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Senator uses Twitter to shed 50 pounds
October 17th, 2011
02:01 PM ET

Senator uses Twitter to shed 50 pounds

In May, Sen. Claire McCaskill tweeted that she needed a change.

“I'm tired of looking and feeling fat. Maybe talking about it publicly will keep me on track as I try to be more disciplined.  Off to the gym.”

Her tweet was picked up by the blog Jezebel, which wrote that, “women, no matter what their role in public life, face a greater social penalty for being ‘fat.’”

The Missouri Democrat tweeted later that day:  “I just want to feel better, be in better shape. Healthier as I approach my late (gulp) 50s.”

Her plan included healthy foods every three hours, cardio and Twitter.

“Of course there is the diet and exercise component,” said her trainer, Charles D’Angelo.  “What every program is missing is what holds it all together. It’s like a stool - one being exercise, the other being diet.  It’s missing the third leg to keep the stool balanced.  You have to hold yourself accountable. Claire used social media to keep herself publicly accountable.”

So she told her 59,000 Twitter followers that she was struggling with her weight and planned to do something about it.

“That was totally Claire’s idea,” said D’Angelo.  “Accountability is part of the mindset.  You have to have something keep your accountable.”

Five months after her first Tweet about her weight, McCaskill tweeted: “GOOAALLLLLLLL!! I did it! Lost 50 lbs. Thank you Team Charles and my new BFF... Mr Treadmill. Healthy food and lots of exercise.”

The fact that a U.S. senator with a hectic schedule can find time to exercise, “blows the whole myth” that people are too busy to exercise “to pieces,” D’Angelo said.

“We all have the same number of hours in the day. What I decide to do with those will bring about a result and consequence.  That consequence can be a  positive or negative consequence,” he said.

Aside from her usual tweets about congressional committees, town hall meetings, Joplin, and the Cardinals, McCaskill occasionally posted updates about her fitness goal.

– This will be a test. Can I be disciplined about healthy food choices in midst of family chaos? Typically food takes center stage. May 21st

– Re: State Fair visit.  Since I've been on this health kick I guess a funnel cake is out of the question? Aug 11th

– It's official. I have divorced bread and pasta. I'm hoping someday we can be friends again. Sep 9

Using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to get feedback is a free tool to get encouragement and comments.

“Those two things, for free, you create an accountability group,” D’Angelo said.  “It’s a wonderful tool to bring about unity.  The comments, it only fuels the fire to keep with  it.  It’s a wonderful tool to keep with a mindset.”

There is no gee-whiz factor or magic potion in what McCaskill’s trainer recommended.

He tells clients to exercise five times a week, from 30 to 60 minutes, doing something as basic as walking on the treadmill on a 4% incline.

D’Angelo bans caloric drinks such as juices, smoothies, soda and energy drinks. They are advised to eat three hours a day and D’Angelo puts them on a strict eating plan for the first two weeks.

Here’s a sample menu:

6.a.m: breakfast with two eggs, piece of whole wheat toast, or a protein shake with whey protein and berries

9 a.m.: piece of fruit or one ounce serving of unsalted almonds

Noon: turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with a banana

3 p.m.: low sugar yogurt

6 p.m.: lean meat or fish, green vegetable such as broccoli

9 p.m. : another piece of fruit,

“The psychological part is taking away the variety so they are no longer spontaneous in their habits with food,” D’Angelo said.  “It’s doable. It’s not that hard.  They start seeing results, feeling results and they’re able to stick with it. It’s reaffirming work.”

After 14 days, the client gets more variety in his or her food choices. D’Angelo draws from his own experience, having weighed 360 pounds when he was in high school.

“The most important thing is getting to a place where they’re holding themselves accountable,” he said.  “They’re not trying to fill emotional sadness, boredom with food.  It’s making food as basic as hygiene, that this is what I do to fuel my body, to keep myself healthy.”


soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Lincoln

    The goal should NEVER be to lose weight.
    Losing weight is a necessary part of the process but it is hardly ever the goal. Getting lean AND STAYING LEAN should be the goal. Staying at your goal weight for a day, a week, or even a month and then regaining the lost weight is NOT success. Losing weight is a form of starvation. Starvation is bad. Staying lean is success. Staying lean is good. Getting there entails a cost and that cost is losing weight. Incurring cost is not the same as achieving a goal.

    October 17, 2011 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lee

      useless advice for the 75% of the population that has a weigh problem.

      October 17, 2011 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
    • T3chsupport

      You um... you don't know what you're saying I think.
      Losing weight does not mean you're starving yourself. It means that, whatever you weigh, you wish to weigh less. That can be done with positive lifestyle changes.

