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After a string of food-intensive holidays, is it any wonder that Americans’ top resolutions come January 1 are to lose weight and get in shape? We decided to see just what GCs in the diet and fitness industries thought of resolutions, both for themselves and for the people who flood into their businesses to shed those holiday pounds. Do these attorneys make resolutions themselves? More importantly, do they keep them? Or is the new year just another page on the calendar? Not surprisingly, regardless of their personal feelings about resolutions, all the in-housers emphatically said that that yes, Americans should resolve to shape up in the new year. And lawyers need to get out of the office more. Robert Hollweg, Vice president and general counsel, Weight Watchers International, Inc. The Woodbury, New York�based company began 40 years ago with a group of housewives meeting in a living room in Queens. Weight Watchers went public in 2001, and its weekly meeting approach has put it at the top of the dieting field, with over 1 million members in 30 countries. The company’s frozen food line, magazine, and recipe books target nonmembers too. Hollweg oversees three other in-house attorneys. Do you make resolutions for New Year’s? Of course, everybody does. [This year] I resolve to take more time off and have a longer vacation. My wife would like [me] to resolve to spend more time at home. Do you keep your resolutions? Well, I have been married for 33 years! [Laughs.] How do you normally spend New Year’s Eve? We try to get the family together at that time. We have dinner at home, and my four sons are invited. We usually watch the ball drop. What should lawyers resolve for the new year? The average American needs to get more active, particularly lawyers. It’s important for lawyers to project the right image, whether they’re on the corporate side or in a firm. It’s a stressful life that leads to all sorts of health problems, so I would encourage lawyers to be involved in some sort of nutrition or exercise program.
Anthony Bakos, Executive vice president and general counsel, 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc. Marking its twentieth anniversary this month, the Pleasanton, California�based company has expanded to almost 450 clubs located primarily in the western United States, as well as Asia and Europe. Ninety-five percent of the gyms are indeed open all night. Bakos runs a five-lawyer department. Do you make resolutions for New Year’s? I make them, but I usually don’t share them, so if I don’t keep them, no one knows. Who works out in the middle of the night? We have a lot of lawyer members because of being open 24 hours. No matter how late you get out of work, [we're] open. How do you normally spend New Year’s Eve? It’s pretty low-key for me. I spend time with my family, my wife and children [ages 2 and 5]. Fifteen or 20 years ago, I’d more likely be out in a club or restaurant, but now I’m more likely to be home. What does the new year mean for you? It’s a fresh start. A lot of people take that as an opportunity to look back on the last year. In our industry, [fitness] is pretty high on everyone’s wish list. [January is] our busiest month: 12�13 percent of our sales [happen then]. What should lawyers resolve for the new year? Take more personal time. As a group, lawyers spend way too much time behind their desks and not enough time taking care of themselves. It’s the sort of profession that can become all-consuming.
Lewis Shender, Vice president and general counsel, Jenny Craig, Inc. The company, founded in Australia 20 years ago, is now based in Carlsbad, California, and has quickly moved up to the number two spot in the diet industry. Jenny Craig provides one-on-one consultations to its members, markets a line of frozen foods, and offers online recipes and dieting tips. Shender is the company’s sole in-house attorney. Do you make resolutions for New Year’s? I’m not a big resolution person. To me, there’s no significant difference between December 31 and January 1. [But] when I was a kid, I made resolutions. Why do people make resolutions? Everybody’s an individual. New Year’s resolutions can be very useful for some people, but it’s important that the resolutions are realistic and achievable. The more specific you can be, the more successful you’ll be. A lot of people make resolutions. That’s why [we're busy in] January. December is a down month [for us]. People believe they can’t diet then. How do you normally spend New Year’s Eve? I often spend a quiet evening with friends. In California [we watch the ball drop in Times Square] pretty early, so I’m generally still up. What should lawyers resolve for the new year? To spend more time with family and close friends. And getting fit.

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