Real Weight Loss: Avi Shemtov

The Chubby Chickpea owner has shed nearly 60 pounds through healthy eating.


Avi Shemtov, before and after/photos provided.

Name: Avi Shemtov
Age: 31
Location: Canton
Total weight lost: 57 pounds

As the executive chef at the Chubby Chickpea, a popular local food truck, Avi Shemtov was always too busy to carefully consider his own meals—until one Sunday, when he decided to actually count his calories.

“I logged the entire afternoon and realized I was taking in, like, 3,800 calories without even noticing,” he remembers. “After that, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I really looked into portion control and educating myself about nutrition.”

For Shemtov, his new, healthy habits only stuck when he adopted a mentality of realistic compromises and forgiveness, instead of strict dieting. “It’s all about budgeting,” he says. “If I’m having people over, it’s okay that I use oil or salt when I’m cooking, because I know I can afford the few extra calories. I just won’t have a beer later.”

The chef isn’t about depriving himself, either. “The most important thing, for me, is not to put anything totally off limits,” Shemtov adds.

Here’s how he changed his diet and kicked off his weight loss journey:

Diet: Shemtov says the key to his weight loss has been subtracting one ingredient from his cooking regimen: oil. “It really pushes me as a chef, because I have to get creative about the flavors and the methods I’m using,” he says. As a professional cook, Shemtov avoids repeating meals, with the exception of breakfast. Every day, he eats plain Greek yogurt and an English muffin with peanut butter. “That way, I feel full and I’m not snacking mid-morning,” he says.

Fitness: As the owner of a food truck, Shemtov admits that his life is often a bit too hectic to make time for the gym. While sticking to a regular workout routine is next on his to-do list, Shemtov emphasizes that he’s been able to make significant weight loss strides just by becoming more conscious of the items on his plate.

“You won’t find someone busier than me,” he says. “I can’t always go to the gym, but I can always make healthy decisions when it comes to my food.”