Trump's weight-loss regimen: fish and half a bun

Dietitians have been consulted in the White House kitchens. Steak has been swapped out for Dover sole, his favored fi...

Posted: May 30, 2018 6:42 PM
Updated: May 30, 2018 6:42 PM

Dietitians have been consulted in the White House kitchens. Steak has been swapped out for Dover sole, his favored fish. And hamburger buns have been discarded -- or at least the tops have.

President Donald Trump, who embarked upon a mission to shed 10 to 15 pounds in January, has acknowledged in private that he needs to lose weight. Prodded along by his White House physician and the knowledge he is approaching obesity, Trump agreed earlier this year to alter his diet and begin a new exercise plan. Five months into his regimen, people close to him say they've detected small changes, mostly in how he eats, that reflect a desire to follow doctor's orders.

But they haven't identified a discernible exercise routine beyond the weekend rounds of golf the President enjoys with the help of a cart. Trump himself has continued to downplay the importance of exercise, even questioning whether it presents more risk than reward.

On Wednesday, Trump will publicly tout the importance of physical fitness during an event on the White House South Lawn, accompanied by his daughter Ivanka and major sports figures such as legendary New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera and Misty May-Treanor, a three-time Olympic gold medal winning beach volleyball player.

Their goal is to reverse the trend of declining participation in youth sports through initiatives and research that reinforces the importance of staying active. Whether Trump will hold himself up as a model remains to be seen.

When Ivanka Trump was questioned about Trump's fitness routine during a briefing call on Tuesday, a White House press aide told reporters she'd left for another meeting. And the White House did not respond to questions about the President's personal fitness plan.

In January, Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House doctor, acknowledged to a room full of reporters that Trump didn't exercise regularly.

"Some people exercise, some people don't," Jackson said. "Some people just haven't done that as part of their routine. And I would say that's the category he falls in right now."

He described a joint effort with Ivanka Trump and first lady Melania Trump to improve the President's diet and introduce him to a workout plan, all with the goal of pulling him back from borderline obesity. At his physical exam in January, the 6-foot-3-inch Trump weighed 239 pounds, according to his doctor.

Among the steps Jackson detailed: enlisting a nutritionist to meet with White House chefs to advise on cutting calories; renovating the gym adjacent to the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House residence to Trump's specifications; and crafting an aerobic exercise schedule that "spares his joints and is healthy for him."

"He's more enthusiastic about the diet part than the exercise part, but we're going to do both," Jackson had said determinedly.

In March, Trump nominated Jackson to serve as secretary of Veterans Affairs. A month later, the nomination was withdrawn after allegations Jackson had mismanaged the White House Medical Unit. The administration said he would return to the medical unit but not as the President's physician.

How that affected the implementation of Trump's weight-loss routine isn't clear. Trump himself has told confidants that rounds of golf and smaller portions of food will help him shed the dozen or so pounds he'd hoped to lose by the start of next year but has downplayed the role exercise can play in improving his health.

Diet

Inside the White House kitchens, chefs have been instructed to find ways to limit fat and calories in the dishes they prepare for Trump's meals, including the lunches and dinners he convenes almost daily with members of his Cabinet, lawmakers, outside advisers or visiting foreign dignitaries.

One swap repeat diners at the White House have noticed: Dover sole has replaced well-done steak, which Trump famously slathers with ketchup as his favorite meal.

Earlier this year, a registered dietitian was dispatched from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to consult with White House kitchen staff on reducing calories and fat in Trump's meals, according to a person familiar with the matter. Vegetables have begun appearing on his plate, though it's not clear how much of them he is eating.

Outside the White House, Trump is largely left to his own devices for meals. Visiting the Trump International Hotel for dinner, Trump has typically asked for his favorite steak. But on one recent visit he chose the Dover sole instead (it sells for $64 dollars a plate and comes laden with soy brown butter and capers).

At Mar-a-Lago, Trump is often seen filling his own plate on the buffet line, which is full of calorie-rich options such as mashed potatoes and roast beef. At his golf clubs in Florida and outside Washington, Trump is known to eat a cheeseburger inside the clubhouse after a round.

One modification a recent lunch companion noticed: Trump's burger came with only half of the bun.

"I do that, too, sometimes," Rudy Giuliani, the President's private lawyer, told The Washington Post. "It's a good way to do it."

Nutrition experts say a realistic weight-loss plan would begin with cutting 500 calories from Trump's diet every day -- which, if sustained, could help him shed one pound per week. Although an imperfect calculation, such a modification would present an attainable goal, said Lisa Drayer, a nutritionist and author.

"You really have to start slowly. It's not realistic to just revamp your diet overnight," said Drayer, who suggested adding more fruit and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts, would make the President feel full even as he consumed fewer calories. "It wouldn't take much for him to just make a few key changes, like that steak or the burger. That could be the deficit right there."

"He really needs someone to sit down with him and give him a personalized approach so that it will stick with the long term," Drayer said. "I think it's never too late to change, but your metabolism does slow down with age."

Exercise

Since Jackson revealed his diet and exercise aspirations for Trump, the President has downplayed the prospects of incorporating a new workout plan.

"See, a lot of people go to the gym and they'll work out for two hours and all," he told Reuters in late January. "Then they get their new knees when they're 55 years old and they get their new hips and they do all those things. I don't have those problems."

