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Friday, October 23, 2009

Don't You Dare Call Chris Christie the "O" Word

Politics have become so politically correct.

In New Jersey's heavy and heated 2009 governor's race, the mudslinging is dirty. And expensive. Democratic incumbent and former Wall Street tycoon, Jon Corzine, faces Republican U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Chris Christie. There's an Independent in the race too, Chris Daggett. And who knows, voters might get fed up and go with him...

(For the record, I live in NY, so I don't get a vote and have no aim to endorse any candidate.)

So with all the hateful and ugly accusations--and they do get as nasty as deep-pocketed campaigns can get--the one thing nobody is allowed to say is the obvious.

Look at the photo and see if you can guess...

Chris Christie, 47, husband and father of four, successful prosecuter and candidate for New Jersey's highest office is morbidly obese.

Even though when polled, respondents' number one top-of-mind description of Christie is "fat," Jon Corzine is not allowed to say it. Political experts suggest that if he did, it might cost him his campaign.

We're a nation of predominantly obese people--34%. Second to that is our category of overweight citizens--33%. Then there's the rest of us falling into healthy weight and underweight... Those numbers are pretty outdated. There's probably fewer than 30% now who aren't overweight or obese.

Regardless, social taboos and America's limitless capacity for self-deception dictate that no one speak the "O" word. Remember when there was the "C" word so unspeakable that it could never be mentioned above a hushed whisper..? (What was that hi-larious movie scene at the dinner table??) Of course I'm referring to cancer.

Dr. Oz has said it numerous times. Someone who is morbidly obese has health compromised on par with someone who has been diagnosed with cancer--seems the word "morbidly" isn't just thrown in there for color. That extra 100 pounds puts a high risk and heavy burden on the body.

So imagine if Chris Christie had cancer. (Sorry Mr. Christie. Please know nobody in any way, shape or form wishes cancer or any ill health upon you... I do shudder to even write those words. I'm not particularly superstitious, but I NEVER take good health for granted...)

So let's say it was cancer instead of morbid obesity. Think the press or Jon Corzine would be allowed to suggest that health issue could play a part in performing the duties necessary as New Jersey's governor?

We found out without question something as basic as wearing a seatbelt was crucial to the task. So clearly morbid obesity is a reasonable issue to discuss? Social mores say no.

How are we possibly going to address our nation's biggest health crisis if we're not allowed to say it out loud??

And as a certified counselor for integrative nutrition, I can't help myself...

Here's a quick plan for Chris Christie:

At 6 foot something, you're going to want to keep your weight no higher than 200 pounds. That means your daily caloric intake should not exceed 2000 calories. (This would be a great time for New Jersey to mandate calories be posted on menu boards like we have here in NYC. It makes the whole thing so much easier...)

You'll want to keep to non-fried, non-starchy, mostly-Vegetarian fare. And whenever possible, stick with water. After infancy, our bodies aren't programmed for drinking our calories, especially the empty-calorie sweetened stuff. (Insert plug for soda tax here.)

That's it. If you want to eat more than 2000 calories a day, then earn 'em with exercise. (Every mile jogged rewards you with about 100 calories.) Just to be healthy, you'll want to exercise about an hour everyday anyway. And your kids need an hour of daily exercise too, so maybe that'll be a great opportunity to squeeze in a little family time while on the ever-demanding campaign trail.

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