How to Not be Fat as Explained by a Former Fat POS

I was originally responding to another post when I realized that I had typed out a bunch and I should make my own thread. I've seen a lot of posts here about people trying to lose weight or worrying about putting it on because of the IB lifestyle. Furthermore, with gyms closed in some areas, people living at work, and general boredom and isolation, I know many are concerned about the "Quarantine 15." If you're the kind of person who might put on a few lbs, but then gets their act together and sheds it quickly, this is not for you. That said, please read on and share your insight.

Ask your self this question and answer it honestly. No one is listening but you. Don't lie to yourself. "Hey self, do you feel like managing your weight is a challenge?" If you're a young guy and the answer is yes, it's probably because you are, consciously or subconsciously making it harder on your self. I want to help you solve this problem.

I bet you're wondering why you should listen to an anonymous internet commenter. In general you shouldn't. That said, I've lost almost as much as your girlfriend probably weighs since February of this year. I was morbidly obese at the beginning of the pandemic. I was morbidly obese when gyms were open, fitness classes were going on, the farmers market and Whole Foods were easy to go to. I was morbidly obese while I had an Equinox membership (I was using it too). There is absolutely zero and I mean ZERO excuse for you to be a fat POS. If you struggle with your weight as in you are not happy with how much you weigh and you are having trouble solving that problem, read on.

First, we're going to focus on mindset and motivation so I will just come right out and say it: Being fat and gross is for poor people. There have been several articles written (the one that I remember was in the WSJ I think a couple years ago) talking about how wealthy and upper-class Americans are eschewing traditional luxury goods like designer clothes and fancy cars and favoring less tangible goods, namely education and health/wellness. Everyone can get a fancy watch or designer clothes these days. Health is and the ability to stay fit and healthy is now what the real ballers are spending their money on. If you're as much of a snob as me, and you probably are considering you troll a forum obsessed with ranking EVERYTHING, this is good motivation. Also, it explains something: you need to be willing to spend money on your health. Healthy food and exercise equipment are expensive. Spend your money on it. If you have money left over, go ahead and buy an Hermes tie. Don't buy an Hermes tie and if you have left over money spend it on your health.

Being fat is not good for your career. It's not. It's true. It's also bad for getting chicks and your mental health and obviously your physical health, but this is a career focused forum so I figured I would lead with that. You're viewed as older, less responsible, less trustworthy, less intelligent, less a lot of good things, and more a lot of bad things. Is that fair? Does it matter? Life isn't. If you care about your career you need to care about your health. Letting your health slip because you are "focusing on work" is just moving your money from one pocket to the other. Take your health just as seriously as you take your career. If you are at the point where you are browsing the "Off Topic" section of WSO, you probably are obsessed with this website because you have an maniacal, obsessive desire to succeed. 

By this point, you're probably thinking "Hey, Prospective Monkey you have not said anything about losing weight." We're getting there.

Pop Quiz: Which of the following IS NOT a form of entertainment?

a. Going to the movies

b. Cranking your hog

c. Watching dumb YouTube videos

d. Eating food

The answer is d. Food isn't a hobby or an activity. It's not entertainment like watching the Mobile Leprechaun video for the hundredth time. Don't treat it that way. If your bored, go check your social media apps or read something or play Angry Birds or something, don't use food. That's like using a wrench to brush your teeth- wrong tool, bad results. Going out to a restaurant with your friends or your S/O is entertainment because of the shared experience and the ambiance. Trying a cool new food truck or pop-up in your city is entertainment for a lot of reasons beside the actual nutrition. This was important for me to understand. Food is adjacent to a lot of fun and entertaining things, but its not the fun part. Eating is like dropping a deuce. Maybe when you're bored at work you go take a dump  because you want some alone time or to play on your phone or whatever, but taking a crap (usually) is not fun and its not not fun. It's just pooping.

Let's talk about alcohol. If you are actually serious about trying to lose weight, you need to stop drinking for the duration of your weight loss effort which will be a range of months. If that sounds like a pain or unpleasant or not possible, maybe its time to be a little more upfront with yourself than you normally would. You need to be able to take a couple months off. I am not saying you have a problem, but I'm not not saying you might develop one later. If you're a young guy in the US (IDK about abroad), chances are you've been drinking on and off for a while. First time I got drunk with my friends I was 16. Got absolutely cranked off of two Sam Adams. For the next 10 years, I was always having drinks here or there. It was definitely heavier in college and in the first couple post grad years, but it was never like a "problem." That said, it was a constant in my life and I realized the last time I went like a month without drinking was in high school. If that sounds like you, take a month off and start right now. You've been doing life with booze for however long, now give it a whirl without.

