The Newt Gingrich weight-loss program

4 minute read

The Newt Gingrich weight-loss program

A while back I lost a fair amount of weight and got back into the normal range of BMI. Since then I’ve regained some of the weight and am now just a tad above the normal range. I’ve been trying to get back down to where I was before, with not much luck.

So I’ve decided to try something different: I’m entering into a commitment contract, a concept that’s been the subject of academic research and is being commercialized by StickK. StickK itself sounds like an interesting service, but since I have a blog I figured I could do this myself.

The basic idea of a commitment contract is this: You set a goal and a time frame to meet it, announce it to others, and put some stakes on the table should you fail to achieve the announced goal. StickK suggests the idea of donating to an anti-charity, i.e., an organization or cause you disagree with, should you fail to meet your goal, and that’s what I’m planning to do. In particular, I thought it would be a good idea to donate money to one of my least-favorite politicians. But which one?

I thought about picking someone in local Howard County politics, but I don’t really hate anyone on the local political scene, and even if I did I’d be afraid I’d run into them at some local blogger event and be embarrassed. Then I thought about national politicians. I don’t really hate anyone on the national scene either (not even Sarah Palin, whom all non-real Americans are supposed to despise), but then I thought of Newt Gingrich.

The thing about Newt Gingrich is that I actually have history with him, of a sort. I used to be involved in the space activist movement, and knew people who knew Gingrich, who was also a supporter of space exploration. I thus had reason to be well-inclined towards Gingrich, but as his career progressed he exasperated me more and more. It wasn’t just the whole Clinton impeachment farce, it was Gingrich’s ability to say something that was actually sensible and intelligent on a particular topic, and then turn around and make some statement so dreadfully wrongheaded that it took my breath away. (George Gilder has this same effect on me, incidentally.)

The bottom line is that I have no interest whatsoever in promoting Newt Gingrich’s presidential ambitions, and that in turn makes him the perfect person to help me lose weight. Without further ado I therefore present my


As a citizen seeking to lose weight I propose not just to pursue a goal of eating less and exercising more, but even more important, to do so in a way that promotes a bond of trust between the people who read my blog and myself.

That is why, in this era of dietary evasion and posturing, I offer instead a detailed agenda for my own weight loss, a written commitment with no fine print.

Beginning now I will take the following actions:

FIRST, I will start a program to reduce my weight below its current value of 75.0 kg.1

SECOND, I commit to lose at least 1 kg per month over the next five months, thus reaching my goal weight of 70.0 kg.

THIRD, after reaching my goal weight, I commit to maintain it for at least the next five months.

FOURTH, for each of the first five months in which I fail to lose 1 kg, I will donate $10 to Newt Explore 2012 (or an equivalent Newt Gingrich-related cause).

FIFTH, if I fail to meet my goal weight after the first five months, or if I fail to maintain my goal weight over the next five months, I will donate $50 to Newt Explore 2012, over and above any money I may have already contributed.

Respecting the judgment of my fellow citizens as I seek their support for my losing weight, I hereby pledge my name to this Contract with (that part of) America (that reads my blog).

I will periodically update you on my progress, probably via Twitter. Also, should any of you seek independent confirmation of my weight loss I hereby agree to be weighed at a time and place of your choosing (subject to my schedule being open).

In the meantime, wish me luck as I begin my campaign. I hope that as I’m confronted with a basket of fresh tortilla chips or am lingering near the refrigerator, I’ll stop and think of someone somewhere saying, Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States, … Newt Gingrich!

Note: The image above is courtesy of the Tumblr Newt Gingrich in Front of Stock Photos.

  1. I weigh myself in kilograms because I am an ex-physics major used to working in SI units. Although I’m a registered Democrat, I am not a French-loving socialist who seeks to destroy America and all it stands for (including using an antiquated system of weights and measures).