This nation's collective weight problem probably has plenty to do with its collective workweek. It's increasingly common for Americans to work as much as a 70-hour week, and work fatigue is correlated to weight gain, according to a 2005 study by the University of Helsinki Department of Public Health.
Our loyalty is more often to our work than to our health—and to give equal energy to both might actually run us mad. It's really just our luck that fast-food restaurants are quick and easy to find en route to the next appointment (I found this to be especially true when I lived in suburban Chicago). And when we're working so hard to provide value to our companies and keep moving forward in our careers, aren't we entitled to some small richness at lunch and/or a relief-soaked splurge in the evenings?
But here's some hope. Take a look at a very busy guy who finds a way to give time and attention to both his waistline and his work. New York restaurateur Danny Meyer runs Union Square Hospitality Group, which includes city favorite Gramercy Tavern. He's also author of Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business. Take a look at a week's worth of Meyer's meals from New York magazine. Here's a sample:
Tuesday, April 1 I had another protein-and-banana shake. Lunch was healthy and light: fresh turkey and avocado and lettuce on a baguette from Barocco.
I had twenty minutes to have dinner before Anthony and Cleopatra so I looked along 42nd Street and rejected almost every single place I saw. I went to Yoshinoya and had the chicken pot with grilled chicken, broccoli, and rice. I think I made the best choice of the five on the block. Then I came home after and had a big bowl of leftover, cold broccoli. I think I was still trying to flush my system from the day before.
Yes, Meyer is successful, well-off, and makes his living in the gourmet food business. But he eats sandwiches, and he balances indulgences with some reasonable restrictions. And his weight has hardly budged since high school.