Okay, the moment you have been waiting for. How to lose weight as explained by a former fatass:

  • Realize that right now during a global pandemic is the perfect time to get your shit together. You have an excuse to not go out, turn down plans, and be a shut in.
  • Accept that this is a long process. You don't expect to become a banker overnight, why would you expect to lose weight overnight too?
  • Find real motivation. What I wrote above is mine, find yours.
  • Change how you think about food.
  • Cut out the drinking. We already talked about this. If you don't like this, that sucks but at the end of the day no one cares. It's between you and yourself. If you want to keep hating yourself, that's your choice.
  • Write down what you eat during a day. I didn't say track your calories. I didn't say download some fitness app. Write down what you eat. Notes app, sticky note, word doc, excel, whatever: two slices of pizza, seven handfuls of pretzels, large mocha latte. Don't use the Starbucks fake terms that are designed to help you forget you're ordering a LARGE.
  • Get your body in motion. I got hung up on the fact that going for a fifteen minute walk isn't going to burn a lot of calories. Going for the walk isn't supposed to. It's supposed to help your mind get to the place where you can actually burn some calories. Get moving. You can find time to. Yeah, you can stop effing lying to yourself. Get up and get moving. Go for a 15 minute walk every day for a month.
  • Don't drink calories. I touched on this with re the booze, but stop drinking calories! Obviously there are some exceptions to this: protein with no added sugar, smoothies made of actual fruit (no premade juice) and/or no-sugar-added yogurt (throw in a natural nut butter w/ no sugar too!), probiotic shot, black coffee. If you need creamer, try Fairlife. If you are going to use a non-dairy milk make sure it doesn't have added sugar. An oatmilk almost got me the other day. If you desperately need to sweeten something, use a teaspoon of honey. Unless you're Winnie the Pooh, you probably wouldn't drink something if you went overboard on the honey. Too much honey is gross.
  • Replace sweet carby snacks with fresh fruit and veggies. Replace salty carby snacks with nuts, cheese, bacon, beef jerky, seaweed snacks. There are a lot of great options at Whole Foods or your health food store. If you live in a major metro area, this should be easy to find. Yeah, your grocery bill is going to go up if you are snacking on grape tomatoes and almonds and beef jerky. It's worth it.
  • Keto & Paleo INSPIRED diet. Cut down on the simple carbs and throw an extra helping of protein and fat in there. If you're doing it right, the first few times you will feel like you made too much food and you won't be able to finish your plate. You don't need to go balls to the wall about following the diet "rules." Find what works for you. For example, I love rice. I could eat rice until the end of time. Instead of replacing it or totally eliminating it, I make half as much and mix in half cauliflower rice. I say paleo-inspired because I do like to consider how processed/refined a snack or ingredient is. It's a good way to evaluate whether you should eat something or not. Also, hot sauce, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, black pepper should become your best condiment/seasoning friends.
  • Try intermittent fasting. If it doesn't work for you, come to that conclusion after actually trying it and putting in the effort.
  • Get a scale that tracks body fat, body water, BMI etc. Weigh yourself naked on Wednesday mornings. If you have a naturally stocky build, do not obsess over your BMI. Get a cloth tape measure and measure your waist and record that from time to time.
  • Get some fitness equipment you will actually use. Whether that's ankle weights, a yoga mat, or a Peloton doesn't matter. Get something you will commit to doing once a week. Commit to it. Hold yourself accountable. Form fitness habits.
  • If you have put on more than 35 lbs, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. If they can't or won't help you, find a new one. There are things they can help you with. It might be an off-label prescription of an antidepressant or a referral to a therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy (it works) or nutritional testing or something else. You're not a wuss. Just tell them you're struggling. It's better to handle it when you're 40lbs overweight than when you are 100lbs overweight.

Finally, let's talk about committing to things in general. Here is a metaphor for you. I am sure you knew at least a couple kids who rolled in freshman year of college talking about how they had their entire life planned out ahead of them. They were going to become a banker or consultant at x, y, z firm. They were going to get into Veterinary school or Harvard Med or become a Navy Seal. You get my point. Now look back, how many of them actually achieved that. Not 100%. Sure, some of them were just too dumb to achieve their lofty goals, but no one is physically incapable of losing weight so that doesn't apply here. Those kids didn't achieve their goals because when push came to shove, they decided that partying, girlfriend, other things were more important than their goals. They didn't want it badly enough. That's fine. People want different things. But there is no excuse for not achieving your goals. Either you achieve them or you don't.

