It is no secret that countless hours on the campaign trail bring about enormous amounts of stress for politicians. With little sleep to recover from continuous appearances in the public eye, many are bound to make their fair share of mistakes, with some of the more hilarious ones relating to food. But could one of the biggest problems facing these figures lie in their actual diets while on the campaign trail?

Today, The New York Times investigates the grueling schedules of some of the city’s candidates for political office. At almost every stop, they are presented with “generously catered…eat-and-greets…power breakfasts followed by power lunches.” And when you think about the issue, it makes sense: Everyone wants his or her potential representatives to share and sample the local delicacies. In turn, politicians constantly strive to be seen as “down to earth,” and do not object to these culinary offerings for fear of not coming across as such. It’s an undeniable, and often hazardous, combination.

The article goes on to list some of the ways that these individuals combat these edible temptations, including carefully constructed exercise schedules and menus of “pre-authorized meals” for staff to order.

But these plans can prove to be nothing more than wishful thinking once time starts disappearing and stress begins to build. Case in point: Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and Presidential candidate, who struggled mightily with obesity all his life before losing 100 pounds in 2003. Despite writing a book about dieting and making healthy eating a central issue in his political agenda, Huckabee gained back a good deal of weight during his later campaigning years.

It’s pretty hard to feel bad for politicians, who by their nature have to be ruthless to survive. But maybe we can summon a little sympathy for those who sacrifice their health and waistlines in pursuit of public service. Is an unhealthy lifestyle and weight gain unavoidable on the campaign trail? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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