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Mod Note: Blast from the Past - "Best of Eddie". This one is from October 2010.

The worst trading error of my career (if you don't count my second marriage) was in Natural Gas, and it was a doozy. I don't remember the exact circumstances, but I screwed the pooch somehow and before I knew it the loss to the firm (for which I was personally liable) was well into the five figures. This wasn't me being wrong about the direction of the market, mind you, because that happened all the time. This was a bona fide, fat finger trading error - which almost never happened. I got called into the big man's office and he sent me home while he decided my fate.

He called me later that day and told me to meet him for dinner at Morton's, where we would discuss "my future with the firm". When I arrived at the restaurant I saw him, his second-in-command toady, and our research director out of Miami, a truly gigantic specimen who went almost 400 pounds. Whatever. I sat down and ordered a Mount Gay on the rocks, some bacon-wrapped scallops, a rare prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, and a very nice Meritage to wash it all down. If I was about to get the ax, at least I'd have a full belly and a decent buzz.

The big man decided that the occassion called for Morton's signature 48-oz porterhouse. Now, I've been going to Morton's for 20 years and it's always been there on the menu, but to that point I'd never actually seen someone order it, much less consume it. That's four three whole pounds, hoss. When the steaks arrived, our table descended into a bacchanalian orgy of charred animal flesh. Not a word was mentioned about what happened that day. After the meal, while my head was swimming in meat and Meritage, the big man lowered the boom.

Feeling Hungry? We recommend our 48oz Porterhouse. on Twitpic

First things first: I wasn't fired. Firing me would only make it difficult to collect what I owed. Nice. His solution could even be considered a promotion of sorts, because he put four junior traders under me to help square the books faster (note: he wasn't letting me trade my way out of the position, because that would incur further risk to the firm. He put the guys under my supervision because I'd get a percentage of their profits and my hit would sting a little less). So I was going to be working for free for a while. A long while. Almost as an afterthought, he added, "Oh, and this one's on you." The waiter handed me the tab as the other guys chuckled, and I was out another $600 on top of everything else.

Anyone who has read Liar's Poker knows that Wall Street had its appetites back in the day. Almost everything - food, booze, drugs, women - was done to excess. It wasn't unusual to have a huge steak with all the trimmings at lunch in the middle of the day and come back to the office feeling like a hundred pounds of shit stuffed into a fifty-pound bag. There were a couple guys who spent their lunch hour working out, but they were the outliers back then.

As I've watched Wall Street transform itself from a locker room to a chess club over the past 15 or so years, I've been curious about how the diet has changed. It seems everyone is more health conscious these days, and that's a good thing. Believe me, as I sit here at 5'9" and 230 pounds, I wish I'd opted for a vegetable platter a few more times back in the day. I don't think I ever worked with any vegetarians, but surely there must be some on the Street these days.

The other day CaptK mentioned that he lost a bunch of weight on the Paleo Diet, and I've been hearing more and more about Paleo-style eating. Admittedly, I know less than nothing about it, though I'm guessing it involves avoiding processed foods and emphasizes foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors were likely to encounter. Sounds like a lot of nuts, vegetables, fruits, and wild game. I'd love to hear if a lot of people are doing this and if it's working for them, because it sounds like the kind of diet a guy like me could get behind without too much effort.

I'd also like to hear from the vegan/vegetarian crowd. About a year ago, my wife brought home Skinny Bitch because it was all the rage at the time. She never ended up reading it because I got to it first. I have to tell you, it is a hilarious book and extremely well written. And it lays out the case against meat better than anything I've ever read. If you're the least bit squeamish about how your steak, chicken, or pork chops go from pasture to plate, this book will turn you vegan in no time.

At about the same time, we watched Food, Inc. for the first time. My wife hasn't touched a pork product since (and, by extension, neither have I). When you see how food is produced in America, it is really scary. But the movie has a hopeful message, too. You can eat really well if you choose to.


So that's what I'd really like to know. Is the culture of gluttony still prevalent on Wall Street? Or has the advent of SeamlessWeb and the hundreds of healthy choices it offers carried the day? The life of an analyst is pretty sedentary, and there's not always time to work out. What do you guys do to stay in shape? And how big a part of staying in shape is your diet? I basically went vegetarian early in the year and pulled off 20 pounds and felt great. But the minute I stopped, the weight came right back. I'm not ready to commit to a full vegetarian lifestyle - I love my steak too much.

Is anyone in the same boat? Is Paleo the answer, or is it just another fad?