A huge part of committing to things is setting realistic goals. Pick goals you can achieve. The best diet is the one that you stick to. The best exercise plan is the one that you stick to. The best plan in general is the one you will actually do. Start small if you have to, but form habits. No one here should have a problem with this concept.

Stay healthy

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Comments (52)

  • Developer in RE - Comm
Nov 15, 2020 - 9:50pm

Not to be a downer, but if you only started to lose weight in February then you have a long way to go before you can really speak with authority on this topic. Lots of people have lost major amounts of weight but almost all of them gain it back eventually. I'm sure some people will throw monkey shit at me, but if this is finance forum then presumably we should have a healthy respect for empirical data- and the data on this topic aren't encouraging. Best of luck.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Nov 15, 2020 - 10:00pm

OP here: I lost weight doing something highly sustainable for me. The two keys are commitment and sustainability. This isn't The Biggest Loser over here where i am doing things I couldn't keep up for forever. Check in on this thread in a few months. I will reply to you if I gain all the weight back. I have no reason to lie to you and if you're indeed right, I will let you know.

Nov 16, 2020 - 3:28pm

Also.. "being fat is for poor people" - you lost me there man. LMK what Leon Cooperman would have to say about this. Ever been looked dead in the eyes and called a pussy by a fat billionaire with a mouth full of Peter Lugers?

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
Nov 16, 2020 - 5:38pm

Anyways, it's not like most people bounce back 90 lbs when you've gone that far down.  Sure, you might get a bounce back. Call it 30 lbs which would be pretty drastic but you're still net 60 lbs which is nothing to be ashamed off.

In my opinon, bounce back is a much bigger problem at smaller weight losses.  You lose 15 lbs and before you know it, you gain back 10 go through a rough patch, get busy at happens.  Hard to hit a 90 lb rough patch...

Nov 16, 2020 - 3:26pm

TBH dude, just sounds like you overdid the addy dose and convinced yourself you're the next David Goggins. Accomplish something meaningfully before lecturing my man

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
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Most Helpful
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Nov 16, 2020 - 3:41pm

OP here: I don't take adderall, it's actually possible to lose weight without it. Not familiar with David Goggins but after reading about him he sounds like he has an excellent story. Also, I have achieved something. You go gain 100 lbs and then lose it all and come back and tell me you accomplished nothing. As I mentioned to the other poster, if I am unable to keep the weight off, I will let you know. I am 100% willing to be proven wrong and own up to it.

Nov 16, 2020 - 3:43pm

I feel like you commented on my thread about weight loss before. I'll say what I said before again - just because MOST people fall off the path does not mean the path isn't a worthwhile pursuit. sure, I know lots of people don't make Managing Director, but so the fuck what? should I not at least try? I don't find it helpful to say "well just because you used to be fat and now you're not, most people gain the weight back." seriously, what good does that accomplish? 

also, while your data on people gaining weight back is correct, empirical data doesn't necessarily work as well in the fitness world. all sorts of biases inherent with that and there's not a tremendous amount of data from RCTs in the fitness world, so what OP said may work for him doesn't mean it's wrong, just means, as he said, find your own shit.

  • Developer in RE - Comm
Nov 16, 2020 - 6:45pm

I'm not trying to be pointlessly mean about it, but I do think these kind of comments accomplish something. Basically, there are things about obesity that are known to be true by the academic research community that are NOT known by almost any members of the general public, or even by the average doctor. Most people genuinely don't know how dismal the obesity stats are, or the biological reasons for why that is. And as long as people stay ignorant about the subject, we're not going to make the research and public health interventions needed to address the issue. As an empirical matter, the idea that "it's simple, just eat less and exercise more" is basically false, because almost no overweight person is able to adhere to that advice in the long term. But every person who believes that idea is one less person who will actually help solve the problem.

Nov 15, 2020 - 11:00pm

Ironically as fuck, I was doing really well with my 2020 diet until COVID (around March anyway). Started to avoid grocery stores and stayed with family so I ended up eating whatever. I did a "sugar free" diet and intermittent fasting. By sugar free, I wasn't eating any flour, rice, or even fruit. As long as this criteria was met, I could eat as much as I wanted to. But, I was voluntarily steering clear of fast/processed foods, because that shit is just bad for you. Maybe during one of cheat days I would make an exception. 

In just 3 months or so, lost 15 pounds. Despite relapsing and eating like a fatass again, I'm still 5 pounds ahead. 

To be clear, I wasn't obese or even overweight (but cutting it close). I went from being 177 to about 162 as a 27 y/o 5'10 male. Wanted to get down to about 150 so I could focus on strength training. Unfortunately, I've done little exercising. Best to focus on weight loss and muscle mass individually. 

