Former U.S. Senate candidate Scott McAdams is three-quarters of the man he used to be.
McAdams, a Democrat and the former mayor of Sitka, gained some national attention during the contentious 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate. Since then, McAdams has lost 100 pounds.
As part of a three-way race for Senate, McAdams faced off against incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign against Republican nominee Joe Miller, a Fairbanks attorney who pulled off a surprising victory in the primary. McAdams ended up finishing third with 24 percent of the vote.
As Murkowski and Miller traded barbs, McAdams remained graceful and civil throughout the discourse. But there was one issue that was hard to ignore -- his size. Articles during the campaign mention McAdams as a big guy -- and he was, standing 6-foot-4 and tipping the scales at 435 pounds.
Now he’s down to 335, and McAdams’ slimmer profile is a dramatic change. A recent photo shows McAdams standing between a pair of size-54 campaign pants (now he wears a 42). He said he still has a way go.
Following the campaign, McAdams decided to make weight loss a priority. “I spent 10 years in public office and after the election I had some time on my hands, in addition to my day job,” he said. “So I just made (weight loss) a priority and set some goals.”
He cut out soda and processed foods and made time for exercise -- mainly walking, swimming and playing the video game “Just Dance” on his Nintendo Wii. He said he's learned to cook healthier food and tries to stay out of restaurants. He also makes sure to get plenty of sleep.
McAdams, 42, said he didn't subscribe to any special diet or pursue surgery as an option. Books like “The End of Overeating” and “The Blood Sugar Solution” guided him toward eating more whole grains and vegetables.
Working on his own weight problem has left McAdams wondering what could be done about obesity from a policy standpoint. He thinks the U.S. is on the brink of a new era in public policy that would tackle obesity the same way smoking was addressed in prior decades.
“In 100 years people will look at how we treat obesity today and see it as 19th century medicine,” McAdams said.
For now, McAdams is enjoying the quiet life in Sitka, spending time with family and friends, working as the director of Sitka Community Schools, coaching seventh- and eighth-grade football and staying involved with the local Democratic party.
He said he had no immediate plans for a future political run.
“Now I'm full of energy. Maybe I'll run for something again some day.”
Contact Suzanna Caldwell at suzanna(at)alaskadispatch.com