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Comments (87)

  • oreos's picture

    It's our MDs birthday today, we're going out for what quite could possibly turn into 3+ beers and steak.

    i'm looking forward to it.

    oh and that's lunch not dinner

    "After you work on Wall Street it's a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side." - David Tepper

  • Conphas's picture

    Eat often, as in closer to 6 mini-meals a day. Get in the habit of drinking mainly water. Try to limit your meats to skinless chicken and turkey, and salmon (or whatever healthy fish, some like tuna). Snack on fruits.

    Calorie count. I know it sounds tedious, but you don't have to get nazi over it. Just keep a loose running total somewhere in your head, and as you get used to your new eating habits and fall into some routines you won't even need to do that anymore.

    The gnawing in your stomach for the first 4 or 5 days as you adjust goes away and you end up feeling "cleaner", whatever that may mean to you. I sometimes cheat/splurge/apathy-binge by hitting the McD drive through, and afterward I always feel bloated, heavy, gross.

    It's also important to give yourself a cheat day (or just meal) to look forward to. If you aren't getting any exercise then I'd say just once a week, say Fri or Sat night, allow yourself to eat whatever-the-fuck-you-want. The rest of the time, have a little discipline.

    As you already learned from drastic diet changes (like going full vegan), you may like the initial benefits, but the change is just too much to see yourself doing for the rest of your life.

    Perhaps you and your wife, if time allows, could even start learning how to cook healthier meals together, and then you could start tupperwaring some of that into the office for your meals there.

    If it is an inescapable part of your work (or whatever) to have to eat out with clients often, it's really not that difficult to make leaner choices once you start being conscious of it.

    I am absolutely sure that nothing I have just written is anything new to you or anyone else reading this, you just have to look in the mirror and say, "Edmundo, you are a fat piece of shit who is going to an early grave if you don't make some changes." And believe it. And make the changes.

  • James Hunt's picture

    I did the full on vegetarian thing just for kicks for about 6 months and then gradually let off (the almighty steak is just too tempting to give up for good). It didn't produce any positive or negative results on my weight but that is moot since I have a metabolism that would make Usain Bolt look like an amateur.

    What I did appreciate from the whole vegetarian experience was that it helped me focus more on a healthy diet. My diet then consisted of mainly greasy and unhealthy foods, and it may have not put on weight but it sure wasn't healthy for my heart or major arteries. Aside from preventing me from having a heart attack, I believe the whole vegetarian experience gave me a lot more energy and stamina (both physical and mental). The nutrients and vitamins that come from an all fruits and vegetable diet really do make a difference in the physiological makeup of the body.

    In hindsight it was a good experience and I never did once get tired of eating a nectarine or two every day. If anything, it helped me be more aware of my diet and health. Kudos to you for staying with it and shedding the 20 pounds.

    As far as vegetarianism or the Paleo Diet being the source for ultimate bodily health, I'd say it really depends on the body type and what vitamins one is lacking in.

    A fun post to read by the way.

    In 1976, James Hunt broke the sound barrier through Eau Rouge only to retire before the event finished... following the race he had sex with three Belgian nurses at the clubhouse near La Source.

  • Capitalist's picture

    Exercise is just as important nutrition.

    I can usually eat whatever I want but I rarely have fast food. Playing soccer also helps burning all that fat away.

    The problem with diets is that they are temporary and once the body adjusts, the weight piles back on.

  • MonkeyShitter's picture

    I've been a vegaterian for 5 years, never eat red meat again. But, I do miss a good steak.

  • RoyalSeducer's picture

    My gf is vegan, I like meat. But since she will always have veggies, fruit, and nuts around, I automatically eat these things more than I would by myself. Thus, at the same time cutting down on the crappy stuff makes that I don't have to worry about my diet. It all goes without having to think about it.
    So....get a gf that's vegan :P

  • eyelikecheese's picture

    As long as you exercise and burn lots of calories, then it really doesn't matter what you eat, to an extent. I run about 7 miles a day, so I can have so much wiggle room when it comes to a diet

    Eat Wheaties or eggs in the morning. You need your energy for the day, and need to pile it on in the morning

    Stick to fruits, they are delicious. Salmon/tilapia/chicken breast are amazing sources of low calorie,high protein.low fat foods that are inexpensive, delicious, and can have so many variations to them.

    I think the thing that makes most men gain weight is he alcohol. Pile on a few binge drinking nights a week usually turns into a late night food binge on mcdonalds/taco bell and being unproductive in the morning.

