For my latest post, I’m taking a break from talking about my own experiences to introduce you to someone who has become an inspiration for me as I push through the last week of my Protein Bar Challenge.
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“The last time I was in fantastic shape was early 2007, when I weighed 135 pounds,” admits 30-year-old Justin Maurer. “I didn’t have a six-pack, but I had a flat stomach. And even though I’d come home late at the end of a work day, I’d still have plenty of energy.”
Over the next few years of working long hours at a sedentary desk job, he fell out of shape. He ultimately put on 40 pounds and hit 175 on the scale.
Now he’s trying to take it off by undertaking his own version of the Protein Bar Challenge, which he began in late August. Almost every day, he walks over from his apartment a few blocks away for breakfast before biking out to his job in Arlington. He stops by again to pick up dinner after work. Lunch is a small sandwich from a deli near his office, and he snacks on peanuts, South Beach diet bars, and fresh fruit if he gets hungry between meals.
Since the restaurant opened, he has become a certified regular. Counter attendants greet him by name and don’t bother giving him a buzzer so he knows when his order is ready – they just call over to him. His friends joke that he is Protein Bar’s version of Jared, who went from being overweight nobody to becoming a slimmed down Subway spokesman.
Maurer’s new diet is a huge reversal in his dining habits. “I used to be the Foursquare mayor of Chipotle, now I’m the mayor of Protein Bar,” he says.
Since beginning his Protein Bar Challenge, he has dropped around 10 pounds. He estimates that he loses a pound every six days or so. Though he finds this steady loss encouraging, he wishes for more. “I’m a little frustrated that I don’t see Arnold Schwarzenegger when I look in the mirror,” he says with a smile.
Later he tells me, “I wish I could hop in a time machine and skip ahead a couple of months.” He reckons that he has another six months to go before he reaches his goal weight.
Maurer is strict about his diet and doesn’t deviate much, though he did go to Rasika for dinner a couple of weeks ago when a friend was visiting. Other than that, he sticks to the menu at Protein Bar.
Friends are always trying to get him to have a hoist a couple of cold ones after work or on the weekends, but he demurs. “Two of them will undo the progress I’ve made in a day.”
Now that’s dedication.
Pounds lost: 11.5
As well as reading my posts about my Protein Bar Challenge here on the Plate blog, you can follow my progress on Twitter @nevinmartell (hashtag #proteinbarchallenge) or on Facebook.