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The Body Politic

February 11, 2013

Chris Christie is making headlines again this week, but it’s not because of politics. Once again, the pearl-clutching obesity warriors are concern-trolling the New Jersey governor over his weight. In the past, when his size was brought up or joked about, Christie mostly shrugged it off. Now, he’s fighting back.

Dr. Connie Mariano, a doctor who once served as former President Bill Clinton’s physician, and who apparently has the power to make a cross-country diagnosis based on appearance alone, publicly expressed concerns about Christie’s health and said she “doesn’t want him to die in office.” Christie took extreme offense to her remark and replied in his famously no-nonsense way:

 I find it fascinating that a doctor in Arizona who’s never met me, never examined me, never reviewed my history or medical records, knows nothing about my family history could make a diagnosis from 2,400 miles away. She must be a genius. 

He also said:

My children saw that last night. And she sat there and said on TV, ‘I’m afraid he’s gonna die in office.’ My 12-year-old son came to me and said, ‘Dad, are you gonna die?’ If she wants to get on a plane and come here to New Jersey and ask me if she wants to examine me and review my medical history, I’ll have a conversation with her about that. Until that time, she should shut up.

There have always been fat politicians. But because the obesity panic has become so prevalent, some are more concerned with the fat and not what they’re actually doing in Washington. I may not be a fan of all Christie is doing in office, but I could care less that he’s fat while doing it.

But people like Connie Mariano can’t — or won’t — shut up when it comes to fat. Many people of size, famous or not, have been what I like to call “armchair diagnosed.” All of us fatties are riddled with disease and are waiting to drop dead at any moment. When we prove that we are healthy, the armchair diagnosticians then reply “Well OK, you may be healthy NOW, but eventually you will develop diabetes, heart disease, a stroke, etc.” And fat people who do have one or more of these diseases are now made to feel even worse for being sick in the first place.

Genetics be damned to armchair diagnosticians. Fat, and fat alone, is the only cause of any ailment we may come down with, and weight loss is the only cure. The sad part is, many of these fat people feel they deserved to be shamed, so they get weight loss surgery or start a diet plan or sign up for The Biggest Loser. Sometimes those decisions lead to disastrous results which can create health problems that probably weren’t even there in the first place.

Chris Christie isn’t on board with total Fat Acceptance just yet. He says despite being very healthy, he “has a plan.” But whatever that plan is, it’s none of our business, just his and his doctor’s. We need to stop treating bodies, especially fat bodies, like they’re public property. How much we weigh, how much we eat, and how we choose to conduct our lives (so long as it’s not breaking the law) should not be up for world discussion unless we decide to make it up for world discussion.

My grandfather said this about the Chris Christie weight controversy: “It’s nobody’s business. If he wants to lose weight, it should be his choice and nobody else’s.” To which I replied, “If everyone would focus their energy off weight and onto actual issues plaguing the country, think of all that would get done.”

Maybe that’s something Connie Mariano and her fellow pearl-clutchers should take to heart, and be more concerned with the body politic and not just the body itself.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Leila Haddad permalink
    February 11, 2013 10:22 am

    Again, not paticulairly fond of his politics, but I’m glad he’s finally making a stand against the fat bullying, However, I hope he doesn’t cave and become a spokes person for Weight Watchers. And I am so praying that the gorgeous and gifted Adele doesn’t either.

  2. February 11, 2013 12:03 pm

    Even assholes like Chris Christie deserve to live their lives without body shame.

  3. Elizabeth permalink
    February 11, 2013 12:50 pm

    I agree with the blog and the comments, and would like to add that Bill Clinton, who lost weight under Connie Mariano’s care, looks like absolute crap. He is five years older than my husband and looks 25 years older. I think there are many people out there, especially doctors, who think if they are thin they will live forever. I would also like to add that Chris Christie says he has been dieting for 30 years.

    • Kala permalink
      February 12, 2013 6:42 am

      Well, arguably Bill Clinton looks like crap because he’s a former president, 16 years older than Christie, and has pretty severe heart disease. He had a quadruple bypass in the early aughts, and had stents put in more recently. I think he would look like crap even if he didn’t lose weight.

      He’s very thin because he was put on a very restrictive diet/exercise plan to deal with his heart disease. You can argue that weight loss need not have been a component of that diet, but I’m not going to argue that because I am not and will never be his doctor, nor am I privy to the details of how his diet worked.

      • Elizabeth permalink
        February 12, 2013 10:29 am

        There are people with heart disease in their mid-sixties who look much better than Bill Clinton. Being interested in Asian medicine, the cheeks are reflective of the gut. If they are red and inflamed, this means the gut is not doing well. The enteric nervous system (much larger than the central nervous system) resides in the gut and is responsible for running the body’s systems, including the circulatory system.

        What interests me is that someone can possess piles of money and access to the so-called very best health care, and not look or be as well as ordinary people who make their own informed choices regarding their health rather than depend upon doctors.

        • Kala permalink
          February 12, 2013 11:04 am

          How many of those people in their 60s with heart disease, that look better to you, spent 8 years as the POTUS? Can you come up with many professions that are more stressful than being POTUS? Let’s also remember that you thinking he looks like crap is a subjective opinion, and not a factual statement. I personally don’t think he looks bad.

          Also, it’s fine and dandy that you have an interest in alternative medicine. But I will say here that I personally think it’s a load. Any attempt to tie Clinton’s face color to the status of his GI tract, is wild speculation, nothing else.

          I responded to you initially, because I thought you are grasping at straws in an irresponsible fashion. You made a health evaluation based upon looks only (something size advocates abhor), of a very exceptional man (as in, having so many exceptions to the average person that you can not necessarily compare him to the average person), in relation to his weight loss, to make the point that the weight loss appears to be doing him no good.

          From my understanding in having read about him, Clinton’s health and quality of life have improved from his health intervention regarding his heart disease. But you seem to insist otherwise, with no evidence, other than that *you* think he looks like shit.

          • Elizabeth permalink
            February 12, 2013 1:13 pm

            My apologies. I will not make the same mistake twice.

  4. Stephanie permalink
    February 11, 2013 11:26 pm

    So, while I agree with the fact that his weight is nobody’s business, I know that his politics interfere in my bodily integrity by not allowing me to control reproduction. I find it ironic that he is concerned about people butting into his private affairs yet feels that it’s perfectly ok to butt into women’s uteruses (uterii?)

    • Elizabeth permalink
      February 12, 2013 10:30 am

      Right on, Stephanie!

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