MR. TAFT ON DIET LOSES 70 POUNDS
Ex-President Weighs 270, as Against 340 on March 4 Last.
Ex-President William Howard Taft,
who came here yesterday to address the
Peace Society on the Monroe Doctrine,
has lost exactly 69 pounds of flesh since
he left the White House, on March 4,
last. When Mr. Taft bade President
Wilson good-bye the afternoon of Inauguration
Day and started to his
"Southern Home" in Augusta, Ga.,
there to rest and recuperate after nearly
twenty years of practically continuous
Federal service Mr. Taft weighed 340
pounds, which he good naturedly admitted
yesterday was too much even for
so good a golf player as the ex-President
is conceded to be.
It was in the course of a conversation he had with a Times
reporter at the home of his brother, Henry W. Taft, at [XX] West Forty-eighth Street,
yesterday afternoon, that Mr. Taft told how he had managed to rid himself of that
seventy pounds of flesh, and how he expected to continue losing weight
until he reached the exactly proper weight of a man of his own generous proportions.
"Mr. Taft," the reporter said, "would it be out of place to ask you how much flesh you
have lost since you left the White House?"
"Not at all," Mr. Taft answered with his famous big smile in evidence,
"and I am glad to be in a position to be able to tell you to the fraction of
a pound. On the Fourth of March, when I left Washington for Augusta,
I weighed exactly 340 pounds. This morning I weighed myself again and
I tipped the scale at exactly 270.8 pounds, which shows that in the months
that have elapsed since I ceased to be President I have lost exactly 69.2
pounds of flesh."
"Do you feel better as a result of it?" was the next question.
"Indeed I do. I can truthfully say I never felt any younger
in all my life. Too much flesh is bad for any man. It affects a
man both physically and mentally. When I left Washington last March
it was at the end of almost twenty years of continuous service for the
Government. It was in 1892 that I took the oath as a Circuit Judge in the
old Burnett House in Cincinnati. I then weighed 270 pounds, just my present
weight. And now, after nine months as a plain old private citizen I am
back at the old 1892 figures, and I certainly feel fit and fine as a
result of it."
"When I reached Augusta," Mr. Taft continued, "the reaction after all those
years of hard work was most pronounced, to put it mildly. I was nervous
and fretful and for perhaps a month I found it hard to sleep. Then came the
second and normal reaction, and I began to appreciate the blessings of a
"How did you manage to reduce your weight so appreciably?" Mr. Taft was asked.
"By consulting a regular physician and not a quack," was the quick answer.
Then he proceeded to tell all about it.
"I placed myself under the direction of Dr. Bloomer [sic], the head of the Yale
medical Faculty, and Bloomer has accomplished wonders," he said.
"The diet I have followed was prescribed by Dr. Bloomer. I have dropped
potatoes entirely from my bill of fare, and also bread in all forms.
Pork is also tabooed, as well as other meats in which there is a large
percentage of fat. All the vegetables except potatoes are permitted,
and of meats, that of all fowls is permitted. In the fish line I abstain
from salmon and bluefish, which are the fat members of the fish family.
I am also careful not to drink more than two glasses of water at each meal.
I abstain from wines and liquors of all kinds, as well as tobacco in
every form. The last is, however, nothing unusual, for I never drink
intoxicants anyway, and I have never used tobacco in my life."
Here the ex-President told a funny story in which a Washington correspondent,
Senator Jonathan Bourne and himself had three leading parts.
"Bourne and I," said Mr. Taft, "were dining together at Hot Springs, Va.,
just after my election and prior to my inauguration when the newspaper
correspondent, now quite well known, but then a youngster in Washington,
came by and in the course of the short talk that followed Bourne and I mentioned
the fact that we had stopped drinking. The correspondent took what was said
to mean that we had sworn off and the next day his paper printed a long
story that was captioned in big black type 'Taft stops drinking.'
"Then the trouble started. From all parts of the
country temperance organizations began to send
congratulations, and a conference of the Methodist ministry
went so far as to designate a committee of seven Bishops to
visit me and tell me how glad the Church was that I had quit
drinking. I knew one of those Bishops quite well, and so I sat
down and wrote him a letter. I told him that, while I was not
a drinking man, and did not intend to indulge, that I nevertheless
intended to serve wines at dinners given to diplomats ad [sic] others
who drink wines with their meals as aids to digestion. I said that
if with this understanding the committee still desired to visit me
I would be delighted to receive them. They decided that I was too
busy and never came."
Mr. Taft said that he and Mrs. Taft would go to Augusta in April for
a visit to their "home folks" in that Southern city. He said
Augusta held a very dear place in his affections.