oatmeal, or rice cake.

Dinner
  • 4 oz of white chicken or turkey (without skin), or white fish
  • 4 oz of salad vegetables
  • 4 oz cooked vegetables
  • 1 slice of wheat bread

What’s next

If last year’s goal was to lose weight and thus lose my man boobs, 2017 is about being even more religious about my dieting habits and keeping track of my body fat. The fact is I still have man boobs, although petite. And the only way to truly look good in a v-neck shirt is to rid body fat and build muscle. To do just that, I’m adding resistance training and conditioning. More on this in another post. Wise me luck.