It was only three months ago that N.J. Governor Chris Christie responded to Dr. Connie Mariano’s concerns about his weight by saying she was “just another hack who wants to be on TV.”
At the time, here is what I said regarding the guy who is so smart that he diffuses the “war on women” mantra by telling a successful female doctor to “shut up.”:
Gov. Christie has no self-control when it comes to calories. He has shown no self-discipline when it comes to exercise. Those faults also rear their ugly head every time he channels MSNBC’s resident blowhard Chris Matthews during a testy press conference or town hall meeting. He is not presidential material, he cannot at the present moment inspire the nation, and he would be crushed by Hillary Clinton in a landslide if the stars ever aligned in such a way as to pit the two of them against each other for the highest office in the land. Conservatives need to start working now to take him out of the running.
It turns out that just around the time Dr. Mariano was voicing her concerns about Mr. Christie’s weight, he was scheduled for “lap band” surgery.
[L]ike some overweight politicians before him, Mr. Christie has embarked on a major effort to shed pounds at a time when his eyes are on the presidency. Saying that “a whole bunch of other things” had not worked, he revealed on Tuesday that he had undergone weight loss surgery three months ago. He is now 40 pounds lighter.
Mr. Christie, a Republican, said concerns about his family, not politics, drove him to undergo the “Lap-Band” procedure, in which a silicone band is placed around the stomach to discourage overeating.
Interesting. So the doctor to President George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush looked at a guy who was laying the groundwork for a presidential run and commented on his health, and she’s told to “shut up.” And yet, that very same guy was scheduled for lap-band surgery. It seems as though if Christie was desperate enough to get such a procedure done, the smart thing to do in that situation would have been for him to shut up.
Regardless, I am not a fan of this procedure and would like to know what the “whole bunch of things” Christie tried were. Since exercise has always been a large part of my life (I was even lucky enough to manage a gym for a period of time), I’ve met plenty of people who claim to have “tried everything” when the reality is quite the opposite.
In 1991, the NIH gave a consensus statement on who should get the surgery. I asked a physician for a summary of their findings. Gov. Christie had to meet criteria along the following guidelines:
1) BMI >40or2) BMI of 35-40 plus an obesity associated comorbidity: severe diabetes, Pickwickian syndrome, cardiomyopathy, severe sleep apnea, or osteoarthritis that interferes with activities of daily living.and3) Are motivated and well informed, have failed attempts at diet and exercise, and are free from psychological disease. They should also be compliant with post-op diet and exercise routines.Pre-operative workup requires a psychological evaluation, nutritional counseling, and a medical evaluation.Complications include the following: infection, bleeding, band slippage, band erosion into the gastric lining, dilated esophagus, vomiting, heart burn, stomach perforation, injury to the spleen, and mechanical device failure.Patients cannot tolerate solid foods in the initial periods after surgery and even though they are eventually transitioned to solids, they still may have regurgitation and dysphagia to whole meats and heavy breads.Effectiveness: the adjustable lap band is extremely effective at producing weight loss, however, as many as a quarter of patients fail to shed 50% of their excess weight by 5 years.Sources*Guidelines for Practical Application of Laparoscipic Bariatric Surgery from the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). http://www.sages.org/publications/guidelines/guidelines-for-clinical-application-of-laparoscopic-bariatric-surgery/*NIH Consensus on Bariatric Surgery. http://consensus.nih.gov/1991/1991gisurgeryobesity084html.htm
Are there people out there who have genetic disorders that cause them to struggle with their weight? Sure. But the vast majority of Americans do not fall into that category.
When most people say they’ve “tried exercising” they say it like a teenager who says he “studied” when really he just went through the motions long enough to convince himself the lie was the truth. (How can anyone study when it’s time to call the girlfriend?)
When people say they’ve tried “diets” what they are usually doing is admitting that deep down they aren’t prepared to change their lifestyle to achieve a set of desired results. Diets are temporary; your lifestyle is forever.
Over and over and over again I hear people talk about the “Western” diet. It’s bull. I’m sorry to be blunt, but that’s a crutch. Anyone with half a brain and a real desire to figure out what’s going on with their body will be able to do the research and make the changes necessary to get where they want to be.
When I turned 30 years old I started gaining weight. I had no idea why, considering I was still working out as I always had and my diet had not changed. Obviously, my metabolism slowed down slightly, but after going over my diet with a good friend it turned out that I was consuming massive amounts of sugar through fruit juices. I cut off the juices, and over the course of eight months I lost 20 lbs. The guy who never paid attention to food labels because he could burn off whatever he ate (the joy of being a long distance runner!) suddenly had to think a little about the things he was shoving down his throat. I modified my diet to deal with the new reality, and I’m in arguably better shape at 34 than I was at 30.
I truly hope that Gov. Christie’s surgery is successful. I wish he would have gone a different route, but now that it’s done and over with I hope that he leads a long and healthy life with his family and friends by his side.
With that said, I still can’t help but believe that his weight problems have more to do with a lack of self-discipline than with malfunctioning biological processes — and while he might tell me to “shut up” because I’m not a medical doctor, I would counter that it is his own press conferences and bizarre outbursts aimed at constituents that have led me to such a conclusion.
Is it cathartic to see union thugs get an earful from Christie on occasion? Sure, but that doesn’t make his politics or his approach right. And it’s really not kosher when a governor goes around trying to discredit medical doctors for making astute observations about his weight, only to then take drastic measures behind the scenes trying to rectify what he wanted everyone to “shut up” over.
Gov. Chris Christie owes Dr. Connie Mariano an apology. It’s really that simple. And if he does so, I’ll give him a cookie. Or a piece of broccoli. Or some black beans. Whatever goes easiest post lap-band surgery.