Two breakfasts, a fundraising lunch, two receptions and a dinner are all in a typical days work for most K Streeters, so its not surprising that many wake up with expanding waistlines.
Thats where Janet Zalman, founder of the Zalman Nutrition Group, comes in.
The Dr. Oz of K Street, Zalman is the lobbyists health guru. She is a licensed nutritionist not a doctor and she appears to be a lobbyists answer to the occupational hazard of overeating.
She has amassed a huge following downtown, helping advise the citys power brokers such as Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group, Jeff Forbes of Cauthen, Forbes & Williams, Kelly Bingel of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti and Sandi Stuart of Clark & Weinstock on the ins and outs of surviving the cocktail circuit without having to go up a pant size.
A petite, no-nonsense redhead, Zalman wont confirm who her clients are. My lips are sealed, she said, but she does acknowledge that in the past 10 years, K Street has become a much bigger part of her practice.
Lobbyists say Zalmans direct approach appeals to them.
Stuart, who has gone to Zalman off and on for years, raves about her.
She understands our lifestyle, Stuart said. She gives practical advice. Instead of a forced diet, she figures out what works for you.
Mehlman Vogels Bingel also swears by Zalmans advice.
Youve heard of the horse whisperer? Well, Janet Zalman is the lobbyist whisperer, Bingel said. Shes in my head at every social function saying, Why would you eat that? Do you know how much sugar is in that?
Sugar is a key to Zalmans food philosophy. After being in practice for almost 25 years, she said reducing sugar intake is one of the keys to successfully managing her clients weights. She advises them to avoid foods high in sugar, with two exceptions: milk and fresh fruit.
Sugar isnt the only problem that lobbyists are facing.
Large restaurant portions and more complex flavors combined with the downtown life where nobody cooks is a recipe for weight gain, according to Zalman.
In that life its about making smarter choices, Zalman said. How do I survive the day when I have two breakfast meetings, one lunch, two receptions and a dinner? How do I, at best, not gain two pounds?
In addition to cutting back on sugars, Zalman has clients write in a detailed food diary so that she can see when and how people are eating and what trigger foods spur their uncontrollable eating.
She also advises clients to cut out what she calls double starches at meals. So, instead of having a baked potato and bread at a dinner, Zalman advises lobbyists to eat a single starch per setting.
Sen Mary Landrieu, D-La., poses for a selfie with LSU football fans as she campaigns at tailgate parties on the Louisiana State University campus before the LSU-Mississippi State game on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Buy photo here.