  • Cervantes's picture

    I used to be heavyier...what i do might not be as popular but i thnk its the most sane and has worked amazingly for me.

    1. Diet: 2-3 meals a day...lighter at breakfast (usually just coffee). Lunch I usually get a main entree and top off with fruit. Dinner I let myself go until I am satisfied (not disgustingly full). Get used to slightly eating less. Mine is a combo of french diet/ warrior diet.

    2. Exercise: try to work out 5x a week. Lift atleast twice. Do something cool like kettlebelles/sports/etc.

    3. drinks: shy away from the girly froo froo drinks and beer...easier to do since i only drink hard liquor: single malt, or if im doing gin, hendrick's...stick to a couple twice a week.

    thats purty much it. worked really well for me, you feel like you can be social, easier to maintain etc.

  • In reply to eyelikecheese
    Logger54's picture

    eyelikecheese:

    I think the thing that makes most men gain weight is he alcohol. Pile on a few binge drinking nights a week usually turns into a late night food binge on mcdonalds/taco bell and being unproductive in the morning.

    This is my biggest problem, around some of my bigger friends a beer..turns into 10 beers, turns into a double quarter pounder with a side of mcnuggets.

  • sneamia's picture

    Last time I checked, 48 oz was 3 lbs, not 4.

  • Edmundo Braverman's picture

    Yeah, I've done my best to rein in the drinking. I really only drink the hard stuff straight up anymore, because I figure that's the least amount of calories. I limit my consumption to a liter of rum a week and wine with dinner maybe two or three nights a week. I realize that might sound like a lot to some of you, but it's quite a bit less than I used to drink.

  • eyelikecheese's picture

    Eating out is the worst thing you can do. For two reasons:

    The daily caloric/fat/carb needs are usually found in one entree at a restaurant. You don't know what goes into the food not who doesn't wash their hands hen preparing it, nor what type of microwave they use to heat it up. Resist it at all possible

    Also, I can't remember the last time I ate at a restaurant, and while walking out said " damn, that was a great meal and well worth the money"

  • Hoover1's picture

    Mount Gay on the rocks? That's not a thing.

    This topic got real boring real fast.

  • SAC's picture

    This vegetarian shit is for pussies. I can't believe I see dudes in line at salad restaurants.

  • In reply to oreos
    oreos's picture

    Oreos:
    It's our MDs birthday today, we're going out for what quite could possibly turn into 3+ beers and steak.

    i'm looking forward to it.

    oh and that's lunch not dinner

    Lunch was very tasty, just to let you know.

    Nutrition is simple; eat small meals, but often, vary your diet and use your head. If you don't think it is health it isn't.

    "After you work on Wall Street it's a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side." - David Tepper

  • In reply to SAC
    Mo's picture

    <a href=http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/sac-capital rel=nofollow>SAC</a>:
    This vegetarian shit is for pussies. I can't believe I see dudes in line at salad restaurants.

    Maybe as you grow older you will know why dudes line up at salad restaurants.......or maybe you just do not hang that much around your desk....

    Maybe I do not have quotes under my name on google, but I KEEP IT REAL

  • shorttheworld's picture

    This is my 48 oz portherhouse with a half of a 22 oz lobstertail from del friscos along with tons of sides

    BEAST MODE. ate it all solo.

    ill throw down for WSO eating contest with anyone

  • jos.a.bankhard's picture

    Um... nerd alert coming up.

    Since I'm a consultant and travel all the fucking time, I can't really cook for myself the way I do at home. So I downloaded some of the info of the healthier stuff at fast food and the usual restaurants and make an excel sheet to calculate metrics like protein/calories and protein/fat. Best thing you can order: Wendy's Ultimate Chicken Grill with chili instead of fries. 590 cal, 14 fat, 52 protein. Chicken burrito bowls from chipotle etc are really good too.

    I don't drink during the week unless it's an occasion (I more than make up for it Fri-Sun though) and generally try to get in the gym 4-5 days a week.

  • spoonfork's picture

    I've fat fingered for a mid 5 figure loss before. Quite an interesting emotional ride that is.
    "Woah! Why's my PnL blood red?! "
    "Wait, where's the market?"
    "What's with the huge price spike?"
    "Wait a second, what's my price?"
    "FUCK!"
    "No way that will stand, I'll get this broken."

    (Temporary relief.)

    Risk manager - "The counter party/exchange says to go fuck yourself"

    (Despair resumes mixed with a weird perspective and light headedness.)

