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Claire McCaskill's Fat Tweet Smart Weight Loss Move


Claire McCaskill, US Senator from Missouri, has made her weight loss efforts public by sending a Tweet proclaiming “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.”

A public figure makes a private battle public

We’ve grown used to seeing overweight celebrities become spokespersons for popular weight loss programs—Kirstie Alley, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Alexander, and Queen Latifah for Jennie Craig; Sarah Ferguson (aka Fergie Duchess of York), Jenny McCarthy, and Lynn Redgrave for Weight Watchers; and Kathie Lee Gifford, Rachel Hunter, Whoopie Goldberg, and Ann Jillian for Slim-Fast.

But when it comes to politicians and other public servants, weight loss and being overweight are not issues they generally talk up. One exception is Bill Clinton, who lost a significant amount of weight following his quadruple bypass surgery and who “talked up” his battle with weight and his success in public venues.

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Fifty-seven-year-old McCaskill is taking a bold, smart move in making her battle with weight a public one. But instead of aligning herself with a weight loss program, she has in a way aligned herself with the public. When people announce to others that they want to achieve a specific goal such as losing weight, they are now accountable not just to themselves but to others.

When people know you are on a journey to achieve a certain goal, they can become, on the one hand, a source of encouragement, and on the other hand, a public you do not want to disappoint. Thus by sharing her health goals with the public, McCaskill has placed pressure upon herself, which can translate into several benefits.

Notwithstanding the positive health aspects of McCaskill’s weight loss efforts, there is also the possibility of a better public image. Leaders who take care of themselves and who promote positive lifestyles also project a positive image, which is part and parcel of being a politician.

If McCaskill is successful, her loss should also be her gain—for her health and for her political career. Keep your eyes open for more Tweets from McCaskill.