WEIGHTY WISDOM: Governor Rendell’s Six Smart Tips for Weight Loss

If our steak-loving governor can drop 40 pounds while stressing over his budget, you can, too. Here, his no-nonsense formula for slimming down

Ed Rendell’s new, slimmer figure is hard to miss. He’s dropped more than 40 pounds since June, when, thanks to a few words from his son, he took a hard look at his diet and decided to make some changes. And if his missing double chin isn’t inspiration enough, factor in that he did it all while juggling a major stressor in his life: the recent budget crisis. Check out his tips for dropping pounds, getting fit, and turning frustration into fat loss — something we all need during our own budget crisis — below.

1. Set a goal. “My son Jesse just got married a year ago and they don’t have kids yet. But Jesse said to me, ‘Don’t you wanna go to your grandkids’ Little League games? You gotta do something to make sure that you’re here.’ I thought about it and Jesse was right. [I wanted to be there] and I certainly wasn’t maximizing my chances of living longer.”

2. Focus on what you can control. “I knew we were in for a long haul with tightening the budget and I knew there would be almost daily frustrations. So, I thought if I dieted and was successful that I would have positive reinforcement every day to counterbalance the frustration. And that’s actually what occurred. The budget has been enormously frustrating. And during that time, I’ve gotten the positive reinforcement every couple of days of weighing myself and seeing my weight go down. So it’s been a real plus.”

3. Eat half of what you eat now. “Reducing everything I put in my mouth by 50 percent has really worked for me. I’m a big meat-eater and I’ve gone to great steak places in Philly. I’ve been to Barclay Prime, I’ve been to Union Trust, I’ve been to Butcher and Singer. I’ll order the same 20-ounce rib-eye that I used to order, but I’ll eat half of it and take half of it home and eat it the next night.”

4. Be choosy about carbs. “I don’t eat any sweets. I go light on the carbs, but I’m not a fanatic. I’ll have cereal and fruit, for example, and some skim milk.”

5. Change how you think about food. “I’ve learned that I don’t have to eat a lot of food. I was afraid that I would be ravenously hungry all the time, but after four or five days your stomach adapts and I haven’t felt hungry at all. I think that’s a lesson that won’t escape me. I mean, will I eat a lot of food on Thanksgiving? Sure. But on a day-to-day basis [I’ll eat less].”

6. Reward yourself. “I was an ice cream-a-holic. My favorite of all time was Starbucks’ Java Chip Frappuccino and sometimes I’d eat a half-gallon of it in one sitting. I haven’t had any since the middle of June. When I reach my goal, which is to get down to 200 pounds, I will break the diet for one day by having some java chip.”