    As far as food - I not a strict vegetarian, but I eat limited meat. I have no moral issues with eating animals. Steak is delicious. After learning about the industrial and factory farm processes (via Food, Inc, Omnivore's Dilemma, etc) I decided to cut back. Now I basically follow this advice: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.:
    http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20090323/7-...

  • eyelikecheese's picture

    The healthier fast food meal is a charbroiled chicken sandwich from chik fil a. Hits about 280 calories and 30 grams of protein.

  • In reply to eyelikecheese
    jos.a.bankhard's picture

    eyelikecheese:
    The healthier fast food meal is a charbroiled chicken sandwich from chik fil a. Hits about 280 calories and 30 grams of protein.

    Oh, it's in the list too haha. It actually has more fat and cals than the wendy's sandwich and there's not a high protein side replacement. You could go with the fruit though.

  • In reply to spoonfork
    Edmundo Braverman's picture

    spoonfork:
    I've fat fingered for a mid 5 figure loss before. Quite an interesting emotional ride that is.
    "Woah! Why's my PnL blood red?! "
    "Wait, where's the market?"
    "What's with the huge price spike?"
    "Wait a second, what's my price?"
    "FUCK!"
    "No way that will stand, I'll get this broken."

    (Temporary relief.)

    Risk manager - "The counter party/exchange says to go fuck yourself"

    (Despair resumes mixed with a weird perspective and light headedness.)

    Nailed it.

    The only things I might add are:

    1. Puke blood into trash can
    2. Throw trash can at intern
  • In The Flesh's picture

    I wonder what kind of meal Kerviel would have to buy to keep himself from being fired?

    Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

  • vanillathunder12's picture

    I am a vegetarian (not going to go into why, its a weird and crazy story), so I can chime in about the diet. Meat substitues help a lot. Boca chicken patties taste better than real chicken patties (it's weird but true). Good vegeburgers are hard to come by, but there are some good vegedogs out there on the market. Other favorites of mine are soup, pasta, mac and cheese, eggs (not meat, chickens will lay eggs regardless of if they are fertilized or not), and mashed potatoes.

  • In reply to vanillathunder12
    Conphas's picture

    vanillathunder12:
    ... pasta, mac and cheese, eggs (not meat, chickens will lay eggs regardless of if they are fertilized or not), and mashed potatoes.

    I think the meat/no meat/different meats is only part of Edmundo's problem. The other part is he is 5'9" and TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY POUNDS. Either he is secretly a body-builder on a sestanon-250 stack, or he is about 70 lb. over his BMI ideal. Cut out the pasta (or drastically reduce), NO mac&cheese, and I'd also stay away from those starchy mashed potatoes until his weight was more under control. If you are already happy with your weight, then sure, eat that stuff (it all tastes good), but if you are trying to lose a few pounds that shit will seriously fuck your efforts up.

  • In reply to Conphas
    Edmundo Braverman's picture

    Conphas:
    vanillathunder12:
    ... pasta, mac and cheese, eggs (not meat, chickens will lay eggs regardless of if they are fertilized or not), and mashed potatoes.

    I think the meat/no meat/different meats is only part of Edmundo's problem. The other part is he is 5'9" and TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY POUNDS. Either he is secretly a body-builder on a sestanon-250 stack, or he is about 70 lb. over his BMI ideal.

    Dude, that actually made me laugh my ass off. And you are completely right, of course. That said, I look pretty bad at 160, as you can see from this photo of me at the end of the Gulf War at 153 lbs:


    Pretty emaciated. I think my ideal weight is around 180.

    And for all you haters about to make a crack about the 70's porn 'stache, that kid got laid more by accident than you ever have on purpose. Examine your motives.

  • In reply to Edmundo Braverman
    surferdude867's picture

    Edmundo Braverman:
    Yeah, I've done my best to rein in the drinking. I really only drink the hard stuff straight up anymore, because I figure that's the least amount of calories. I limit my consumption to a liter of rum a week and wine with dinner maybe two or three nights a week. I realize that might sound like a lot to some of you, but it's quite a bit less than I used to drink.

    That's roughly a pound a week you could lose by eliminating booze, and that's just the calories that come directly from the alcohol, it doesn't include the effect it has on your metabolism or other aspects of your body/mind.

    The Paleolithic diet is actually pretty decent, with a few modifications: Legumes (beans) should be a staple of any eating program... While it's generally good practice to eliminate milk, other forms of dairy like low fat cheese and yogurt (greek and other styles) are great... Extra virgin olive oil is good stuff and should not be avoided.

