It is not ok to be fat when you work in finance or a professional services firm. As an academic study in 2016 confirmed: these are industries where you are judged on your appearance. If you're thin and athletic and participate in long distance bike rides, you will be judged positively. If you're fat and sedentary, you will not.
The problem clearly is that losing weight isn't easy in an industry where it's common to spend between 70 and 80 hours each week at your desk. And yet, this is the time of year when most people in banking are at least trying to do just that.
We spoke to a selection of people across markets and investment banking divisions about their methods for shedding post-holiday kilos. Their advice was as varied as the human physique. We can't vouch for the success of any of the methods below, but if you try them you can at least rest assured that someone else somewhere else in finance is trying the same thing.
Banking is a competitive industry and it's therefore inevitable that weight loss in banking will have a competitive element, particularly on the trading floor. "My desk has a weight loss competition over six weeks in January," says one trader in London. "The winner is the person who loses the most weight. The loser has to buy everyone lunch."
Banking is also party to people with strange eating habits. Not long ago, Goldman Sachs bankers had a thing for egg white omelets. Now there are bankers who only eat certain foods. "There's a guy here who only eats yoghurt," says one trader. "A yoghurt a day. That's all."
Juicing is also a thing, although it's now a bit 2013 and a little bit bankers in L.A. "There's a guy here who survives on making his own fruit and vegetable juice everyday," says the trader. A researcher says her office is on a "three day juice cleanse."
The other hot diet of the moment is the so-called "bulletproof diet" which involves categorising foods into different groups and drinking so-called "bulletproof coffee" with ghee. "Everyone has been putting butter in their coffee and eating high fat diets," says one researcher.
One salesman at a U.S. bank in London says British bankers have the most tedious diets: "Brits only eat chicken with salad," he complains. "Every day. The stingiest ones bring in chicken with salad from home."
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