      October 17, 2011 at 17:01 | Report abuse |
    • Someone losing weight myself

      I'm happy for the Senator. In response to Lincoln's post.

      Someone needing to lose 50 pounds because they are very overweight needs to burn approximately 175,000 calories. That's a bunch. The human body has been capable of going weeks without food at times. We were built with the ability to convert fat in our body to glucose for the body and brain to get energy. If we could not, humans wouldn't exist on this planet.

      Nothing bad about "starvation" or fasting or consuming fewer calories than you burn in the hopes that you can improve your health for the long term.

      October 17, 2011 at 18:27 | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      @Someone losing weight: starving/fasting can have a very negative effect. When we eat nothing, our body uses fat to sustain itself, which causes us to lose weight, but it also triggers the body to turn absolutely everything you eat into fat once you start eating again. Burning more calories than you take in is good, but fasting and starving are not.

      October 17, 2011 at 19:41 | Report abuse |
    • legis

      Not "useless" advice. Very good advice. Weight loss should not be a goal unto itself. You will not necessarily be healthier by losing some weight. Proper, balanced, appropriate nutrition plus reasonable exercise daily should be the goal. Weight loss will occur naturally. If it doesn't then that is an idicator of either a failure to remain committed to a different lifestyle or a an underlying health issue. If poundage is made the target, often poor unsustainable choices are made to show a quick, recognizable achievement. The common American diet is one that features carbs, sugars and fats making it very addictive and thus very difficult for people to switch to more nutritious foods and difficult to find the energy to transition into a more energetic lifestyle. Often, to be successful, the changes in eating need to be introduced gradually, slowly weaning the eating addict away from destructive foods and onto better choices.

      October 17, 2011 at 20:03 | Report abuse |
    • stlounick

      Lincoln & others worrying about Senator McCaskill starving herself....D'Angelo offers sensible exercise and diet and is also concerned about maintenance. Claire is now at the maintenance part of her goal. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with either her weight loss or where she is now. In face, she is to be congratulated for doing something about her weight that was positive. Those of you thrashing around about starvation and fasting need to get a grip on reality. The second part of Claire's journey–and also a difficult one–is to maintain her new weight.

      October 18, 2011 at 11:56 | Report abuse |
  2. Bette

    You look fabulous.

    October 17, 2011 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RosaFranklin

    I wish she hadn't mentioned divorcing bread and pasta. There's nothing wrong with bread and pasta, as long as you choose WHOLE WHEAT and eat it in moderate amounts (and don't pile tons of cheese on it). As they say, moderation in EVERYTHING. And for the record, 50 pounds in 5 months is a potentially unhealthy rate of weight loss. I'm very happy that she achieved her goal and appeared to do it through exercise and healthy eating rather than any "quick fix" methods, but 10 pounds per month is a little too much. 8 pounds is kind of the max you want to shoot for (2 lbs/week). At least she had professional oversight. I don't want people thinking they can drop 50 pounds in five months if they want to, getting discouraged because they aren't getting the same quick results and can't afford a trainer to help, and eating too few calories so that they end up passed out on the treadmill from overdoing it without sufficiently fueling themselves. Lose weight the smart way – slow and steady. Adopt small changes gradually and build to a healthier lifestyle. I lost 50 pounds on my own, but I've since taken off another 20-25 at a somewhat faster (but still healthy) pace with the help of SparkPeople, which is a free website where you can track your food and exercise, find healthy recipes, read motivational/informational/educational articles written by experts, ask questions of and receive answers from other members and health professionals, and do a little blogging/social networking IF you're so inclined (you don't have to). I'd strongly recommend checking it out if you're struggling with weight loss. :)

    October 17, 2011 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michaela

      50 pounds in 5 months doesn't look dangerous to me. That's 10 pounds/month, 2.5 pounds a week [a bit over 1kg].
      I think that's perfect and there are quite a few weight loss programs which aim to that

      October 17, 2011 at 20:36 | Report abuse |
    • Sophia Williams

      RosaFrankin, you have given very sound advice and I agree 100%. I will be 50 years old in March and I believe eating right and exercising is the way to go. I adopted this lifestyle many years ago and have stuck with it. I feel great everyday and am able to bounce out of bed in the morning. YES – exercise is a must if you want to lose weight and maintain the weight loss. There are not quick fixes! You must be disciplined, practice portion control and move it, move it, move it. Nobody believes I will be the big 5-0 in March, I feel and look great if I must say so myself.