    Here's an easy way to eat relatively healthy:

    One palm for lean protein, one palm fruit, 2 palms vegetables. It's ok to sub in a palm of starchy carbs sometimes, but fruit > grains usually.

    That's what I do and while I've lost some muscle mass being desk bound, I haven't become fat.

  • BigBucks's picture

    i'll worry about eating healthy after im 50 and have had my first massive corollary.

  • In reply to shorttheworld
    adapt or die's picture

    shorttheworld:

    This is my 48 oz portherhouse with a half of a 22 oz lobstertail from del friscos along with tons of sides

    BEAST MODE. ate it all solo.

    ill throw down for WSO eating contest with anyone

    Ma Man! +1

  • In reply to Conphas
    adapt or die's picture

    Conphas:
    Eat often, as in closer to 6 mini-meals a day. Get in the habit of drinking mainly water. Try to limit your meats to skinless chicken and turkey, and salmon (or whatever healthy fish, some like tuna). Snack on fruits.

    Calorie count. I know it sounds tedious, but you don't have to get nazi over it. Just keep a loose running total somewhere in your head, and as you get used to your new eating habits and fall into some routines you won't even need to do that anymore.

    The gnawing in your stomach for the first 4 or 5 days as you adjust goes away and you end up feeling "cleaner", whatever that may mean to you. I sometimes cheat/splurge/apathy-binge by hitting the McD drive through, and afterward I always feel bloated, heavy, gross.

    It's also important to give yourself a cheat day (or just meal) to look forward to. If you aren't getting any exercise then I'd say just once a week, say Fri or Sat night, allow yourself to eat whatever-the-fuck-you-want. The rest of the time, have a little discipline.

    As you already learned from drastic diet changes (like going full vegan), you may like the initial benefits, but the change is just too much to see yourself doing for the rest of your life.

    Perhaps you and your wife, if time allows, could even start learning how to cook healthier meals together, and then you could start tupperwaring some of that into the office for your meals there.

    If it is an inescapable part of your work (or whatever) to have to eat out with clients often, it's really not that difficult to make leaner choices once you start being conscious of it.

    I am absolutely sure that nothing I have just written is anything new to you or anyone else reading this, you just have to look in the mirror and say, "Edmundo, you are a fat piece of shit who is going to an early grave if you don't make some changes." And believe it. And make the changes.

    I agree with most of the points you make here but I think you are wrong in telling people to avoid red meat entirely. I think lean red meats in moderation are excellent such sirlions, filets, bison etc. Especially for a person with decent heart health who is active. The saturated fats and cholesterol also have positive effects on free testosterone.

  • In reply to eyelikecheese
    loki276's picture

    eyelikecheese:
    As long as you exercise and burn lots of calories, then it really doesn't matter what you eat, to an extent. I run about 7 miles a day, so I can have so much wiggle room when it comes to a diet

    Eat Wheaties or eggs in the morning. You need your energy for the day, and need to pile it on in the morning

    Stick to fruits, they are delicious. Salmon/tilapia/chicken breast are amazing sources of low calorie,high protein.low fat foods that are inexpensive, delicious, and can have so many variations to them.

    I think the thing that makes most men gain weight is he alcohol. Pile on a few binge drinking nights a week usually turns into a late night food binge on mcdonalds/taco bell and being unproductive in the morning.

    It does matter what you eat even f you exercise a lot. Exercise doesn't get rid of trans-fats which is what clogs up arteries and kills you.

  • kimbo's picture

    Exercise is as important as dieting. You can't have one without the other; it's as simple as that. I'm not saying you have to work out 7 days a week, but you need to make an effort and be smart about it. Running five miles to burn 500 calories isn't really worth it when you go out and drink 15 beers that same night.

    Personally, a mile is the most I will run on a treadmill (I get bored too easily). Instead I try to mix it up with racquetball and tennis whenever I can get out and lift for about an hour 2-3 day a week.

    What I had for dinner last night.....Zucchini pasta (with eggplant, diced tomatoes, garlic), a side of asparagus, and chicken. I'm usually not a fan of foods pretending to be other foods, but it was healthy and delicious. The gf is a health nut, so she makes a conscious effort to shop and cook healthy. I wouldn't be able to do this by myself!

    I don't munch on junk food either so when I'm craving it, I either go for yogurt or fruits (chewing on gum does the trick sometime). I also do think it's important to have a "cheat day" so whenever I do go out to eat, I don't hold back.

    Has anyone given P90X or crossfit training a try? I have friends who swear by it.

