Speaking to Fox News Digital by phone on Saturday from his home in Kansas about his recent dramatic weight loss, Mike Pompeo, former secretary of state, said yes, he has lost 90 pounds over the past six months or so — and that, yes, he did it all on his own.
There were no tricks, no gimmicks, no surgery, no hired professionals making the call, he indicated during the interview.
“My plan is to keep doing more of the same,” he told Fox News Digital. “So while for six months I was near-perfect in terms of how I ate — now I’m going to be mostly perfect.”
Pompeo went on, “I stopped eating carbs to a large extent, and I tried to eat smaller portions. I’ll keep trying to do that. I won’t be as disciplined about it because I’m not trying to lose much more weight, but right now — full blown, full stop — I know that if I go back to what I was doing for the last, say, five or six or seven years, then my weight will go back there, too.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a recent television appearance. Pompeo said Fox News Channel was the first media outlet to ask him about changes in his appearance — and he promised to be responsive to a check-in from Fox News Digital in the weeks ahead about how he’s maintaining his current slimmed-down frame.
Pompeo, 58, said he achieved these results on his own, contrary to what some skeptics in the larger media landscape have been suggesting.
“I read a great deal on my own, and I had my theories about eating less and exercising more,” he said. “So that’s what I did.”
To anyone who might question his personal discipline, by the way: Pompeo graduated first in his class from West Point in 1986. Commissioned an Army officer upon graduation, he served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall, according to the State Department’s office of the historian. Pompeo also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, in the U.S. Army’s Fourth Infantry Division.
Afterward, Pompeo attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1994 and having serving as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He became an attorney, became a businessman, was elected to Congress from the state of Kansas (serving Kansas’s fourth district from 2011-2017), became director of the CIA (2017-2018) — and then, most recently, served as Secretary of State from 2018 to 2021 under former President Donald Trump.
Intense public interest in weight loss
A lifestyle topic such as weight loss and personal health is not generally something an individual of Pompeo’s ilk tends to discuss.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo smiles as he speaks with reporters at the State Department in Washington on Nov. 26, 2019.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
But given the intense public interest in the changes in his physical appearance over the past half-year or so — changes he said Fox News Channel was first to ask him about, some months back — as well as the overall interest in weight loss and good health, Pompeo chose to share more about how he lost weight, why he did it, and how this might inspire others.
At the same time, Pompeo stressed he is not a doctor or health professional — and each personal case is different. He said he is simply doing what is right for him.
“I read a lot about this [topic],” he said, “and I had a theory of the case. I knew I needed to eat less and exercise more. And that’s what I did.”
‘People would try to be polite’
Had other people, including his family, ever expressed concern to him about his weight in the past?
“You know, people around the edges would always say things, right? They would try to be polite. But nobody really had to say that much. You just know, on your own, that when your shirt collar has gotten one inch bigger — well, you know,” he said.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down for an interview with Fox News on Aug. 31, 2021, in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Pompeo added, “My doctors, each time I would see them, would say, ‘You should really lose some weight.’ But I knew the reality.”
“And the reality was about truly feeling better and creating a lot less health risk.”
‘I could move around better’
How soon did he begin to feel better, once he changed his behavior?
“Goodness, within three weeks or four weeks, I literally started feeling much better. The weight started coming off quickly. Within, literally, three or four weeks, I could move around better.”
“I started staying away from things everybody knows that you shouldn’t eat.”
— Mike Pompeo to Fox News Digital
How about trying to eat less at night? That’s often a challenge for people trying to get or keep their weight down.
“I’ve read so much about the topic [of weight loss],” he replied. “People talk about intermittent fasting, for example. I just found that my theory of the case was this: Every day is the day. And every day you should eat less.”
“And so it wasn’t about any particular time that we eat, or things like that. It’s just about staying away from the bad foods. And when you’re having something — well, instead of having a second helping, just go read, or go move around, or become a little more active.”
‘Haven’t had French fries since June’
Fox News Digital also asked Pompeo about his healthier food choices — have there been more fresh vegetables and fruit in his diet now, for example?
