Real Weight Loss: Mike Winter

The Boston restauranteur tackled his food addiction and lost 35 pounds.

Mike Winter

Mike Winter, before and after weight loss. Photos provided to

Name: Mike Winter
Age: 40
Location: Wakefield
Total Weight Loss: 35 pounds

As the owner of Mija Cantina and East Coast Clubs, heavy restaurant food and late night snacking were Mike Winter’s undoings.

At Mija, Winter found himself “correcting” mistaken orders—to the detriment of his waistline. “I’d be like, ‘Oh I don’t want it to go to waste,’ so I’d just eat it,” he says. “The next thing you know, I just ate a quesadilla in less than 25 seconds.”

It wasn’t until a wakeup call from his then-fiancée that Winter realized he was addicted to food and needed to make a change. “She said, ‘I wouldn’t want to marry someone that’s not taking care of themselves now, because they’re not going to be around in the future,'” Winter says. “She kind of gave me the gift of smacking the donkey on its ass to get it walking on the right path.”

Since that moment, Winter has been devoted to clean eating and a strict workout schedule. This has resulted in a complete lifestyle change. Although he quit drinking years ago, he says he is approaching weight loss in a similar manner: taking it day by day and completely revamping his behavior. “I can’t think about a month from now, two months from now. All I can do is make sure that today I eat clean, that today I go to the gym, take my vitamins,” he says. “I’m on a complete lifestyle change. I live it, I breathe it, I sleep it, and I don’t let anything get in my way.”

Here’s how he did it:


No longer on a nightly quesadilla regimen, Winter has all but cut out starches, dairy, and red meat in favor of lean proteins and vegetables.

He starts each morning with a shot of apple cider vinegar mixed with hot water, lemon, and cinnamon (“It tastes horrific, but it’s so, so good for you,” he says), then moves on to either egg whites or a “protein pancake” made of oatmeal, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, protein powder, and either almond meal or coconut flour.

For lunch and dinner, he typically makes a grilled chicken and vegetable stir fry, saving more indulgent meals for occasional cheat days.


“I had that old school mentality of I was healthy if I could bench over 450, and I had to retrain myself,” Winter says.

Today, he sticks to strength training and a mix of low- and high-intensity cardio to encourage burning fat and avoid burning too much muscle. This includes an hour and a half of HIIT training in the morning, followed by treadmill or step machine work for an hour in the afternoon, steadily increasing the incline. He also loves to take outdoor walks around his hometown of Wakefield.

Above all, Winter says, success hinges on total devotion to his goals. “There’s no excuses,” he says. “This [comes] first, this [is] before everything. Everything else became secondary.”