*Newark New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker had a lot on his plate in 2010 – both figuratively and literally.
While working long hours trying to lower the crime rate and dealing with the endless headaches of running a city, Booker said he stepped on a scale Christmas Day to discover he had “ballooned” to nearly 300 pounds.
He gives details in the below excerpt from his piece “Hypocrisy,” written for the Huffington Post…
Michelle Obama asked me in 2010 to be an Honorary Co-Vice Chair of the Partnership for a Healthier America as part of her larger national campaign against obesity called Let’s Move! I proudly and readily accepted, and loudly began to preach of the grave ills of our nation’s obesity epidemic.
My city, which is exceptional in so many regards, is like many urban places in America when it comes to the obesity crisis. Childhood obesity rates are out of control and undermining our children’s health, self esteem, performance in school, and ability to someday be productive adults. It is shortening their lives, and making healthcare costs dramatically more burdensome to them and all of our society. So with my new First Lady-bestowed title, I brought my community together to begin working on the problem. There were many Newark leaders who were already ahead of me and had begun to make significant progress. These leaders eagerly joined with our broad coalition and we soon had much to demonstrate here in Newark – hospitals, schools, nonprofits, churches and others were all pitching in to get Newark “Moving”.
Michelle Obama came to Newark on November 18, 2010 to celebrate our progress and talk about the issue. On that morning, with a national audience soon to be watching our city, I went to my closet and ignominiously found my last suit that actually still fit me well. You see, the stresses of 2010 weakened my resolve to watch my weight, and I had ballooned. I was preaching a good sermon but my practice was pathetic. As I sat with the First Lady exhorting Newark school children to eat healthy foods, exercise more, and have fun while doing it — my stomach was still trying to digest the French fries and cookie dough from the night before, and I hadn’t exercised for more days than I could remember. I simply couldn’t help feeling the shame of falling so far short of my own words to the children and my favorite Gandhi story.
“Children are never good at listening to their elders but they never fail to imitate them.” – James Baldwin
So, enough! This year I am going to talk less about what others need to be doing around health and fitness, and instead focus much more on how I’m living up to my own values and ideals. I am going to be the leader I dream of being in every area of my life, and lead by example.
On Christmas Day I weighed in at 295 lbs. It was the heaviest I have been in my life — even when I played tight end at Stanford I was just 265 lbs., and 18 months ago in 2009 I was 230 lbs.
As I write this on January 4, 2011, I am down to 287 lbs. (and that was achieved by simply reviving a long-lost moderate exercise regime on my stationary bike, and by stopping my compulsive late night stress eating). I am making a public commitment today that by my birthday on April 27th I will be below 240 lbs. and still making progress towards my healthy goal weight of 230 lbs.
I invite you to monitor my progress. I invite you to join with me. I invite you to be the change you want to see in the world.
You can follow my progress on my Facebook page under the tab: “Let’s Move!” or by following me on Twitter for intermittent updates. My Facebook page will include my stories and those of others, strategies for living a healthier lifestyle, and full disclosure when I slip up.
Oh, and this isn’t about dieting; it is about lifestyle. It isn’t about getting skinny; it is about getting healthy. It isn’t about denial; it is about living a more abundant life.
Here is to integrity, here is to health, here is to having life and having it more abundantly.