The Weighting Game
By Guest Blogger Dr. Nancy B. Irwin
Governor Chris Christie (Rep) of New Jersey announced in a press conference this week that he is not running for the office of the President of the United States. After numerous “fat jokes,” Gov. Christie stated that “…I am not self-conscious about my weight, I am self-aware.” His announcement was right on the heels of biting criticism by a political pundit who censured Christie: “Christie is too fat to be President…seriously, take a walk, eat a salad.”
While I am no Republican (Independent, actually), I have compassion for Christie. Having managed a weight issue my entire life myself, I sympathize. Can we stop with the fat jokes? He is not a movie star or a model. He is a public servant. His emphasis has been on the people and policy, not his appearance. Further, as a psychologist, I can tell you that obesity is rarely about just loving to eat; weight management is a complex issue. Being overweight does not necessarily mean someone is “undisciplined.” Perhaps he, like many of us, has tried to manage his weight, but stayed stuck anyway due to a congenital metabolic condition or a hormonal one. Further still, food many times is used as an avoidance and/or coping mechanism, masking deep pain. Those struggling with this issue need professional guidance and empathy, not criticism and ridicule. Christie may require a combination of medical and psychological intervention with an individually tailored program….not simply “taking a walk and eating a salad.”
That being said, the office of President is as daunting and exhausting physically as it is intellectually. It is not for the faint of heart or weak of body. The demands of that job (forget the campaign) are such that a morbidly obese person, moreover one who suffers from asthma, could very possibly suffer even greater health risks, and the Presidential duties would not be handled. Physical fitness is as crucial a job requirement for the President as policy, intellect, and governing experience.
Let’s dispense with the name calling and labeling, not because we expect our President to “look the part” but because a less than healthy body can be crushed by the job demands. Let’s put health before ego.
I applaud Governor Christie for waiting, taking this time to enhance his health and, hopefully, come back in four years stronger, healthier, fit and ready for the race. What a strong message to send out to youth: Powerful adults can assume responsibility for an issue, and seek resources to handle it.
To our health!
Los Angeles-based doctor of clinical psychology/therapeutic hypnotist/speaker Nancy B. Irwin I is a media expert on a variety of topics, and is also the author of YOU-TURN: CHANGING DIRECTION IN MIDLIFE (Amazon, 2008) and is a featured author with Deepak Chopra and Ken Blanchard in ROADMAP TO SUCCESS (Insight Publishing, 2011). www.drnancyirwin.com www.makeayou-turn.com