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Posted: July 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

Eating Well Under Pressure: Tips from Top Execs

No more excuses. If these guys found time to eat well and exercise, so can you.
Article By: Elise Nersesian
Tips from Top Execs
Maintaining a healthy weight, while performing in a high-level job and juggling a family life takes skill and effort. Stress can make exercise and nutrition the last things on your mind, which is why we grilled men in pressure-filled careers about how they stay fit.
Each gave us the secrets they’ve learned to make healthier living easier when the going gets rough.

Executive Summary

1. Nix restaurant beef.
“I’ve cut out red meat—but not for the typical reason. Steak comes with fattening side dishes like buttery mashed potatoes, green beans and dinner rolls. If I order chicken or fish, healthier fare like steamed vegetables or brown rice is served.”
—Tom Clark, 30, Vice President, Bain Capital, Boston, MA.

2. Give a little; take a little.
“I’m the beneficiary of a Mediterranean diet, courtesy of my Italian grandparents. Breakfast always has some fruit. Of the two remaining meals, one is always small. If I have a large lunch then dinner is small, and vice-versa. And, as a New Yorker, I walk everywhere. I’m sure that helps.”
—Name withheld, 43, Lieutenant, New York City Police Department, New York, NY

3. Power up with protein.
“I carry whey protein with me and add two scoops to my smoothies, especially while traveling, to satiate me in between meals. I also buy it in bulk so I have no excuse for running out or leaving for the airport without it.”
—Varouj Sahag, 57, CEO, Anald Corporation, Boston, MA.

4. Fake it.
“Alcohol is a diet roadblock. Despite the obvious caloric overload, once you’ve had a few drinks, it’s easy to mindlessly eat, even when you’re not hungry. To combat this, I order seltzer with lime. The carbonation fills me up, plus having a ‘drink’ in my hand deters people from asking if I need a refill.”
—Rich Suter, Practice Leader, Marsh Executive Benefits, Boston, MA.

5. Don’t fear fat.
“I don’t shy away from natural heart-healthy fats like those found in avocado, or olive-oil-based dressing.”
—Name withheld, 41, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, New York, NY.

6. Mix it up.
“Sticking solely to one type of exercise breeds boredom. I vary my routine with squash, basketball, tennis. Anything that evokes competition makes working out fun.”
—Daniel Ragen, 47, Managing Director, Del Mar Asset Management LP, New York, NY.

7. What you don’t know might hurt you.
“I always ask, ‘Can this food alone fill me up?’ If the answer is no, I don’t eat it. This pertains to what I call ‘unidentifiables.’ I’m talking about anything crunchy, oily and salty that’s not necessary to my meal: croutons, bacon bits or soup crackers.”
—Brett Allen, 31, CEO, MS Walker, Boston and Rhode Island.

8. Plan ahead.
“While traveling, make sure you stay at hotels with exercise facilities. These days most places have them, and you’ll get rid of excuses such as not knowing the neighborhood or bad weather.”
—Name withheld, Alliance Solutions Sales Executive, IBM, White Plains, NY

9. Don’t get juiced.
“I steer clear of juice-flavored soft drinks that lack the nutritional benefits of real juice.”
—Name withheld, 30, Vice President, McCain Erickson, New York, NY

10. Spice it up.
“I use lots of pepper instead of salt. It adds flavor to my food, and it doesn’t raise my blood pressure.”
—Gene Welka, 61, CEO,, Archbold, OH.

11. Be ruthless about downsizing.
“Most restaurants serve two meals-worth of food. I prefer to order half-sandwiches if possible, and if not, I remove the other half before I dig in so I know when to stop.”
—Brad Aikten, 30, Vice President, Legacy Partners Group, , New York, NY.

Bonus Tips
Schedule workouts as meetings.
Many effective execs give their exercise time as much significance as a business appointment. If you exercise during the workday, write in the workouts as “meetings” on your calendar, so everyone knows you’re tied up from 1 to 2 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Put pleasure on the agenda.
Always have a vacation or a road trip on your calendar, no matter how far ahead, and take ten minutes during the week to make a fun plan for the weekend. Studies have found that anticipating something good reduces stress hormones—and universal experience has shown that it makes a hell week more bearable.


About the Writer
Elise Nersesian has written for Cosmopolitan, Fitness, Maxim, Redbook and Stuff


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