  • copia22's picture

    Anyone heard of Anabolic Diet? Makes me mouth water thinking of that juicy Steak.

  • jos.a.bankhard's picture

    kimbo:
    Has anyone given P90X or crossfit training a try? I have friends who swear by it.

    My roommate did P90x. He took it pretty seriously and saw moderate results, I wasn't too impressed. I would only recommend it if you're out of shape/fat. Since it's mostly cardio with light weights, I question it's ability to put on significant muscle. Frankly, it would probably be really good for chicks. If you're trying to just cram a workout into an hour though, it's not too bad.

  • dagro's picture

    like i keep telling friends and relatives - you can't really change your weight/health sustainably unless the diet goes with the lifestyle and activity.

    i eat fastfood only in extreme cases of the munchies and i drink out with friends once a week or two (weeks). i also make sure i eat a vegetable and a fruit every day and usually stay away from oily stuff (deep-fried, oil-covered, don't know what else).

    but i also swim twice-three times a week, though i really don't enjoy it after the first few laps. it's still better than running and better than watch my belly eclipse my partner-in-crime.

    i guess i've never had much of a weight problem, so i might sound a bit of a hypocrite, but i also know that because i've never lacked any kind of food, and when i want it, i usually get it, i never have serious cravings for anything. chocolate and meat and chicken nuggets are always at hand, not to mention awesome freshly-grinded 2/3 pound burgers and beer and onion rings (i know the size is laughable but food here in israel is still served in somewhat sober portions)... and dohnuts.... i think i'll have one now..

    night ppl

    =========================================
    "... then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

  • levelworm's picture

    I decided that I shall never watch that video, again. BTW someone here said something about mice in meat factories a while ago. I believe it's "it's legal and clean as long as less than 3 are caught in the factory". Damn I just consumed some sausage.

  • Kools's picture

    The problem is that although everyone knows how to get into decent shape, not everyone is motivated enough to want to. To truly be successful, you need to get your mind right. There are different paths to the goal, but essentially all you need to do is exercise more and eat less/better. You CAN be in half-way decent shape without hitting the gym all the time, eating at McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Steakhouses, but you have to be smart about it.

    At McDonald's for example, don't order a fucking Big Mac, large fries, and drink 2 Cokes. Order a Big Mac, small fries, and a cup of water (diet soda is gay). You'll enjoy the Big Mac more and save a good chunk of calories in the process. At a steakhouse, go ahead and order a 48 ouncer, but get some fucking vegetables as a side (baked/mashed potatoes don't count).

    If you really have the discipline, you could follow any number of diets out there, just make sure whatever diet you choose is aligned with your goals.

    Now, to exercise more, you don't need a ton of time. Cut some TV time off your schedule because who the fuck cares what happened on Burn Notice? Michael Westen gets a new client, Sam and Fiona help him save the day, and Mikey learns a little bit more about why he was burned.

    If you don't have the time or the willpower to hit the gym for 30-60 minutes for 2-5 days a week, fine. Go workout for 5-15 minutes when you wake up and before you brush your teeth. Make that shit part of your daily routine: wake up, piss/shit, pushups, burpees, etc, 2nd shit, brush teeth, move on with your day. Same thing at night: finish all-nighter, fuck girlfriend, pushups, burpees, etc., take a shit, brush teeth, and go to sleep.

    Even if you do you spend an hour watching Burn Notice, use the commercials to push out some sets of pushups, squats, burpees, or whatever. In a 2-3 minute commercial period you can do a quick circuit of exercises and rest during the 5-10 minutes of TV time. If you do this, push yourself hard for those 2-3 minutes; to the point of exhaustion, and then bang out more reps.
    Take what you want out of life.

  • CaptK's picture

    Ah, hey guys - looks like I'm a bit late to the party here. Allow me to throw my hat into the ring for the Paleo Diet (albeit my own modified version based on some of Tim Ferriss's work).

    First, my own experience. I was a high school athlete and generally pretty in shape before college - about 6'1", 180lbs and fairly built. Over the course of 4 years and countless Busch Lights, I graduated around 205lbs and started a job in banking. After 6 months of takeout dinners and 90 hour weeks at a desk I was up to 220lbs, had back pain, acne, and digestive problems. I regret now that I didn't have my body fat analyzed, but I expect I was pushing 30%. I looked in the mirror one day and realized - I was unhealthy. I was on pace to become the fat guy in the red convertible that dies at 55. It was time for a change. I'll tell you where I am now at the end of this post.

