I'm Fat

Does being overweight have any career consequences? I struggle with weight gain because I use food to cope with stress and depression. It kills my confidence and I feel no one respects me because I'm fat. Is this all in my head or is it expected for men to be moderately fit in the business world?

Comments (61)

Mar 16, 2020

Of course it has career consequences. You said it yourself, it kills your confidence. And whether we like it or not, appearance matters in the world of finance.

Don't think it would have much of an impact if you just didn't give a shit and carried yourself confidently. But it does affect you so there's your answer.

    • 3
Most Helpful
Mar 16, 2020

Yes it does.

People probably won't admit it but there is always an inherent bias towards overweight people. The flip can be said about attractive people... things tend to come easier in life to them. (It's not a cakewalk but you're naturally more prone to want to work with / spend time around relatively attractive people).

In addition to that being overweight shows a lack of control / self discipline. I know there's people with actual health issues that cause them to be fat but in general people that work in finance need to be able to cope with long hours / tired nights / etc. It's fair to use fitness as a screening tool to see if someone has discipline. I'm not saying you need to be absolutely shredded, but slimming down and wearing well fitted clothes will go a long way.

    • 13
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Mar 19, 2020

that is absolutely ridiculous. I am overweight and I work the longest hours on my team. everyone says I have the most stamina. I eat well and I take care ofmyself. i think it is unfair to be judged like that. everyone has addictions that we dont know about

    • 1
    • 4
Mar 19, 2020

You're the exception, not the rule.

    • 2
    • 1
Mar 29, 2020

It's hilarious that deadbeat liberals are still using anecdotal fallacies in 2020

    • 1
  • Developer in RE - Res
Mar 25, 2020

In addition to that being overweight shows a lack of control / self discipline.

A lot of people think this is true, which means it's legitimate to be concerned about being fat from an image/career advancement POV. In reality, I think it's mostly bullshit. I see no evidence that a lack of self control with eating translates to a lack of self control in other areas (alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, diligence at work, etc.) These things are mostly independent and uncorrelated with each other.

    • 1
Mar 25, 2020

Lack of self control shows lack of self control period

    • 1
    • 1
Mar 29, 2020

A lack of self control in eating is still a lack of self control. Plus it shows you have no discipline when it comes to taking care of your body through diet and exercise.

    • 2
Mar 16, 2020

Yes. Get fit and be the best you can be

    • 1
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Mar 16, 2020

I work with an overweight guy and remember being kind of put off at first. But I quickly realized he's actually the man.

Working out and being healthy is important, but it's not the end of the world. Still try to be the healthiest you can be, but don't beat yourself up over it

    • 1
Mar 16, 2020

Just intermittent fast. It will change your life and its not really that hard, you just have to be respective of at least 16:8 and you don't have to do it every day.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 1
Mar 16, 2020

I'll try it, thank you

    • 2
Funniest
Mar 17, 2020

This picture got the numbers and images wrong. The 8 hours should be the smaller side.

    • 10
Mar 17, 2020

hahaha yeah

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 1
Mar 17, 2020

Just have to get that the missing 12 hours are all fasting

Mar 17, 2020

Dumb q... can you drink during the fasting period?

Mar 17, 2020

Drinking as much water as you can is recommended. Coffee is fine if creamer is under 50 calories. Green tea is good too and La Croix can be nice.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 1
Mar 16, 2020

more sad to hear about the depression part than the fat part. hopefully getting in better shape, if you plan to, helps with your mental health. +1 for intermittent fasting. good luck.

    • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Mar 17, 2020

I went through FT recruiting (I'd say worse than hell) and recently signed on Jan 30. I went from 235 to 260 due to the stress and being embarrassed about no return offer. On Feb 11 signed up at a close gym and I'm down to 248 (Im pretty tall). it's never to late and I fell 10x than before and I'm hoping to get down to 210 before I start in July!

    • 6
Mar 17, 2020

Way to go!

    • 1
  • Incoming Analyst in PE - LBOs
Mar 18, 2020

comment

    • 1
Mar 17, 2020
  1. Lose weight
  2. In the meantime, make sure everything else about your appearance is on point. Buy clothes that fit or get them tailored. Buy nice shoes. Make sure you're properly groomed - no $5 Supercuts hair and no neckbeard. Make sure your skin and teeth are shining. You need to focus far more on your appearance than a fit person would.
    • 2
Mar 17, 2020

Considering what's going on with gym access and WFH, I'd look into spending a half hour a day just doing body weight exercises and a half hour (or more if you can handle it) going for a walk at a brisk pace. As someone who's struggled with weight, it's a combination of diet and exercise that helps. Start slow and work your way up. Resources like Reddit (/r/bodyweightfitness/ comes to mind), Bodybuilding.com and TNation.com are invaluable for helping you get set up with a beginner routine and for moving onto the next phases of your growth and fitness. It takes time, but if you want to make a change, you have to want to do it and commit to doing it. Exercise is the easy part, the diet is the hard part. That requires actively wanting to improve how you eat and being concious of calories in and calories out. Tracking apps like Cronometer are fantastic resources to help track things. It's definitely doable. You'll feel better, sleep, better, look better, and will be in better spirits.