      October 18, 2011 at 06:55 | Report abuse |
  4. Jason

    Wait – so which one is the "before" and which is "after"?

    October 17, 2011 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jenny

      Good one!

      October 17, 2011 at 18:36 | Report abuse |
  5. gooner

    I am so proud of you.

    October 17, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Amanda

    You Look sooo amazing!! Keep up the great work!! It's great to see someone in power that has flaws and are willing to tell the world about there insecurities! Making the world a better place, thats how the government should be.

    October 17, 2011 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. YourMom

    Maybe your goal should be to work on getting this country back on track. I'd like to see some tweets that say, “I'm tired of the country falling apart. Maybe talking about it publicly will keep me on track as I try to be more disciplined. Off to the Senate.”

    October 17, 2011 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Shirley U Jest

    Twitter should be outlawed. It was intended for communication and instead here is is one its obvious and popular abuse. Marijuana is illegal and Twitter is far more addictive than that. Congress, wake up.

    October 17, 2011 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michaela

      are you serious?

      October 17, 2011 at 20:37 | Report abuse |
  9. Howboutdat?

    McKaskill is useless weight no matter how you look at her.

    October 17, 2011 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican I'd be rich!

    This is one tough broad – wouldn't want to cross her!

    October 18, 2011 at 02:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Valentijn

    Can my weight loss "stool" have two diet legs since exercise makes me extremely ill?

    October 18, 2011 at 03:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lia

      I've decided I'd like to lose ten or so ponuds before summer comes, and I'm wondering if anyone has any tips or tricks or secrets I could use. I can't take weight loss pills, due to medications I take for epilepsy, and I can't afford any of those fad diets like LA Weight Loss (though I know from experience that plan really works well) or Weight Watchers. I exercise twice a day, once in the morning and once at night after dinner. Any tips or suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.

      July 1, 2012 at 21:09 | Report abuse |
  12. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican I'd be rich!

    Debbie Stabenow dropped a lot of weight and went about it without tweeting her horn. Lets check up on Claire in a year and see how she's doing.

    October 20, 2011 at 03:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. lucy2

    "They are advised to eat three hours a day" Huh? Earlier the guy is quoted as saying he instructs people to eat healthy every three hours. Big difference, CNN!

    That's a pretty impressive result, especially for someone in their late 50s.

    October 20, 2011 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Auth

      My girlfriend is origweevht and i can tell she's very insecure about her body.I want to try and convince her to get weight loss surgery but i don't want to seem mean or that i only care about her weight.I am not attracted to skinny size 2 type girls but i am attracted to girls with curves kinda like Jordin Sparks size.How do i talk to my girlfriend about getting weight loss surgery or just losing weight the old fashion way without making her feel bad?

      July 3, 2012 at 04:52 | Report abuse |
  14. SJA

    Someone does something positive and loses weight, and because she is a politician, some lardass computer potato will use it to make some bad comments about her. hence the frase "ugly americans".

    October 21, 2011 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. CDOG

    UMMM who cares???? Go to work and work on the country NOW or you'll have plenty of time for your work out and twitter when we boot your butt out of office. Good for you, but don't care.

    October 23, 2011 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pervin

      You can definitely lose 10 ponuds by summer, and you can even do it healthily! You can lose that much weight in about a month to a month and a half.Exercise 4-5 times a week, doing moderate to vigorous cardio.Eat well. Get enough protein and good carbs; cut out unnecessary junk and fats (but eat healthy fats olive oils, fish, eggs, nuts). Make sure you are eating the right amount of food not too much, not too little. And eat lots of fruits, veggies, and dairy and water! At least 8 8 oz. glasses a day. Being properly hydrated can help speed your metabolism.Check out the link below; it is a great resource. Good luck!

      May 27, 2012 at 03:40 | Report abuse |
  16. TMA

    Absolutely nothing with going on the weight loss journey with Senator McCaskill........it's your choice to follow her.......the alternative is she could be off conducting illegal political affairs, I'd rather follow the weight loss journey. She is an inspiration to all. Congratulations on your success :)

    October 30, 2011 at 01:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rysiek

      You can't spot-reduce. Your body will lose it the same way it went on, but in reverse.You need to do caidro 4 times a week and watch you diet.You will lose fat proportionally around your body, so it is impossible to lose weight in just one place.Here's a good website to look at (even if you don't want abs, it still has a lot of good diet tips on how to lose weight, etc.)=)Good Luck!References :

      July 1, 2012 at 08:53 | Report abuse |
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    April 29, 2012 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply

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