Okay, Chris Christie, here’s some straight talk, just for you, to help you trim some of that rounded excess from your own personal body politic.
First pardon me for calling you Chris instead of governor-elect Chris Christie. But the fact is that, on this issue, you are no different from me or any of millions of other citizens fighting the battle of the bulge. You are one of us, Chris. No special treatment here.
Second let me address the response that worked so effectively during the campaign: How is the issue of your weight relevant to the way in which you will run the state of New Jersey? It’s not relevant at all, but now that we have elected you we also have an investment in you, and we voters — whether or not we supported you at the polls — have a vested interest in your success.
Obesity leads to illness, illness leads to dysfunction. A lot of us think that we have enough dysfunction in New Jersey. We can’t afford anymore. So, just as we in the media have given Barack Obama grief about his cigaret smoking, and just as we came down hard on Jon Corzine for failing to wear his seat belt, so we should give you some, let’s say, encouragement about living a healthy lifestyle. The election is over, and lots of us would like to see the governor do well, not get sidelined by a car accident or fall on his face from a heart attack. (In fact, the state has not had the continuity of a full two-term governor since Tom Kean left the statehouse in 1990; Christie Whitman’s term ended a year early when she was appointed to the Bush cabinet in 2001.)
And finally, I will argue, let’s dispense with all that mano a mano stuff that provided such a useful dodge during the campaign, when Corzine’s commercials alluded to your weight and you turned the challenge back to him: “Man up and say I’m fat,” you were quoted as saying. Corzine never did. But I will:
Chris, you’re fat.
Exactly how fat we don’t know because, according to an October 7 New York Times article addressing this “weighty” campaign issue, you have answered most every question about your weight except exactly how much you weigh. But we do know that at one point you lost 50 pounds but then gained most of it back. On another occasion you lost 40 pounds to win a bet, but the evidence suggests you put most of that back on, as well. We can only guess that someone whose weight battle is measured in 40 and 50-pound increments must be pretty hefty to begin with.
So to reaffirm our manhood, we will say it again: Chris, you’re fat.
Now, and more importantly, what can you do about it:
1.) Admit that you are part of the club. You can start by telling us how much you do weigh. As New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has said, in terms of running that complicated city, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” The same goes for your weight.
2.) Do some simple arithmetic. How many calories do you consume, how many do you need, and how many are burned off by just normal activities. And determine how that burn rate changes with age. You say you have been fighting to control your weight since you gave up organized sports as a teenager. Guess what, Chris: It only gets worse. You’re 47. The fight won’t be as easy when you are 62 (as I am).
3.) On the intake side, remember that “eating healthy” not only includes the types of food eaten but also the quantity. Eat a ton of broccoli and that’s still a lot of food and calories. Portion control has to apply to pretty much anything.
4.) Build some exercise into your daily routine. This is much more difficult than it seems. From reports written during the campaign, we know that you have worked with a personal trainer on occasion. This is nice, but possibly not enough. Given your duties, there will be times when matching your schedule with that of a trainer will never work out.
From one very busy professional to another, I would recommend that you have exercise opportunities available so that you can literally fall out of bed and get to an exercise machine. An elliptical machine, treadmill, exerbike, etc., should be nearby and in front of a wide-screen television that will help allay the inevitable boredom that comes with spending a half hour on them.
5.) Remember that, when it comes to exercise, it’s always easier not to. Every day something will pop up on the schedule that seems more important than spending a half hour breaking into a sweat. And some days you will fall off this exercise wagon. But it’s never too late to get back on it.
Final thought. It will be easy for you to dismiss all this health talk as more drivel from the liberal media trying to give a conservative more grief. So don’t take it from me: Take it from a fellow conservative governor, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who lost more than 100 pounds (280 to 170) after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Read his 2005 book, “Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork,” subtitled a “12-Stop [not step] Program to End Bad Habits and Begin a Healthy Lifestyle.”
Huckabee, a proponent of small government, nevertheless believed that the public good might be served by several public and private measures, including employers allowing healthy people to convert sick days into vacation days; permitting exercise breaks instead of smoke breaks; and requiring restaurants to publish the caloric and fat content of their food.
Consider taking your fitness program public. Make New Jersey the “fitness state,” not just the Garden State. Lots of people would follow your progress and chart their own progress, as well. People will applaud every ounce of progress; and they will forgive the pounds that go back on. Hey, Chris, we are all in the club.