Consultants eat well; don’t get fat

By | November 1, 2015

Consultants eat well. No question about it. Consultants are foodies. We treat good restaurants like wild game. Find them. Eat there. Of course we cannot, do not go to $$$$ restaurants on our client’s dime, but we do eat at $$ restaurants and expense it.

Rarely do you miss a meal when traveling. Breakfast at the airport/hotel, lunch at the client site, dinner with team or at the hotel. Too often, life revolves around meetings and meals. The client pays for meals – per diem or actuals; there is an incentive to eat.

Concierge lounge. Consultants with platinum hotel status – most do – have access to the lounge. Full breakfast available – eggs, bacon, yogurt, bagels. If you want a 1,000 calorie breakfast every day. This the same place where there is finger foods and cookies at night. Usually, it’s not fancy – but if you want to get on the freeway to fat, this is the place where it usually starts in the morning, and ends at night.

Snacks in the team room. If you are with a team of any size, there is a box/closet/drawer full of snacks, gum, nuts, chocolate, coffee k-cups. As managers, I know that keeping consultants well-fed, and focused is a key part of our job.

Team dinners. These are usually the highlights of the day. If you want to be a part of the team, influence the culture, and develop life-long relationships, go to the dinners. Don’t let it get in the way of your deliverables, but don’t be a recluse. Some teams eat together nightly (exhausting), while others choose 1 night a week share meals. In the end, the meal is free (paid for by the client); the food is good, and usually the company.

Good food. Some of the better meals from the last few months would include:

  • Bluepoint oysters and local craft beer
  • Rosemary lamb chops
  • Steak Frites (ribeye)
  • Black linguine with lobster
  • Hamachi kama (collar of yellowtail fish)

Fast food. Every night is not fancy – we have our share of Jimmy John’s and Chipotle. Lots of client cafeteria meals. Lots of meals eaten while typing on the computer. Yes, those are pizza stains on the keyboard. Airport meals. Meals in the car.

Learn about the food. It’s nothing short of amazing to watch how food-cultured a consultant gets after a few years on the road. They won’t know gazpacho from tapas, or rainbow rolls from bibimbap when they start. Eventually, they will be the ones recommending appetizers for the table. For the true food geeks, America’s Test Kitchen is my foodie-podcast of choice here.  A few places I ate at over the last 2 months:

Yankee Lobster Fish Market. Boston. The lobster roll of course.

Din Tai Fung. Seattle. Watching them roll the dumplings up front makes it worth it.  Mings BBQAtlanta.  Great duck and pork.  Saw a Top Chef there.

Ippudo. Manhattan.  Ramen heaven. Could 7,500 Yelp reviewers be wrong?

Warning. Don’t get fat. This is a warning to myself. Eating 3 square meals a day, M-TH, including glasses of wine, beer. Late nights. Flights. Sitting at a computer. Dude. As I told a colleague last week, “I am on the road to fat.” Blood pressure is still way too high. Looks like this lover of rib-eye, cabernet wine, and steak-frites is going to start chilling out. Looks like I will have to stop making fun of vegetarians and teetotalers.

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9 thoughts on “Consultants eat well; don’t get fat

  1. dgerke007

    Yes, an occupational hazard. Over a quarter century as a consulting engineer I added many pounds. Admit I enjoyed putting them on.

    Then three years ago the blood got high enough the doctor wanted to put me on pills. Instead, being a good consultant I researched the issue. Too many calories, and too many carbs.

    Invented the SEC diet (Stop Eating Crap), dropped 40#, and kept if off. Now working on the next 60 pounds so I can join the 100# club. Although I sometimes miss the “good old days” I feel much better with more energy. As a consultant, watch your diet and watch your health. Best wishes. .

  2. JM

    That’s why I love calorie logging apps like “myfitnesspal”. If it gets measured, it gets managed.

  3. Tomm

    A very important subject, actually they should raise during the onboarding sessions (no kidding).
    The worst case scenario? Your client is in the middle of nowhere, you’re in the only decent-ish hotel around, and their restaurant haven’t heard about all those stupid ‘green’, ‘fit’ or ‘healthy’ trends. External choices are limited to McD and KFC, which you visit from time to time to introduce some variety into your life. Fast forward a couple months, you look at the mirror and wonder ‘who is this fat #$% in front of me?’.

    1. Carlos Nunez

      Those are actually great options if you’re calorie counting. If you care about eating lavish, then sure, those options suck. If you care about calorie counting, you can’t get better. Just about every major chain out there has nutritional content on everything they serve. It’s great.

      I eat Chick-Fil-A and Chipotle every day while I’m at the client and lost weight. It works.

  4. Carlos Nunez

    I don’t recommend Ippudo if there’s a wait. I went there well before I started consulting. The ramen is good and so are the pork buns, but go during their down time, like on a Monday or Tuesday night.

    The key to not getting fat when everything is free? Counting calories and working out. If you do both of those things and know your TDEE in advance, you won’t get fat. You might even lose weight.

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