Governor slims down

November 16, 2009 8:01:21 AM PST
He's long been considered Pennsylvania's portly top politician, an image he's looking to shed. Now how the once larger than life Governor Ed Rendell is getting down to a smaller size.

The walls of Pennsylvania's executive mansion are lined with pictures, a touch of home inside the Governor's official state residence.

These days, though, the man living in the historic house does not like what he sees.

"It was embarrassing."

With a bruising budget battle now behind him, and no re-election effort ahead, Ed Rendell, the once 265 pound, 5 foot 11 inch governor is set on changing his image or perhaps more appropriately his profile.

The regimen, when possible, is at least 30 minutes a day on the treadmill having learned to put more time in at the gym, and:

"Put less in your mouth," he joked.

That's no easy task for a man with an ever changing schedule that favors cheese steaks and a history of bacon heavy breakfasts.

"I would have had 12 pieces of bacon."

He has a fully staffed kitchen.

"He enjoyed to eat. It made him happy. And, you know, whatever he wanted we made for him," said Sous chef Michael Yancey.

And he has an admitted soft spot for coffee ice cream.

"It's awesome."

These days he says no more.

"I haven't had anything sweet since the middle of June."

As you might imagine, life at the governor's residence is filled with temptations. Lots of people coming and going who could use a snack from time to time like cookies.

One entire fridge is just for visitors, so it's filled to the gills with unhealthy things like ice cream. A second fridge is just for the governor and contains diet soda, salads and other healthy things. And as it turns out, even the dog is on a diet.

Maggie is an unwilling partner in an effort inspired by the Governor's son.

"The biggest thing was when my son Jesse came to me and said 'Dad, remember how you used to love going to my games?' And he said 'don't you want to be around for your grandkids?' Well that's a bit of hyperbole because he just got married and they don't have any kids yet."

Hyperbole or not, it worked. The governor weighs in at 214 pounds these days well on his way to his goal of 200.

He may have less weight to throw around in Harrisburg's political circles, but it's his family circle that matters, loved ones, for whom he expects to, have more time, and energy.

"That's a lesson I'm, gonna keep the rest of my life. And you can keep that footage and if I go back, you can get that footage out and show it. But I don't expect to go back."


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