A Letter to Chris Christie on His Weight Loss Surgery

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 Weight loss surgery for obesity | Alternatives to bypass surgery for weight managementSo Governor Chris Christie had stomach surgery – the weight loss kind. No surprise there. The poor man has been vilified for his weight — which has nothing to do with his abilities.  It’s no wonder he is looking for help.

This isn’t a vote for or against Christie, or weight loss surgery for that matter. Not the point of this post. I try as hard as I can to stay away from political arguments anywhere and especially on a blog. Because the decision to have weight loss surgery is such a big and personal one, we don’t discuss that on this blog either. We are glad to have in-depth discussions about it individually, however.

But when someone has made the decision to have it, or has already done it, we’re going to do our best to support their success. For Chris Christie — it’s no different.

So here’s our letter to Mr. Christie to help support him post bypass surgery.

Dear Governor Christie:

As you have shared publicly already, your struggle with weight has been a long one. We empathize.  It is hard to be a large person in today’s world, even for someone who is seemingly so strong that you can start and withstand political storms. That is no small feat. I can’t even imagine surviving in that world.

In our experience, here are three important strategies for surviving weight storms, with or without bypass surgery. To accomplish them successfully, they pretty much need you to not be focused on your weight. That is certainly hard when everyone else is. These strategies, however, can help you place your focus where it will really help you.

1. Start with mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being present in the moment, and being in charge of what you choose to focus on. You may not be up to speed on the research that shows you can be larger and still be healthy. Getting up to speed on that can help you keep your focus where it will help you. Pick up a copy of Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight.  As an aside, we could use a public figure like you to help spread the word about health, not weight.

Another important point about mindfulness has to do with eating. Mindful eating (aka intuitive eating) helps lead people to their natural, healthy weights; for many, this means weight loss. It’s key to stopping the yo-yo cycle of weight loss and gain.  And it’s key to supporting your success with gastric surgery. I hope your treatment team promotes mindful eating. If it doesn’t, give me a call.  I’ll be glad to work with you.

2. Focus on feeling good. Your — and maybe everyone else’s — concern about your weight and health brought you to the point of weight loss surgery. But the research is clear — weight doesn’t necessarily mean ill health. And the continued pursuit of lower weight can mean that.  So start by focusing on how you feel, and throw in standard health indicators for good measure, e.g., blood sugar, cholesterol, etc., levels.

It may take a while to become really clear about this if we’ve dieted a lot, but two major things that make us feel good (and keep health indicators in a good range) are eating well and moving our bodies regularly (not in a punishing way, but in a way that refreshes us). That sounds like diet advice but it’s basic feeling good advice. They are different, primarily because there is no restriction involved in the feeling good advice. Instead, it’s about tuning in and finding what works for you, not what a diet tells you is supposed to work for you. We all know that rarely does. But what we all don’t realize is that  many, if not most, people today define healthy eating according to diet rules. If you don’t know the difference between the two, again, I can help you start to eat well without feeling like you are on a diet.

3. Look for and manage stress.  Stress can create all kinds of problems for successful weight management.  Now I imagine you have lots of stress in your life, just from the work you do.  I hope you are good at managing that — it seems it would be hard to be successful in your world if you aren’t.  But what about the stress of eating and weight worries?  How are you doing with that?  When we try to follow diet rules, it just adds to those struggles.  I refer back to #1 and #2 for what to do instead.

Our best wishes for your good health,

Marsha

Is there anything else you would tell the governor?

Photo courtesy of Office of the Governor

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