Mar 17, 2020

Many people cope with depression and stress by going to the gym. One upside is that you don't feel bad about yourself for being fat. The second upside is that fitness increases your attractiveness hence boosts your confidence.

There is also quite a bit of research showing physical activity helps with mental health. You see how every piece goes together?

It's all in your head that ''it is expected'' in the business world. People do it because it makes their life easier and better. It's not an imposition by anyone else. It just works.

Mar 17, 2020

Have been running (mostly) and going to the gym to help with stress for years. If it can work for you, it's a great way to both stay in shape and get things out of your system. My personal thing is to run for 30min-1h without music; it becomes kind of a meditation.

  • Investment Manager in AM - Equities
Mar 17, 2020

Seannal.com this guy gives great, simple, no bs advice that is easy to follow. Great YouTube channel. This would be a great start to begin reading.

Mar 17, 2020
  • PM in HF - Macro
Mar 17, 2020

Being brutally honest:
It shows lack of self discipline in a job where self discipline matters prob more than many other skillsets. Esp in sales and trading businesses you cannot let your emotions take over, even tho a lot of people does not control that very well as we are all human. If you are already very stressed/depressed should the team/companies give you more responsibilities? Give you more capital? Does that send the right message? Stress management is essential part of the job when you don't know if your seat exits in the next week/month/year. Unless you can get every management onboard that you have legitimate genetic disorder and subtly talk about it in the light of overcoming challenges, unfortunately (this should really change) this industry does not fully understand the challenges of mental health issues.
In contrast, we are surrounded by uber competitive people around us who are running ultra marathons for the lol. Biking to work and beating PB records every other day. Climbing Everest base camps just for the fun. It is very hard to get sympathy.

Then you can turn around and ask yourself, are these people really the people you want to work with? Sometimes (more often now than ever before) I ask myself this question too many times. It is what you think your sucess and career down this track is worth. So it's up to you in the end.

    • 3
Mar 17, 2020

It does matter. Used to be a fat fuck and now I'm not. Difference has been night and day

Mar 17, 2020

what you should do is make friends with people who live a healthy lifestyle, the people around influence you a lot. when you see your friends going to the gym you'll be more inclined to join them. losing weight is a journey it takes time so don't bet yourself up if you're in the gym for a month and don't see any results.

Mar 17, 2020

get a standing desk if possible

Mar 17, 2020

Ironically, I just went for a walk with the president of the company so we could have some privacy to discuss some HR issues and making some potential replacements. He said to me verbatim: "Great Ape Jake, if there's one management tip you learn from me, fat people are lazy." This was in reference to the fat, lazy guy we are considering replacing.

The unfortunate truth is, consciously or unconsciously, there are a lot of negative connotations associated with overweight people. Now, being a little chubby from burning the candle at both ends is pretty easy to distinguish so, I wouldn't sweat a couple of extra inches but, being habitually, grossly overweight definitely changes the way you're perceived.

Mar 17, 2020

FYI OP, I mean no offense and I'm not saying you should be ashamed. I just thought you deserve an unvarnished answer. If you wanna live the good life and carry some extra weight, power to you. It just adds a little more challenge. Shit, Kublai Kahn, Henry VIII and President Taft were all big boys and they were boss, literally.

Mar 17, 2020

Subconsciously people make hundreds of judgments, be they right or wrong. I've worked in finance for 8 years and more often than not the bigger guys have been successful and chummy, and everyone wants to be around those people. Also, something that struck when I read Liar's Poker (a classic in financial literature) was the old guard who were making mountains of cash were doing it while eating fast food all the time, and it showed proudly all over them. What matters is that you are who you feel best being. Given the stress of banking, however, you should probably get your heart in the best shape it can be.

Mar 17, 2020

Thanks for the hint. I've read it and the only fat slobby guy mentioned was Lewis Ranieri, the guy who figured out how to securitize mortgages. There's always exceptions but, most high achievers in business and finance are also pretty healthy, at least in their appearance.

Mar 19, 2020

I agree with you that there are exceptions. I assume that besides the fact that people generally find healthier people more attractive and therefore assume they are more successful, bankers should want to be healthy and fit because of the strenuous lifestyle. You'll get enough heart palpitations and stress attacks without your arteries clogged with cholesterol.

(and btw, most of senior trading desk in Liar's Poker we the big dudes.)

Mar 17, 2020

Hey Luke,

Sorry to hear that you're depressed/stressed. It's easy to try to find a way to cope with anxiety - you use food, and others use drugs, sex, alcohol, money, etc. The list goes on and on.

Yes, being overweight has career consequences - because it shortens your life expectancy, which will shorten your career. I strongly encourage you to find healthier outlets to cope with stress and depression:

  • Meditation
  • Fitness/Martial Arts
  • Comedy
  • Spending quality time with friends and family
  • Passions (Music, Stand-Up, Museums, etc.)

