Call it the Bolivarian battle of the bulge.

President Hugo Chavez said in a televised speech Friday that "there are lots of fat people" in Venezuela and advised his supporters to exercise and eat healthy to trim their waistlines.

"I'm not saying fat women, because they never get fat," he added. "Women sometimes fill out."

The 55-year-old leader said he himself has lost nearly 20 pounds by exercising and eating well. But Chavez, who still appears heavier than when he first took office in 1999, acknowledged that he could lose a few more pounds.

"Doing sit ups," he said. "Eating well. One has to learn how to eat."

Chavez suggested rice pasta instead of spaghetti made from wheat, and recommended drinking soy milk, saying soy products help fight aging.

Chavez said his diet and exercise have made him feel stronger and "ready to continue commanding the Bolivarian Revolution" — the name he has given his socialist-inspired political movement.