Open Thread: On Drinking Too Much, Jobs That Encourage Drinking, and Drinking Because of Job-Related Stress

women lawyers and drinkingDrinking and drug use can be a problem for anyone, but there have been a number of stories lately about how it’s particularly a problem for lawyers. (We’ve also talked in the past about how there are many high-achieving women who drink too much, too, and there was a great Medium post by Kristi Coulter last summer that explored the idea that “to be a modern, urbane women is to be a serious drinker.”) I asked Rebecca Berfanger to take a look into drinking advice for women lawyers and other professionals — what are the best tips out there for cutting back on your drinking? How can you navigate a culture of drinking — without getting sucked in? Readers: for those of you who have successfully moderated your drinking or stopped drinking entirely — what are your best tips? (For those of you who care to share — have you ever had a drug problem? What resources or tips do you recommend to other women in your situation?) For those of you who manage lifestyle and job-related stress in ways OTHER than drinking, what do you do instead to relax, take the edge off or “turn off work mode“? (Welcome back to Corporette®, Rebecca!) – Kat

Following a 2016 study by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, the ABA reported that “21 percent of licensed, employed lawyers qualify as problem drinkers, 28 percent struggle with some level of depression and 19 percent demonstrate symptoms of anxiety.” The study also found that “younger attorneys in the first 10 years of practice exhibit the highest incidence of these problems.”

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Plants, Points, Portions, and More: A Diet Open Thread

corporette diet open threadI’ve seen a lot of commenter threads about different diets lately, and I’ve been looking into them myself, so I thought I’d start a diet open thread to collect everyone’s thoughts in one place. At the outset, I just want to remind everyone this isn’t necessarily about weight loss — some people try different diets as a way to eat healthier or break bad habits. If you aren’t interested in changing your diet, or if this talk is triggering to you, please skip this thread. In case it needs to be said: this thread is not about looking “perfect.” Bodies come in all shapes and sizes; please strive to love yours no matter what size.

But, for those of you who WOULD care to discuss it, let’s hear it, ladies: Have you tried to change your diet lately? What diets did you consider, what did you end up doing, what good habits have managed to stick with you? What’s your bottom line in gauging success of a new diet (like seeing the scale move, losing weight, getting rid of a food-sensitivity symptom like bloating or fatigue)? What role do expense, convenience, and rigidity play — as a busy working woman do you dismiss out-of-hand a diet that requires you to prepare everything at home or allows no wiggle room?

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Women, Drinking, and Overachieving

women-drinking Ladies: how do you feel about drinking? Do you think overachieving women tend to drink more? We haven’t talked about this for a while, but it’s been on my mind with various news articles I’ve seen, and with the holidays coming up I thought we’d discuss. (I don’t want to totally rehash my thoughts from our 2010 discussion on this, but I still agree with all of them…)

First, the articles and propositions I’ve been thinking about:

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The Best Clothes If Your Weight Fluctuates

weight fluctuation clothes2017 Update: We still stand by this advice for the best weight fluctuation clothes, but you may also want to check out our more recent discussion of how to shop for clothes while losing weight.

What wardrobe items should you invest in if you’re losing (or gaining) weight?  What clothes will fit even if you regularly fluctuate by 10-20 lbs?  Reader K is seeking weight fluctuation clothes:

I have a story idea; the work wardrobe for the weight fluctuator. Me and many of my friends bounce around by 10-20 lbs. It is expensive to buy everything in two sizes. I thought it would be helpful to do a post on the type and style of clothing to invest in if you want to have an office wardrobe that works when you’re up or down.

For instance; I have a lot of wrap dresses as they are forgiving and flatter across a 15 lbs spectrum. Sheer blouses can be belted in at any weight. I own a lot of dresses as they can be belted in if I’m training for a half marathon or without a belt they’re more forgiving after Christmas party season. I steer clear of non-stretch, and very fitted fabrics as they tend to look bad when too tight or too loose. I make sure to buy work pants with belt loops so that they’re not falling down after an ugly breakup has left me without an appetite. A longer camisole with a blazer over it can hide if I can’t do up the top button on my pants. Fitted work shirts can be paired with a camisole if the buttons won’t close over an increased chest.

This is a fantastic question, and I’m so curious to see what readers will say — we’ve talked about when to give in and buy a larger size, as well as how to keep a working wardrobe while losing weight — but we haven’t talked about this.  When I was younger I regularly fluctuated 10-20 lbs, generally in the same clothes — but when I was at my thinnest, I found that even a few pounds made my pants fit differently, so I knew pretty quickly when I was gaining.  Now that I’m heavier, of course I’ve said that I don’t want to invest the money in a good wardrobe because I’ll inevitably lose the weight (right? right!?) — but I’ve found that there are a few items that I can buy now that, for whatever reason, I can imagine being great even if I lose 10-20 pounds. So here’s my list:

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Office Stress v. Your Diet

Are you guilty of stress eating at the office (or failing to eat because you’re so stressed out)?  Today’s guest poster, Ruth More, tackles the issue.  You can also read her other guest post on Corporette, on downsizing your budget after you cast off your golden handcuffs. – Kat

When I was a young associate, I was continually in a state of fear or trauma. As a result, I didn’t really have the time or desire to make sure that I was eating healthily. To make matters worse, I still had a student mentality about saving money. I pretty much ended up subsisting on the little cups of cream that I would put in the free tea my office offered (I drank a lot of tea). Over the years, I have seen many female associates who have difficult workloads put eating on the back burner. They start to have that sort of adrenaline rush that starved people have, the beady eyes, the cold aggressive handshake. [Read more…]

The Business Lunch, Gluten-Free

gluten-free corporateIf you have special eating needs, how do you navigate the business lunch, as well as other noshing and networking events? What are the best tips and practices for enjoying a gluten-free business lunch? Today’s guest poster, Valerie from City|Life|Eats, tackles this very issue. Valerie is an old friend to Corporette, having posted here before about makeup and a favorite shirt. Enjoy! – Kat

It can be difficult to manage dietary restrictions with the demands on being a professional woman.  Learning that certain foods are off-limits, whether because of Celiac disease, other autoimmune conditions, food allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, means a lifestyle change that takes adjustment.  When I learned I could not eat gluten, dairy, eggs and a host of other foods, I was concerned about how to manage these new restrictions, particularly with regards to my professional life.   As an associate at a law firm in Washington, DC, I was acutely aware that business entertaining was only going to be a larger part of my life moving forward, as would business travel and conferences.  It has been a couple of years now, and along the way it has gotten a lot easier. I do not hide the requirements of my restrictions, but manage them in such a way that the way I eat does not become a focal point of interacting with me either.   [Read more…]

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