10/30/2008 09:23 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Five Pounds Up, Five Pounds Down: Hard-working Obama Volunteers Feel Stress At Waistlines

The fact was not lost on many Obama supporters on his birthday. There was a juxtaposition of his head from two years ago and one on his birthday on August 4, 2008. The one from two years ago shows his hair still black while the one this year shows his hair graying. "I have Hillary Clinton to thank for my gray hair," Obama said famously at one time.

At the North Carolina For Change headquarters in Wilmington--NCFC is a cooperative effort between North Carolina Democratic Party and Obama For America--it is the women that drive the campaign. Sure, there are men, but many more are women. Obama Mamas, Women for Obama, you name it, they are there. Another common theme among these women? Their weight gain and/or loss during this campaign.

"You are looking too skinny again," my friend Debbie told me not too long ago. "I know why. You work, you write, you take care of the kids, and you are volunteering. You probably don't have time to eat." Wow, that was true. She noticed it while my husband was blissfully ignorant.

Then I saw Angela Parham, who has been volunteering since before the primaries. She was one of those that went to South Carolina to help with their primary way back in February. She was looking gaunt. She asked, "Are you cooking hot dogs everyday too?" I said, "No, but I cook a vat of rice and/or pasta, and it's microwave night every night!" Angela said, "yeah, I know. I am not eating right. I lost five pounds."

"I gained five pounds!" Allie Nardella told me. "I just don't have time to eat during the day. So I go home at night and eat junk food all night. I haven't been meditating, I haven't been practicing yoga. When am I going to have time again?"

Lupin Byers-Ogle looked gaunt, too. Her kids were screaming in the van. She turned to me and said, "I know, but this election is way too important. It will be over on November 5th. Kids can have macaroni and cheese every night until then." Then she turned to the kids, "Ok, mommy is leaving now." She collected the kids' shoes and put them back on their little feet.

This is why Obama is ahead in the polls. The McCain office down the street is virtually asleep. The only thing it has done so far is handed out the tickets when McCain came to visit a month ago. Then they hand out yard signs. There are signs of many sizes, some huge, some small. They seem to pop up everywhere, but there are no volunteers to be seen on the road.

People come into the Obama office all the time asking for signs. They are turned away because the simple fact is that, if the Obama office were to be in the business of selling these signs, they would need a full time merchandise person. That is not how the Obama office spends it money, we are told. They would much rather put that person in position to help organize volunteers instead of merchandise.

The groundwar is not won with signs. Sure they are nice. But at least in North Carolina where Obama has been gaining momentum, the campaign is being won by the women, and men, who are graying, gaining and losing weight with Obama during this campaign.