The food you put into your body is either fuel or poison. Life is way too short to take anything for granted, so I highly recommend making healthier decisions when it comes to your body. When you begin to make physical progress, you'll also find that you'll gain mental progress (self-esteem, confidence, a degree of happiness). While posters above have made some good recommendations for starting points, feel free to PM me if you have any questions/need some initial guidance.

    • 2
Mar 17, 2020

I appreciate you taking the time to write this. Thank you.

    • 2
Mar 17, 2020

Anytime. Start today.

Mar 18, 2020

I am fat too, but now I have a lot more time to start to train myself, even if I am home, I think I will start Yoga

Mar 18, 2020

small incremental positive changes every day

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 1
Mar 18, 2020

I think you need to get a sheet of paper in your room one night and write out why you want to get in shape to hold this as motivation to your workouts and in your workouts.

Maybe its for your career aspirations, or to pick up hot chicks, or be mentally and physically healthy. You could write someone's name on the list or motivating phrases. But, take a minute to have a motivational brainstorm to then put steps in place to action.

All you really need to worry about is the next step. Everything will fall into place. Just focus now on what you can do next. Maybe you can plank or do pushups before you sleep tonight. Then could reason if you wanted to continue the next morning. But, always honor the commitments you make to yourself. If you decide to do something - do it. Embrace the journey and have fun!

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 2
Mar 19, 2020

I don't think being fat is an issue, but feeling fat and unconfident will have an impact. I would read some NLP books and reframe your internal dialogue. Or read Miricle morning by Hal Elrod. It's a simple concept of a morning routine to shape your day. Give it a try, if you are open it may change your life.

Mar 19, 2020

@Alt-Ctr-Left"

    • 1
Mar 19, 2020

You are what you eat!!!! I can't stress enough how important proper nutrition is. You're asking about the career consequences, think about the health consequences! I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the foods you use to cope are probably not whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats?

Yes, it's easier said than done, especially when working long hours and feeling a lot of stress. It's obviously optimal to form these lifestyle habits as early as possible. If you start eating healthier foods, you will not only feel better (thus more confidence), but it will also positively impact your brain health. (It's also not an overnight thing - lifestyle changes take a while to implement!) People who've aged "gracefully" often credit it to their diet, particularly a lack of highly processed foods. Also, there is a lot of research about how a proper diet can actually help prevent (or at least slow down) the onset of dementia. I can't stress how important your diet is to your overall being! One of the first suggestions off the top of my head is to make sure that you're getting enough fiber - most Americans do not which is a shame because fiber has numerous health benefits! (I think the rec is 35g/day for men.. sorry if I assumed your gender) Fiber will help you feel more satiated, as well as stabilize your blood sugar levels and sequester cholesterol.

Also, when it comes to stress relief and confidence building, I think this is where exercise can come into play. I don't always look forward to running or going to the gym, but I push myself to do it and feel super glad after the fact!

Many of these things are lifestyle changes and not quick fixes. I know that everything I've stated is much easier said than done. It can also be confusing because there's soooo much conflicting information on the internet (don't fall for these fake fad diets if you're trying to lose weight!!). I really like the MIND diet as a framework!

Mar 20, 2020

Take action: exercise regularly and make better choices with foods

    • 1
  • Analyst 1 in Other
Mar 21, 2020

In poor/emerging countries being fat can be intrepreted as a sign of being rich...the chicks will be all over you and ppl will look up to you....move to a 3rd world country.

  • Associate 3 in RE - Comm
Mar 21, 2020

from a professional perspective, what it boils down to is whether you're off the charts brilliant such that it's 100% apparent you'll be a rainmaker for the firm. for ex, i can think of a slew of HF managers / PE guys / real estate guys that aren't even fat, they're obese. but they know their shit and give off the vibe that they're too busy making money / doing deals to go to the gym

if you're not that capable, you're SOL and should get your urges under control

  • Developer in RE - Res
Mar 24, 2020

It's funny how many people have strong opinions about body weight with no apparent knowledge of the data. And there is a ton of data.

People who actually study obesity quantitatively know that genes are by far the most important determinant of body fatness. This has been shown over and over again by twin and adoption studies, the classical gold standard for identifying the effects of genes on various traits. By the time they reach adulthood, the body fatness of adoptees has no correlation with that of their adoptive parents who raised them, but it does have a strong correlation with the fatness of their biological parents, whom they've never even met in many cases.

Today, in the post Human Genome Project era, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are identifying the specific alleles associated with body fatness. This will take a while, since body fatness is a polygenic trait determined by many SNP, most of which have small effect sizes. So identifying them with regression analysis requires huge data sets. As the cost of genome sequencing drops, these data sets are growing and a larger fraction of the alleles driving body fat variation are being identified.

Many studies find that body fatness is nearly as heritable as height. That's counterintuitive, because anyone can lose or gain 25 pounds but people can't modify their height that way. The key is to look at the long term average. Virtually all dieting fails in the medium to long term. There's a huge amount of empirical evidence showing this.

  • Associate 3 in RE - Comm
Mar 24, 2020
Comment
  • Developer in RE - Res
Mar 25, 2020