Protein Bar Challenge: When Losing is Winning (Or How I Dropped 12 Pounds in a Month)

By Nevin Martell

Right now I’m sitting in Alexandria’s Buzz Bakery, sipping on a cup of coffee and nibbling on a most wonderful gingersnap cookie – sugar speckled and soft with a slow-burning spiciness that lingers.

Yes, the Protein Bar Challenge is over.

This is my way of rewarding myself for my month-long dietary regimen. Looking down at the scale this morning, I found that I was down to 207 pounds. For the past week, I’ve been fluctuating between 206-208, so it looks like I’ve reached a plateau. That doesn’t matter. Taking 12 pounds off totally outstrips my expectations, which were optimistically aimed at a six to 10 pound loss. I haven’t weighed 207 pounds in…well…forever.

When I pitched this idea and subsequently began eating at Protein Bar six days a week, I had no idea how it would turn out. Maybe a high protein diet wouldn’t work for my metabolism and I wouldn’t lose weight? Maybe I would grow so bored of the food that I would cheat on the diet? Maybe I would develop an allergy to quinoa? Maybe all the research on the health benefits of the foods I would be eating would turn out to be hyperbolic BS?

Luckily, none of those worst case scenarios happened.

Instead, I registered a slow, steady decline in my weight, while simultaneously seeing an increase in my energy level throughout the day. All those quinoa burritos, greens-rich salads, protein shakes, and egg white bowls really did the trick. So did the general lack of doughnuts, duck fat fries, and breakfast milkshakes.

Keeping up a six-day a week exercise schedule played an equally important important role. I certainly wouldn’t have experienced such a precipitous drop if it hadn’t been for the pilates classes (thanks to Jessica Sloane and Roberta Stiehm at Willow Street Yoga for your patience, guidance, and encouragement), runs, and other workouts.

Turns out that losing weight – like a lot of life – is all about balancing. This last month has been a transformative experience on a lot of levels and I don’t want to lose everything that I’ve gained or gain back everything that I’ve lost as I go forward.

I’ll still be a regular at Protein Bar, but I won’t be camping out there like I’ve done many days over the last four weeks (Thanks especially to Katie, David, Niko, Rachel, Jason and the rest of the staff for making me feel like a part of the family). Instead, I’ll be making some similar dishes and drinks at home, practicing restraint when I eat out for work or pleasure, and keeping up my workouts.

I’ve had a great support crew in the form of Protein Bar’s founder Matt Matros and the CityEats team – and I can’t thank them enough for helping me bring about this positive change in my life – but now it’s time for me to make a go of it on my own.

Read the previous posts about my Protein Bar Challenge here on the Plate blog, follow me on Twitter @nevinmartell, or find me on Facebook.