    Around this time I'd also picked up Tim Ferriss's excellent book The Four Hour Work Week, which I'm sure you've all heard Eddie and I recommend countless times. Ferriss also does significant fitness research and experimentation and had two posts on his blog that interested me. One called From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs of Muscle in 4 Weeks and another titled How to Lose 20lbs of Fat in 30 Days - Without Doing Any Exercise. I highly encourage you to read them both if you're trying to lose weight.

    The fitness plan I arrived at is a modification of the Paleolithic Diet, which I'll explain briefly below. For the Cliffs Notes crowd, the below can be summarized in 3 bullets:
    - Avoid white carbohydrates. If it is white or can be white (bread, noodles, rice, cookies, crackers, etc), cut it out completely.
    - Don't drink calories. No sodas or juices. In combination with the above, that also means (gasp) no beer. We'll allow wine and hard liquor (straight or with diet soda) because a guy's got to have a life.
    - Exercise to exhaustion. 2-3 30 minute high intensity workouts are more valuable for muscle hypertrophy than 4x weekly moderate sessions.

    So - let's dive in. The basic idea behind Paleo eating is to consume only foods that our ancestors from the Paleolithic Era had access to (meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, nuts, vegetables, fruit, etc), and exclude foods that developed in the more recent Neolithic, post-agricultural era (grains, processed dairy, beans/legumes, potatoes, sugar, and other "fake" foods). Volumes of literature have been written about the reasons this makes sense, particularly the ways that carbohydrates and simple sugars are metabolized - they are literally killing you by spiking your insulin, damaging your small intestines, and more. Read this article by Robb Wolf for more - Robb is the former review editor for the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. He knows his stuff.

    Above is the "standard" Paleo diet, but I've made a few modifications to make it both less miserable (more sustainable) and more practical. First, I'll allow beans/legumes, both for variety and also for protein. Also, I allow for 1 "off day" each week when I can eat whatever I want. No only does this help keep me sane, but spiking caloric intake once per week increases fat loss by ensuring that metabolic rate (thyroid function, etc) doesn't downregulate from extended caloric restriction.

    Let's also briefly discuss exercise. The two things you're shooting for are consistent elevated heart rate and lifts to failure. You can accomplish this with cycle training - begin with 15 minutes on the treadmill to get your heart rate up, then move around the gym lifting several muscle groups to failure, with no rest in between. Do all your sets to failure. It will hurt, but you'll build lean muscle mass very quickly. You can be in and out in under 45 minutes, including locker room time.

    So how has this all worked for me? As I said, at my peak during banking I was 220lbs, with back pain, acne, and digestive problems. So I made a change. I went on my modified Paleo diet, and hit the gym for 20 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of hard lifting twice a week (it was all my banking schedule would allow anyway). I kept drinking on the weekends with my buddies to stay sane, but limited myself to wine or bourbon rocks. What happened? After 3 months I was down to 200lbs, my skin was clear, and my digestive problems were totally gone. After 3 more months I was at 185lbs, in the best shape of my life, with no lower back pain. Several years later, that's still where I am today. This stuff works guys, I've lived it.

    And for everyone in the "diet or exercise" debate - the real answer is that you should do both. However, diet is absolutely critical. Look at the numbers. A single chocolate chip cookie has about 300 empty sugar calories. It would take you 30 minutes on the treadmill to burn that off. It's so much easier to cut weight by eating healthy, wholesome calories than by killing yourself at the gym. When you combine the diet with exercise, that's when the real results appear.

    I've already gone on far too long, so I'll cut myself off. Happy to answer any questions about Paleo eating or my experience doing it while banking. Give it 30 days guys, it just might change your life.

    - Capt K -
    "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham

  • In reply to Edmundo Braverman
    dagro's picture

    Edmundo Braverman:
    @Kools Not for nothing, but if you're shitting three times a day, you don't have any trouble maintaining your weight.

    that's very true. also, as an afterthought:

    =========================================
    "... then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

  • Edmundo Braverman's picture

    I was hoping you'd chime in, Captain.

    I did the same thing you did when I lost the 20 pounds I talked about, buy my problem was that my cheat day became a cheat day-and-a-half, and then a cheat weekend, and then I was back to my old habits. It's a question of discipline, and I've always struggled with self-denial.

    I gearing up to make another run at it, but I can't say I'm looking forward to it. I really do love all my vices.

  • In reply to Edmundo Braverman
    CaptK's picture

    Edmundo Braverman:
    I was hoping you'd chime in, Captain.

