With an endless supply of rubber chicken dinners and dubious desserts placed in front of politicians, it can't be easy for many of them to stay slim. But Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is doing just that. She told the New York Times this weekend that she has lost 50 pounds since she first announced on Twitter six months ago that she was ready to lose weight.


"I'm tired of looking and feeling fat," McCaskill wrote on Twitter on May 12. "Maybe talking about it publicly will keep me on track as I try to be more disciplined. Off to the gym."


The 58-year-old senator, who will be running for re-election next year, told the Times that she needed to lose weight to regain the energy she needed for her anticipated fight against an as-yet unnamed Republican challenger. As a woman in her late 50s, she said, "the metabolism shuts down on you, and all of a sudden you're feeling slow and tired. And I need lots of energy and I knew I was going to need lots of energy in the next year, and I decided I needed to put the excuses aside and get more physical."


McCaskill told the Times she achieved her goal of shedding 50 pounds through portion control, walking two miles on her treadmill each day, and the help of personal trainer Charles D'Angelo, who calls himself "The Weight-Loss Coach." She has also, as she tweeted, "divorced" herself from bread and pasta.


In an appearance on CBS's "The Early Show" last month, McCaskill said she turned to Twitter to help her lose weight because it would keep her accountable to her constituency, as well as to her constitution. "It meant that people were going to be watching to see if, in fact, I stayed on track," she said. "If I managed to get healthy and then I go back to my old ways, it will be a public humiliation."


The public weight loss plan hasn't been without its challenges. As she tweeted in August, an appearance at the Missouri State Fair led her to ask herself and her followers, "Since I've been on this health kick, I guess a funnel cake is out of the question?"