“I definitely started eating some things I hadn’t eaten for a long time,” he said — “but mostly, frankly, I started staying away from things everybody knows that you shouldn’t eat. For example, I love French fries.”
“My goodness, I could go after those with the best of them. And now — well, I haven’t had French fries now since June, probably.”
President Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, on July 16, 2019, in Washington. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is at left.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
He added with a laugh, “Oh, somebody out there will find one picture of me eating French fries. But generally speaking, I just don’t do it.”
“This is about making better choices every time,” said Pompeo. “And sometimes you’re in a place where there really aren’t such good choices, right? For whatever reasons — you’re out with people, or you’re at a public event, and there’s a certain expectation.”
“So I just try to do the best I can in the moment, and recognize, ‘This is what I have to do.’”
‘Trying to get to a healthier place’
Fox News Digital asked Pompeo if his weight loss has anything to do with his possible future presidential ambitions.
“The answer is this is really very straightforward,” he said. “I wanted to feel better. I wanted to be able to be more active.”
He also said, “I had surgery in early December on my foot. I’ve had a problem with my toe. I’m sitting here staring at my foot cast right now. And I knew that, going into the surgery and with the holidays [coming along after the surgery], I wanted to be a little bit healthier.”
“So, no — this wasn’t about anything other than trying to get to a healthier place where I’d have a reasonable chance to have less health risk and live longer,” he said.
‘Maintain this mindset for the rest of my life’
On the topic of being more sedentary right now, given his recent toe surgery, Fox News Digital asked Pompeo how he’s able to keep the weight off and keep his success going.
“It’s proven fairly difficult these last few weeks,” he said, “but I can still move around, of course. So I’ll go downstairs and work out. There are things you can’t do [after foot surgery, or the like], but there are still things you can do.”
In this split-screen image, the difference in Mike Pompeo’s appearance can be seen very clearly.
“There’s no doubt I’m burning fewer calories today than I was when I was able to get on the elliptical,” said Pompeo.
“So, yes, I knew there’d be chance that I would put some of the weight back on, and I probably have [in recent weeks]. But when I started this, I didn’t have a target weight in mind. I just knew I needed to get healthier, and that’s what I hope I can maintain — that mindset — for the rest of my life.”
How about Joe Biden’s health?
Fox News Digital asked Mike Pompeo if he wanted to comment at all on the health of President Joe Biden — either cognitive health or other related health topics.
“No, but I will say this: These health issues matter a lot, no matter what line of work one is in,” said Pompeo. “I was traveling all over the world as Secretary of State, and it does matter that you have both the physical and mental capacity to take on the tasks that are in front of you.”
Pompeo added, “I want to do my best to make sure that I’m in the best physical shape to do the things I need to do, and that ranges from the business things I’m involved in today, to the fact that I love to spend time with my son and his fiancé, doing all the things we enjoy doing.”
‘These are deeply personal issues’
“The other comment I’d like to make here,” said Pompeo, “is that I’ve seen lots of comments out there about, ‘Oh, did he use some particular diet’ or ‘did he have some kind of surgery.’ I didn’t. But different people make different choices.”
“And I am not a health expert and I do not pretend to be one,” he went on. “But we all make choices about how we’re going to do things. We all make tradeoffs, choices, in how we approach things.”
“These are deeply personal issues. And I ended up speaking about them only because it became a public issue when my weight loss was so visible.”
“I just want everybody to have good information about what they do. I read a great deal, about food, about heart rate during exercise, and more. And my wife,” Pompeo added, “was fantastic. Obviously this affects my family, because now we’re cooking different things, eating differently.”
And “it was lovely, during all my efforts [and still today], to have an incredibly supportive wife and family.”
Given that keeping the weight off over the long term can be the real test of commitment, Fox News Digital asked Pompeo: Can we check in with you in the near future to see how you’re doing?
“Yes! That would help give me extra discipline,” he said.
Maureen Mackey is Managing Editor of Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter at @maurmack.