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Volume 15, Issue 14 ~ April 5 - April 11, 2007

Keeping Score on those Public Figures

At first checkpoint, Costa holds his ground while Reilly takes his belt in a notch

by Bethany Rodgers

Maryland Del. Bob Costa is fighting an uphill battle against what he calls the “Costa belly curse.” Over the first month of the Southern Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce’s Weight Challenge, he has gained one pound, which he calls a victory.

That’s because the Maryland General Assembly was in session during March, when, Costa alleges, most delegates gain about 10 pounds. He held his ground by starting the day with breakfast. On the fly during the day, he’d grab a sub or finger food before reaching his home in Deale as late as 11pm and falling into bed.

Under those conditions, Costa rationalized, his one-pound gain was “equivalent to a 15-pound loss.”

Costa’s logic puts him neck to neck with Anne Arundel Councilman Ed Reilly, who lost 15 pounds, a loss that puts him near the front of the pack. Costa and Reilly are engaged in a friendly feud over who will win the competition.

“I will smoke Ed Reilly in the next 30 days,” Costa said.

When the Assembly ends, he expects to gain lost ground. But he’ll also be losing his support group. Fellow delegates hold him accountable, so he can barely reach for a cookie, he says, without hearing, Are you supposed to be eating that?

No matter what Bob Costa says, Reilly vows he’s “still going to beat him by 10 pounds.”

Reilly has his foot on the gas. In the first month of competition, he accounted for 13.4 percent of 112 total pounds shed.

After losing 13 pounds in the first three weeks, Reilly has tightened his belt one hole.

“If I keep taking in notches, that’s a good sign,” Reilly said.

He made his loss by subtracting his daily beer and adding pedaling, in spinning classes, until his heart pounded.

“The first few pounds are easy,” Reilly said.

Reilly’s next challenge is abstaining from drinking a few pints in Ireland, where he’s visiting his daughter for the next two weeks. Because he’s leaving his spinning classes in Maryland, Reilly plans to walk pounds off. To keep him away from beer, his eight siblings have each pledged $1 to the American Cancer Society for every pound Reilly loses, in recognition of another brother who is fighting throat cancer.

Bethany Rodgers is a full-time student double-majoring in journalism and English at the University of Maryland. She works as a freelance editor and tutor in her spare time and lives in Bowie with her family.

Editor’s note: In March, Bay Weekly introduced Del. Bob Costa and Councilman Ed Reilly competition to win the Southern Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce’s Weight Challenge by losing the most weight. “Public Figures” chronicles the triumphs and setbacks in their journeys to lighter selves. Our next update appears in late April.

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