WASHINGTON, DC, February 10, 2013 ― Well, Governor Christie, you have certainly brought attention to yourself with all this talk-show discussion about your weight.
Governor, I need to talk to you candidly.
I can’t speak from a doctor’s perspective, but I can speak as someone who struggles with weight. While I have never been larger than a size 18, which is not uncommon for a woman in her 50’s these days, I have paid dearly for the extra 40 pounds I’ve carried.
Chris Christie, take a seat: You cannot say you are a healthy fat person. That person does not exist.
Believe me, I know.
Like you, I have a more than full time job, high stress, long hours, seven days a week. That is what it takes to be successful in your office and my profession. But it takes its toll, because that never-ending stress causes our bodies to release cortisol, the stress hormone.
Those long hours also make healthy eating extremely difficult. We reach for the foods that are easy to grab in the least time, or we forget to eat all together, and that is an even more dangerous thing to do.
I do not believe for a minute that you dine regularly on donuts, as you joked on David Letterman. But I do believe you are not being honest with yourself because you are not taking the time to make your health a priority.
Chris (if I can call you that), I believed I was one of those “healthy” fat people. Then I was diagnosed with type II diabetes, my eyesight began to fail dramatically, I could not catch my breath and my heart labored.
A trip to the cardiologist showed my heart is in fundamentally good shape, because I am a “healthy” fat person, or so I thought.
But we both know, as do the doctors, that it is only a matter of time before our bad health choices catch up to us. We are, in fact, ticking time bombs, and we will die from our excesses.
My goal to get healthy again and regain my eyesight has begun to pay dividends beyond just a smaller dress size. The journey has also given me the emotional happiness and perspective that comes from really feeling good.
Here is some practical advice from me, the perspective of someone who is not a medical professional but who has lived the high-stress, bad-diet life: You need protein to lose weight. Never eat sugar or any product with hidden high fructose content. Any and all flour-based products are bad for you, and that includes bread, pasta, and even donuts. You need to eat all the time, but never a lot. 200 calories six to seven times a day is working wonders for me.
A good nutritionist will help you figure out what you need to eat, and how often.
If you plan to take supplements, you should take the right vitamins, herbal supplements, and protein powders for you, and for that you need to consult a naturopath.
That’s right, a naturopath, not a medical doctor. Your medical doctor knows what bad diet will do to you and will fight the good fight (but the ultimately losing one) to fix the devastation your weight will cause, but she’s not the one to help you create a detailed dietary battle plan.
No matter how much you crawl around disaster areas, race down the halls, climb stairs, and park as far as you can from the mall doors ‒ as all those magazines say you should do ‒ that’s like trying to save for your retirement by emptying the change from your pocket every night into a bottle. You need an actual exercise program. You need to find the right combination of cardio and resistance (weight lifting) excercises that you will then do every other day for an hour. Even if you’d rather sit in a bed of hot coals.
And for that you need a competent personal trainer to push you, guide you, and hold you accountable.
As easy as that sounds, it is hard. Very hard. People like you and me like to work. We feel indispensible. We have to prove that we are good at what we do by doing it all the time.
But in the process, we have become unhealthy. We have become sleep-deprived, overworked, unhealthy people carrying loads of extra fat. At 40 pounds overweight, I was carrying a small child around on my back. You’re carrying around the weight of a malevolent young woman. That fat is strangling your pancreas, choking your liver, smothering your lungs, and squeezing your heart in its flabby grip.
The way you feel emotionally is negatively affected. That’s the way it is. I don’t know why, but I’m sure a medical doctor could explain it. And I know that it is true.
You don’t sleep as well, because you really can’t breath with all that extra weight pushing on your lungs. I know of a young man who died at the age of 17. He was a beautiful child, a talented photographer with a rich life ahead of him. He died from his weight. It seems he just stopped breathing deeply enough to feed his brain.
Again, I am not a doctor. I am a girlfriend. And I know what you are struggling with.
But don’t be mad at the White House doctor lady. She told you what you need to hear. Because you can’t be a healthy fat person. You can’t.
I have been a fat person. After losing 30 pounds, I may not fall into the “skinny” category, but I am more fit, I am more healthy, and I feel better. My eyesight is better, my blood sugars are under control. I make myself sleep six hours a night, and when I do, I sleep better, because I breathe better.
People should not discriminate against or ridicule those who are fat, Chris. But that fat will kill you. You are not healthy. And only you can change it.
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