Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to [email protected].
Can you do a post on how to avoid the first year “fifteen” or “thirty,” besides the usual diet and exercise? Or, better yet, explain why it is that every male associate here is huge and has gained a ton of weight and looks terrible, while the women are all incredibly emaciated and end up losing 30 pounds after they start BigLaw? Is it because the men just don’t care and the women do, or do men and women at the firm just process stress differently (i.e. eat everything in sight vs. not eat at all)? Maybe there’s another explanation for it (Smoking? Coke?), but the extremely fat/extremely thin phenomenon seems to be extremely gender-related at the firm.
‘Fraid of Being a Fatass
Dear ‘Fraid of Being a Fatass,
What this weight gain/emaciation gender divide really comes down to is exacting revenge. When I stayed late as an associate, I would bide my time, toiling away and occasionally pressing my face against a legal pad to examine the oil stains. Then at 7 p.m., I’d mosey down to the cafeteria for some free-ass dinner, and there would be countless dudes piling their trays high with soggy pizza, salads dripping in Thousand Island dressing, chocolate-dipped biscotti and bizarro flavor Nutra-Grain bars, acting like they were carbo-loading for an Ironman and not a credit facility spell check session. One time I saw a guy buy $27.60 worth of food and then add on gummy bears until he was at $29.75. At that point, it became clear to me what was happening….
Apparently, the rationale in a guy’s mind is that if some jerkhat client is going to make him sit around waiting for turned documents at 9 p.m. when he could otherwise have been sitting at home watching The Little Chocolatiers, the client would have to pay, and pay DEARLY for it. Punishing a client by padding hours is one form of “revenge,” but the other and ostensibly more common variety is to charge the client $30 – the absolute limit – for dinner every night. And so begins the “spiteful” $30 sushi orders, the seven extra Snapples, and the gratuitous bags of jelly beans “for later.” It all adds up to a half-assed Biggest Loser audition tape and a form rejection letter in the mail saying that you’re fat but didn’t have a compelling story.
Women, on the other hand, take a smarter approach. They know that if they’re forced to work later, they’ve already lost their social life. But if they’re forced to work late and get fat because of it, the firm will have robbed them of everything. I don’t pretend to speak for all women yes I do but I think most know intuitively that potential suitors/significant others don’t care about how much money they make or what brilliant litigators they are. Suitors/sig oths care about slammin’ bodies and bitchin’ faces. Women intuitively understand that pounding snow rolls and Swedish fish every night to “spite” an institutional client backfires by giving one, well, back. The greatest revenge that one can inflict upon a firm or a client is to NOT succumb to being a fatass… it’s to look like a million bucks despite working a shitty, sedentary job. Women associates understand the importance of keeping it real on a physical level, so they don’t do dumb things like order steaks to their desk at 10 p.m. or drink full-calorie sodas.
Make no mistake, staying sizzling hot is a constant battle. Eating boring, non-delicious food and working out while wrapped in cellophane is part of it, but another great tip is drinking until you puke. That way you can get all of the drunken pain relief and none of the calories.
I hope this helps.
Here is Elie’s take on the situation:
Clearly, I am beyond unqualified to offer any “advice” on how to avoid getting fat. My weight loss plan involves replacing internal organs as they break down with slimmer alternatives. I’m sure I can save a few pounds on my lungs when they need to be replaced.
But, if it’s any help to you, I’ll tell you how I got fat. Maybe you can avoid doing what I did and you’ll be golden?
Obviously, the lifestyle problems start long before becoming an associate:
Freshman year of college: Playing weight, 214.
In high school I played sports and ate my mother’s cooking. In college I drank heavily and ate whatever the hell I wanted while trying to sober-up/get some food in my stomach before drinking. Total weight gain: 25lbs.
Senior year of college: Playing weight, 258.
I hated the 250s. At 240 on my frame, I’m svelte. Approaching 270, I’m Big Sexy. The 250s were just a sad stage where it looked like I was trying to lose weight but couldn’t stick to a diet. Screw that. But the biggest issue was that by senior year four years of smoking had officially killed my lungs. I remember playing racquetball senior year and almost dying, stopping, having a smoke in the gym, and taking a cab to get a burger. Not good times.
1L year: Playing weight, 270 on the nose.
Go to class, study, drink, wash, rinse, repeat. You’re not dropping any weight that way. But you don’t have to gain weight. At this point I was eating one high-calorie meal a day (usually lunch) and drinking my dinner. It worked.
2L year: Playing weight, 265.
I lost about five pounds the summer between 1L and 2L year. Not because I was trying, but because I was flat broke and noodles aren’t very fattening. But coming back to campus, recruiting season happened. Free food, free drinks, trips to NYC. I regained my summer weight loss before the World Series.
Then I got back to campus, job in hand. You know what, no more classes. If you’re not going to class regularly, your schedule becomes all screwed up. You’ve got a lot of time to sit very still, play Madden, and eat like a pig. And I did. Washing it all down with kegs of beer. Mmm …. beer.
3L year: Playing weight, 282.
1st year associate: Playing weight, 288.
“I’m sure that once I’m living in my own place and have all this money to buy expensive, healthy food the pounds will just drip right off.”
2nd year associate: Playing weight 298.
This scared me. I never tipped 300 (at least, I never stepped on a scale at a time when I may or may not have weighed more than 300 lbs). But something morbid and terrible happened to make me put on even more weight after already being so big in law school. It wasn’t the food, I was still doing my “one big meal and lots of liquor” plan that worked so well my first year of law school when I had a stable schedule. And it wasn’t the sedentary lifestyle, as I hadn’t “run” since I was 19, so that hadn’t changed. Was my aging metabolism just catching up with me?
No. I think it was the infinite sadness. I believe that happy people naturally get more exercise than sad people. You say “it’s a nice day, I think I’ll walk to work.” You say, “sure buddy, going to Chelsea Piers sounds like great fun.” You just do more things when you are in a good mood. And you eat less. When you are in a bad mood, you kind of sit there, angry, and waiting for the opportunity to go home and sleep. At the firm my lifestyle was wake up and sit down, travel in a moving chair to my office where I’d sit. Sit all day until it was time to call for another moving chair which would take me to my door. Go to my bedroom and sit for a bit, then eventually pass out. Shoveling food and drink into my mouth at every opportunity. It’s no way to live, and it puts on a lot of weight.
Now, I cruise between 280 and 285. Still too a big, but I’ve learned how to carry it. I’d love to get down to 270 again, but at my age I’d actually have to move around in some kind of high-energy, directed fashion, for a set period of time a day. To get back down to a svelte 240 I’d have to quit smoking, eat salads, and do something stupid, like run when nobody is chasing me. Not likely.
So yeah, if you don’t want to get fat, just avoid doing what I did. You’ll probably end up being one of these skinny bitches that I can knock over by talking loudly, but I hear that’s in style these days.
Do you have a question for next week’s Pls Hndle Thx? Send it to [email protected]
Earlier: Prior installments of pls hndle thx