Sen. Ted Kennedy Helps Trim the Fat on Capitol Hill by Shedding His Generous Girth

updated 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Little is private when it comes to public figures, especially when the figure belongs to Sen. Edward Kennedy and resembles a Before advertisement for Weight Watchers. So Ted's latest Capitol Hill triumph may be among his sweetest: In the past several months he has dropped at least 36 pounds. "I know someone who used to get his lunches," says one insider. "They say he's gone from four or five turkey club sandwiches a day to four or five cups of cottage cheese." Says longtime Kennedy aide Melody Miller: "He did it by eating less and exercising more."

Kennedy, who has acknowledged a weight problem in the past, is keeping his mouth shut (no calories) on the subject. The diet is said to have begun as a four-way bet involving Kennedy, his sister Jean Smith, her husband, Steve, and their son, Steve Jr., who reportedly were also into self-improvement. (The Smiths won't comment.)

In the past a Kennedy meltdown has usually fueled speculation of a run for the Presidency. Since he has already pulled out of the 1988 race, Kennedy watchers are at a loss to explain the drop. "This was not presidentially motivated," insists Miller. Maybe it was vanity. "Let's face it," says another associate. "He hangs around with a lot of thin senators."

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