OP, what's your situation? How old are you, where do you live, what's your job, how much did you weigh before, how much did you lose, etc.? 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Nov 16, 2020 - 12:24am

Age: 24-28

Live in major metro area

Industry: Wealth Management

Weighed 270, now down to 180ish. Weight loss was so fast my hair was falling out and developed acne which I never had before.

Nov 16, 2020 - 8:45am

The hair loss and acne is kind of interesting.  Aside from genetic reasons, I think hair loss is correlated with a reduction in protein consumption.  However, it sounds like you were eating more protein.  I have no idea how acne ties into this.  

Nov 16, 2020 - 5:29pm

"I've seen a lot of posts here about people trying to lose weight or worrying about putting it on because of the IB lifestyle."

First, congrats on the huge weight loss and lots of good pointers, but I think that there is a bit of a difference between a PWM and an IB lifestyle. 

In banking, I would be equally impressed with someone losing 20 lbs in a year as you did 90 lbs. I honestly don't personally know a single person in IB that is in significantly better shape now than when they started IB. A lot of people can maintain their physique (which in my book is an accomplishment in of itself) but actually losing even 20 lbs, for example, is super rare.

Nov 15, 2020 - 11:06pm

I used to be fat, then i got Phat, but I got fat again during covid. y advice is keep busy and keep a routine, don't stress it. Calories in, calories out - been said a million times.

Go, Go, Excel

Nov 16, 2020 - 7:37am

If you like rice, have you tried konjac rice? 0 cal, 0 carbs and loads of fibre. look for the brands with small amounts of oat bran for improved texture and taste. 

It comes in different shapes for variety eg noodles, penne, spaghetti etc I make 150 cal Mac and cheese with the penne version. 

Dec 21, 2020 - 5:49pm


Weighted jump rope. All I gotta say.

Any recs.  It seems like a good idea.    I use a jump rope but not weighted. 

  • Prospect in PE - LBOs
Nov 16, 2020 - 8:42am

Like I always say: Losing weight is easy if you hate what you see in the mirror every day hard enough.

Nov 16, 2020 - 2:19pm

This is a very well written post and a good reminder for people. I let myself go during quarantine and went from ~9% BF to 15% BF and I've slowly been clawing my way back.

Nov 16, 2020 - 5:25pm

Tf did I just read... you lost me at keto/paleo and quitting drinking. Everything is fine in moderation... cutting everything out is not sustainable. From a former fat pos who lost a lot of weight and then regained it and repeated cycle till I finally started doing things in moderation and now I'm in the best shape of my life.

Nov 16, 2020 - 7:15pm

I stay skinny because I nuked my appetite with a voracious nicotine addiction.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn

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Nov 16, 2020 - 10:25pm

I just look at what i put into my body on a regular basis and literally imagine my body processing that shit; as gruesome as that sounds it generally deters me enough to not eat 5 pizzas in a day. Imagine filling your Benz with lard she ain't gonna run too well for the next 200 miles.

  • Analyst 3+ in RE - Res
Nov 17, 2020 - 7:59pm

I went from 21% BF to 7% BF during quarantine and I still don't have a last row of abs on my 6 pack lols. it's brutal.

Nov 18, 2020 - 5:25am

I actually maintained my health and weight beautifully during banking since most of the guys were about personal wellness and fitness. I did gain 40lbs during my PE gig given how crushing and anchoring it was to my desk and overall mental health (see my other comments with regards to the work culture I've made). Since I've left, prior to starting my next role, I've focused on losing that weight through a relatively loose structure of having two meals a day, one carby one earlier and one with no carbs for dinner / jogging everyday. This has proved to be extremely effective and I believe can help translate to others who are struggling with this issue. Obviously as I'm funemployed I have the time on my hands to go out and get after it on the jogging/power-walking front (fasted cardio ftw) but I'm training myself to get up early and tackle this so that it can translate over to the new role which, granted, is not intense in the same way IB or PE is.

That being said, OP I think your list is pretty solid and for people who are looking to shed pounds on the reg with some structure, I support it. FWIW, in college I went from a size 36 waist to a size 30 (size 36 is what I was throughout highschool as well) and followed something pretty similar to you. Just remember that everyone's body reacts differently to types of food so figure out what works for you but in general I've found the simple carbs to be the culprit. And beer. It hurts as a lover of beer but I've cut it out of my drinking nights and it's actually done wonders

Edit: Also, OP, don't ever think of things in terms of "this is for poor people". It's not a god mentality and is plain rude as hell even though I see where you're going. Can rub anyone the wrong way very very easily

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Dec 21, 2020 - 5:47pm

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