election 2016

How 6 GOP Presidential Hopefuls Are Slimming Down for the 2016 Election

Photo: Jed Egan, Photos: Getty Images

As Republicans gear up to jockey for the 2016 presidential nomination, several potential candidates have embarked on diet and exercise regimens apparently meant to prepare them for the “physical rigor” of the campaign trail. New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Florida governor Jeb Bush have both appeared noticeably slimmer in recent months, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has long profited from the dieting industry. Here’s how six GOP presidential hopefuls are preparing their bodies for the presidency. As Us Weekly might say: It is the White House, not White Castle.

Jeb Bush
The Paleo diet 

The current governor of Florida told Politico on Wednesday that in late 2014 he began following the Paleo diet in order to “slim down.” Based largely on pseudoscience, the diet requires that you eat only foods that were available to our cavemen ancestors. The bulk of meals consist of lean meats, berries, and nuts; you may not eat dairy, refined sugars, salt, grains, or anything else that has ever adequately satisfied your hunger. 

Handed a piece of birthday cake,” writes Politico, “[Bush] plucked only the blueberry off the top and ate it.”

Chris Christie
Lap-band surgery

New Jersey governor Chris Christie opted for lap-band surgery back in early 2013, and it’s helped him shed a significant amount of weight. The surgery works by reducing the size of the stomach, helping people to eat less and feel full more quickly. Christie still eschews most vegetables, reportedly only eating “green beans, lettuce and cucumbers.”

I’m not nearly as interested in food as I used to be. But that hasn’t all of a sudden made me a huge vegetable fan,” he told People in 2013.

In 2014, experts estimated that Christie had dropped 85 pounds, and he’s only getting thinner. Maybe it was the 77 diet books he received as gifts that kicked him into gear.

Rand Paul
The Rand Paul-eo diet

Kentucky senator and boss-level troll Rand Paul received an “A” fitness grade from this health blog, though little is known about his diet and exercise regimen. He did eat a candy bar during a filibuster one time, which can’t be great for you. He also inspired Stephen Colbert’s “Ron Paul-eo diet, which helps you lose weight by “running away from immigrants.” According to TPM:

The “Rand Paul-eo” diet consists of just “three easy steps to deregulating your waistline,” according to Colbert: have a burning desire to be President; eat whatever you want; then get “a Mexican” to interrupt your meal.

Mike Huckabee
His own “12-stop” program

While serving as the governor of Arkansas, noted Beyoncé hater Mike Huckabee cashed in on the diet craze with his book Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork: A 12-Stop Program to End Bad Habits and Begin a Healthy Lifestyle, published in 2006. The book lays out a “12-stop program” to help motivate readers:

  1. STOP Procrastinating.

    2. STOP Making Excuses.

    3. STOP Sitting on the Couch.

    4. STOP Ignoring Signals from Your Body.

    5. STOP Listening to Destructive Criticism.

    6. STOP Expecting Immediate Success.

    7. STOP Whining.

    8. STOP Making Exceptions.

    9. STOP Storing Provisions for Failure.

    10. STOP Fueling with Contaminated Food.

    11. STOP Allowing Food to Be A Reward.

    12. STOP Neglecting Your Spiritual Health.

According to Men’s Health, the method helped Huckabee shed 110 pounds in 15 months, allowing him to eschew the seat-belt extender and “climb the capitol steps without becoming drenched with sweat.” Huckabee admitted in 2009 that he regained at least 30 pounds, partly as a result of a knee injury that kept him from running, and he appears to have put on several more pounds since.

Ted Cruz
The Obama diet

Though Texas senator Ted Cruz is a noted lover of pork chops on a stick, he, too, has developed his own diet regimen, which he calls “The Obama Diet.”

Back in Washington there’s a diet that is now very, very popular,” Cruz said at a summit in August 2014. “It’s called the Obama Diet. Works very, very well. You simply let Putin eat your lunch every day.”

Seems like it’d be hard to stick to, but if you’re getting sick of green eggs and ham, it might be worth the effort.

Bobby Jindal
Eating whatever he goddamn pleases

Unlike the other candidates on this list, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal is trying to put on weight instead of lose it. According to the National Review, he’d gained 13 pounds back in October 2014, and “with the 2016 election on the horizon, he is looking to beef up.” Might we suggest eating the cake Governor Bush won’t touch?

The Diets of 6 GOP Presidential Candidates