    I did the same thing you did when I lost the 20 pounds I talked about, buy my problem was that my cheat day became a cheat day-and-a-half, and then a cheat weekend, and then I was back to my old habits. It's a question of discipline, and I've always struggled with self-denial.

    I gearing up to make another run at it, but I can't say I'm looking forward to it. I really do love all my vices.


    I love my vices too - particularly the carbs and sugars. If you read Robb Wolf's article, you'll find the below excerpt, which really hit home for me:
    Robb Wolf:
    Not only do grains make you sick by raising insulin levels, messing up your fatty acid ratios (n-3/n-6), and irritating your gut, but they are also addictive. Grains, particularly the gluten-containing grains, contain molecules that fit into the opiate receptors in our brain. You know, the same receptors that work with heroin, morphine, and Vicodin? Most people can take or leave stuff like corn tortillas and rice. Suggest that people should perhaps forgo bread and pasta for their health and they will bury a butter knife in your forehead.

    It's a real phenomenon - we are literally addicted to carbohydrates, and it's a tough habit to kick. Like other forms of addiction, you never really get over it - just as reformed smokers will always have a deep, dark craving for a cigarette, so too will Krispy Kreme donuts call to me for the rest of my days. But then I realize how much more I get laid at 185 than 220, and I decide it's worth it...

    - Capt K -
    "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham

  • eyelikecheese's picture

    Guys,

    A really healthy thing to eat as a snack, or as a meal is.....

    Cheese. I like to encourage mild cheddar. It's a little up there is calories and fat, but has no carbs-NOT ONE.And the feeling you get from eating a nice slice of cheese it truly eurphoric

  • In reply to CaptK
    Kools's picture

    CaptK:
    just as reformed smokers will always have a deep, dark craving for a cigarette, so too will Krispy Kreme donuts call to me for the rest of my days. But then I realize how much more I get laid at 185 than 220, and I decide it's worth it...

    one of the best quotes ever haha

  • International Pymp's picture

    background: I am 6'4 and 215 pounds - not like ALL muscle anymore (no longer time to go to the gym for 90 mins/day), but in no way chubby or with a belly... I no longer have a defined six-pack, but you can still see it shining through a bit on a good day, and I look big (in a good way) all over in the shoulders/arms (46 L).

    I eat a ton of red meat - a ton. But you have to distinguish between different kinds or red meat. Eating hamburger meat is rarely, if ever, a good idea. Eating a porterhouse or ribeye is something you can do on occasion, but don't want to get in the habit of. Never eat bacon or sausages - or almost never. Don't eat spare ribs. Most other kinds of red meat, particularly lean steaks and pork chops, I think are good for you. Sirloin steak, when prepared properly, is still delicious (despite lacking the marbel of a ribeye or whatever), and you can always go with a fillet mignon. Red meats are not only loaded with protein, but have iron and natural creatin amongst other things you need to stay built.

    Obviously working out is a given, and not only cardio, you absolutely need to do some muscle work. 3x per week 30 to 40 minutes, will a heavy emphasis on compound movements such as deadlifts, squats, bench press and pull ups, will keep the doctor away and keep you looking well shaped and make your suits fit right.

  • In reply to CaptK
    International Pymp's picture

    CaptK:

    - Exercise to exhaustion. 2-3 30 minute high intensity workouts are more valuable for muscle hypertrophy than 4x weekly moderate sessions.

    I agree with CaptK completely on this statement - excellent advice. To many people spend like 45 minutes every day on the eleptical machine going at complete 50 year old chick speed trying to burn a bunch of calories and see very little result (not that it doesn't help a little, but still). You need to go to exhaustion - it's more effective and WAY more time efficient - which is key for a banker. The same thing goes with weights - go heavy or go home. None of that soft ass "toning" shit with high reps and low weights. 3-4 sets of 6-8 with 80+% of your maximum weight is the way to go.

  • Machine's picture

    Great Thread...Thanks everyone.

    I must say that I would add that feeling tired of the time makes your brain wants to go for greasy/ easy food.

    I have been crushed to the bone in the past 6 months and I have realised that after two or three days of really intense work, I tend to go for stuff I don't really like originally (KFC, McDonald, Pizza).

    > My sister who is a doctor, specialized in sleeping disorder, told me that it is pretty normal. The explanation to this phenomen relies on the fact that you are pushing your body so much that your brain intuitiveley goes for "rich food" because your mind/ brain reacts like it is a critical time / threat so it has to "make sure" it has the adequate nutrition for the coming days / hours.

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