Sarko to French Pols: Put Down the Croissants

French government gets the fitness bug after president loses 15 pounds
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2009 7:40 AM CDT
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde arrives for a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday, Sept. 14, 2009.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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(Newser) – Nicolas Sarkozy has lost 15 pounds since he married Carla Bruni, subsisting on a diet of cottage cheese, fruit compote, and bottled water—and he's not the only one in the French government who's slimming down. As the Times of London reports, Sarkozy is pressuring his ministers to lose weight, going so far as to replace the meat and cheese on offer in government kitchens with fish and veggies.

One politician, angling to win the powerful post of interior minister, spent months eating soup, cream cheese, and berries—and got the promotion earlier this year. Yet while the men in Sarkozy's cabinet have been binge dieting, his female ministers seem naturally slim: Christine Lagarde, the reedy finance minister, used to be a champion synchronized swimmer. But not everyone is impressed by the fitness freak running France; one psychiatrist grumbled, "He is a prisoner of the stereotypes of our age, to the point of imposing it on others."