Hot New Trend in Congress: Fasting

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All the cool kids in Congress are fasting, The Hill's Christina Wilkie reports. Some lawmakers are spending their workdays in a hypoglycemic stupor to highlight the plight of the poor. But Iowa Rep. Steve King* just wants to get his beach body back by Easter.

In detailing his diet plan, King displays a breathtaking knowledge of calorie math usually found only among the crash-diet devotees of terrible women's magazines.

I know that 3,550 calories is a pound, and it takes 2,851 to maintain my body weight at my exercise level, so I dial those calories down and I can lose a couple of pounds a week. But it’s hard for me to keep that calorie intake down, so I picked a time. I’m not going to eat until 6 o’clock at night.

King is semi-jokingly is doing it for Lent. "If Christ could do 40 days and 40 nights, then at least I could make weight by Easter, right?... There's a constant gnaw in my stomach that reminds me of how Christ died for our sins." Call us crazy, but we're not sure the clergy would agree that dieting your way svelte is really what Lent's about. King's aiming for 174 pounds, and he's down to about 176 right now. "Tugging proudly at his loose shirt collar," Wilkie writes,  "he added, 'You can kind of tell.'"

Rep. Barbara Lee made no mention of her BMI--she's pushing her colleagues to consume only water for 24 hours to bring attention to how budget cuts will affect poor people. Lee will be joined in her mini-hunger strike by more than two dozen legislators. "For me personally, fasting reminds me that while I’ll be off the fast in 24 hours, other people stay hungry all the time," Lee says. Of course, the greater health risk for American poor folks is obestity, not starvation, but whatever.

*Note: The original version of this misidentified the fasting congressman as Peter King.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.