Instead, Trump said he could burn calories playing golf -- which he does nearly every weekend with the assistance of a cart.

"Like people get on a treadmill, I go play golf," he said.

Trump's most recent predecessors were exercise fiends, a trait Trump has not continued. President Barack Obama played basketball until his knees began troubling him, switching later to cardio work on machines in the White House residence.

President George W. Bush asked for workout equipment, including an elliptical machine and dumbbells, to be installed in a poolside cabana steps from the Oval Office, and a fold-up treadmill to be placed aboard Air Force One -- tasks carried out by Ted Vickey, who ran the White House Athletic Center for 11 years.

"(Trump) doesn't see exercise as much as a value as probably the last 5 presidents have," Vickey said, noting that President Bill Clinton took jogs through the streets of Washington and that President Dwight Eisenhower -- a golfer -- established the President's Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, which is the group organizing Wednesday's event on the South Lawn.

Described by the White House as a "field day," the gathering will feature stations focused on different sports, including soccer, track, flag football -- and the President's favored activity, golf.

"This is the President's Council of Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, so the President's definitely going to be there to make remarks and uplift this collaboration," said Holli Richmond, director of the council, who laid out a multi-pronged approach of research and initiatives meant to culminate before the 2020 Olympics.

If he were advising Trump on a fitness regime today, Vickey proposed a golf-centric program that incorporated cardiovascular exercise on an elliptical machine, strength training, and stretching -- including yoga, if Trump was game.

"You've got to find something they love doing. I would say 'Mr. President, work with me for four months and I'll drop your handicap 4 strokes," said Vickey, now a professor of kinesiology at Point Loma University in San Diego. "He's been like this for 70 years. We're not going to change him overnight."

"Unfortunately," Vickey said, "you have to trick him into exercise."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 145465

Reported Deaths: 2491
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin36126997
Ramsey14966377
Dakota10420139
Anoka9573156
Washington649074
Stearns647850
Scott366636
Olmsted344930
St. Louis333074
Wright282516
Clay259145
Nobles236818
Blue Earth21367
Carver19167
Sherburne189924
Kandiyohi18695
Rice174210
Mower155318
Winona136219
Crow Wing120822
Chisago11912
Benton109012
Lyon10446
Beltrami9839
Otter Tail9808
Waseca95010
Todd9337
Polk8845
Morrison8529
Steele8173
Itasca80617
Douglas8044
Nicollet78318
Freeborn7275
Goodhue68211
Le Sueur6716
Becker6654
Martin63718
McLeod6294
Isanti6196
Pine5960
Watonwan5854
Carlton5372
Chippewa4893
Mille Lacs47118
Hubbard4695
Cass4385
Wabasha4281
Dodge4200
Pipestone37217
Meeker3703
Rock3665
Brown3653
Roseau3650
Redwood31012
Yellow Medicine3096
Murray3023
Cottonwood2990
Renville28613
Fillmore2840
Wadena2743
Sibley2733
Faribault2580
Houston2492
Kanabec23610
Swift2322
Jackson2261
Pennington2221
Aitkin2142
Unassigned20354
Stevens2001
Lincoln1970
Koochiching1775
Pope1740
Big Stone1671
Marshall1611
Wilkin1484
Lac qui Parle1473
Clearwater1431
Norman1410
Lake1390
Mahnomen1342
Grant1094
Red Lake842
Traverse610
Kittson540
Lake of the Woods471
Cook200

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 124963

Reported Deaths: 1700
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk20019290
Woodbury753099
Linn6256134
Black Hawk6154102
Johnson610731
Dubuque563959
Scott501843
Story416418
Dallas364047
Pottawattamie343145
Sioux259517
Buena Vista231812
Marshall217136
Webster200915
Plymouth176731
Wapello161062
Clinton159028
Muscatine156058
Cerro Gordo154527
Des Moines153911
Crawford140015
Warren13477
Jasper124034
Carroll123113
Henry11495
Marion109211
Lee103412
Tama102138
Delaware84314
Dickinson8159
Wright7781
Boone7659
Mahaska75125
Bremer7459
Jackson7193
Harrison71217
Washington71212
Benton6782
Lyon5868
Clay5684
Louisa54915
Jones5374
Winnebago52719
Clayton5263
Winneshiek5259
Cedar5217
Hardin5187
Buchanan5155
Kossuth5020
Hamilton4945
Poweshiek49411
Floyd47211
Emmet46221
Cass4563
Iowa45610
Mills4403
Cherokee4342
Page4270
Fayette4224
Guthrie42115
Allamakee4189
Sac4174
Butler4163
Shelby4112
Franklin40118
Humboldt3833
Chickasaw3821
Hancock3796
Madison3783
Clarke3633
Grundy3526
Calhoun3374
Palo Alto3352
Osceola3100
Mitchell3021
Howard2889
Monroe27512
Union2725
Jefferson2671
Taylor2632
Appanoose2583
Monona2562
Pocahontas2532
Ida2312
Fremont2172
Lucas2146
Adair2041
Greene1990
Montgomery1977
Davis1954
Van Buren1942
Keokuk1901
Audubon1831
Decatur1700
Wayne1553
Worth1550
Ringgold1042
Adams841
Unassigned90
Rochester
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 38°
Mason City
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 50°
Albert Lea
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 54°
Austin
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 52°
Charles City
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 52°
Tracking a breezy weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events