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Weight Issue

Posted on 05/21/2013

New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie recently announced that he had undergone gastric band surgery to help him lose weight. This news came after months, or really years, of him protesting his health and happiness at an estimated 300+ pounds. His message was the same each and every time, he wasn't about to change for anyone or anything! Well, I guess times changed. He changed.

Doctors have long been concerned about obesity being associated with diseases since early medical times. Hippocrates extolled the importance of balancing energy ingested with it expended. Pythagoras recommended moderation with diet. The link between obesity and medical conditions began to be recognized by the large in the late 17th century. By the 19th century, a handful of publications linked obesity to diabetes and heart disease, but it was another century before the connection was firmly established. The current symptoms and disorders were not established until endocrinologist Gerald Reaven described "Syndrome X", obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, among other things. The insurance industry can also trace its connection to obesity and ill health back to the early 1900's. Statisticians at Met Life and other major insurance companies used actuarial studies to prove obese people die at younger ages.

The facts remain, being obese is a precursor to many deadly diseases such as cancer, type II diabetes, heart disease and premature death. Maybe Gov. Christie finally "got the message" that he had to do something to change his course in life. It's unfortunate he chose to surgically alter his body forever, instead of doing it the "old fashioned way" through diet and exercise. 

What's the most disturbing of this whole thing is that he is a role model as a public official, like it or not, and because he's in the public eye people do look up to him. Now other people may choose to do this instead of changing their habits. 

I want to state that I am not entirely against this type of surgery, if it is the very last thing someone has to do if ALL else fails. But too often people are quick to jump into it without truly understanding all the side effects that occur and how it changes the body forever. It is not a simple fix whatsoever. It is surgery. Surgery in of itself, especially at such a high weight has its own set of risks associated with it. There's no safe surgery, per se. Complications can and do exist. It's that simple.

To understand why one might do such a drastic thing to lose weight, you have to understand the desperation some obese feel every day. Some people have medical conditions that make it difficult for them to lose weight. Others have psychological issues associated with food that make it difficult for them to lose weight, without proper counseling to figure out why they overeat. It is really a complex problem plaguing our country. 

I know first-hand about how devastating obesity can be to the family unit. My father was obese and he eventually died because of his type II diabetes and congestive heart failure. It was the saddest day of my life when I lost my father prematurely because of his obesity. I tried to help him, but it was a different time in those days, being overweight (in his case, obese) meant prosperity. After surviving The Great Depression, if you had it then you ate it. Nothing was left on your plate…that's when the so-called "clean plate club" started.  Even while in college studying nursing, when I would prepare and send home menus to help my mother control his calories, it was a futile effort. They truly didn't know any better, but I continued to try to help him until the day he died. Maybe that's why I’m so passionate about helping others like him. I do understand and empathize.

It's interesting how Governor Christie chose this option after protesting for so long. Maybe he was concerned about leaving his family too early, or maybe he was driven by political desires? William Howard Taft was obese and that did not side track his political career, he was both President of the United States and chief justice of the United States. Regardless of why Christie did what he did, he chose this path and now he's adjusting to the new lifestyle of gastric surgery...liquid meals, pain, malnutrition, malabsorption, gastrointestinal issues and a host of other new problems. These are often side effects from this very serious surgery. I do wish him all the best, but until he learns how to eat properly (what to eat and how much to eat) then I'm afraid he will not truly be on his path to health. 

post-author

Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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