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Bernadine Spitzsnogel

Bernadine Spitzsnogel
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All material on "The Raven Lunatic" blog is copyrighted by the author. Author of "The Luxury of Daydreams"--available on amazon and all major book sites.

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Salon.com
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FEBRUARY 9, 2013 5:50PM

The Yin and Yang of Chris Christie

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bodytypes

In the last year I've had a change in status. According to all the medical tests and indicators, I've moved from "obese" to "overweight." This is not a distinction without a difference -- in the medical community there is morbidly obese, obese, and overweight and each nomenclature comes with certain characteristics.

For almost all of my life, I've been chubby, fat, overweight, a lard ass, chunky, thick, tall for my age and big-boned.  "Big-boned" is my personal favorite because I'm really not big boned; I possess a medium frame by all accounts, thin wrists, narrow shoulders and narrow feet.

Last year my husband and I decided to change. It is not easy; every day is a new battleground, particularly for me. My husband has lost probably 80 pounds and has significantly reduced his A1C and his tryglycerides. He is still a Type 2 diabetic.

Like my bad knee, some things cannot be totally fixed or cured after years and years of wear and tear on the body. But we've applied the principles of "kaizan" to our lifestyle, and we make small, positive incremental changes all the time.  For example, we are trying to eliminate all white potatoes, so I've learned to like sweet potatoes which are lower on the glycemic index.

Halfway there. Not there yet.

I've lost about half the weight I need to lose; I'm down forty pounds from my high weight.  I've been at the same weight for about five months now, though I am in better physical shape due to a weight-training program. I am not perfect -- I make good choices about ninety percent of the time.

Then I have those days, like yesterday,  when I drink a real Coke (what I call my "Emergency Coke," a full-blown cane-sugar laden 12 ounce Coca-Cola in a glass bottle from Mexico,) eat seven pecan shortbread cookies chased with a handful  of crackers, and still feel unsatisfied, and not really sure why I did it.

In this context I want to talk about Chris Christie, because I am Chris Christie and I feel his pain.

Chris Christie appeared on David Letterman's show last week and got the best of the Hoosier host. Letterman has made verbal mincemeat out of the New Jersey governor for years.

In the midst of some awkward banter between the two, Christie pulled a jelly donut out of his pocket and quipped, "I didn't think this was going to last this long."

The bombastic governor is noted for his mouth, and the media picked this up and soon pundits all over the digital spectrum discussed Christie's weight and possible fitness for the top office in 2016.  Even a former Presidential physician Dr. Connie Mariano (served late in the term of Bush the Elder, all of the term of Clinton, and some of Bush the Younger), went public with concerns about Christie's size. 

Without your own Come to Jesus moment, nothing happens

Is all this concern about what is a private health matter for Christie justified?

Yes, I believe the concern is justified because Christie could possibly experience premature death in office. While not every overweight person will experience the consequences of obesity such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack or stroke or even premature death,  the general public has no way of knowing if Christie is solid muscle from a rigorous training program and not all fat.

Here's some information about obesity from the BBC. 

However, I do want to add a caveat. All of the public scrutiny given Christie is irrelevant until he comes to a point where he has no alternative but to change.

One Meal at a Time, LeNore

Being fat is not a choice.  Let me say that again, being fat is not a choice. There will be readers who are cluck-cluck-clucking at me; people who say that every time you open your mouth it is a choice.

Have you ever met someone who could eat anything and any quantity of anything and still be bean pole thin?  I have a cousin like that, and the cliche says that he "has a hollow leg."

We shared the same overweight grandfather who, when his wife nagged him about eating too much would look at her and said, "One meal at a time, LeNore."

To those of you who are thin and believe that all fat people lack is discipline, I have news for you.  

First, let's look at the log in your eye.

You may advise me on anything but that or select the biggest challenge in your life, the one that affects you the most that you've never been able to conquer.  Conquer it for life and then we'll talk.

Frankly, it is the exact same principle as getting advice on raising children from the childless.  

For me to lose a pound, I have to show extreme discipline and exercise a great deal.  Then to keep that pound off, I have to do better than that. It is not easy.  If it was easy, there would be no overweight people.

I'm not blaming genetics, or my metabolism or transfat. I acknowledge my problem and I know I am the only one who can do anything about it. You being thin has nothing to do with my discipline. 

There's Always a Plan.... 

 What I am saying is this: unless Chris Christie is willing to give it all that he has, every second of every day, no amount of judgment or criticism is going to help him. And even when he makes that commitment, there will be days when for no reason whatsoever he falls off that wagon and has no one to blame but himself.

That is unfortunate for him, as it is unfortunate for me. And it is damn hard.

I guarantee you there are situations in my life that would have been fruitful, easier, or had completely different outcomes had I not shown up in my Mrs. Doubtfire fat suit. He may not become president of the United States because of this.

When interviewed this week, Christie said, "I'm struggling, and there's always a plan."

I believe him.  I always have a plan and for the rest of my life, every hour of every day I will be struggling and working on my plan. 

 

 

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oh! clapclapclapclap Amy!!!! this is so well said. Very timely and perfectly on the *nose* - (which is where pregnant women show weight gain, no kidding :)

I saw that I/V and saw Christie take the weapon off the table before Dave could slay him with it. Letterman stayed the course and essentially the entire segment focused on his weight. The fact that he had to sit sideways in the chair was not lost on anyone. (I actually wonder if that was engineered, as Letterman and staff are wont to do).

He is an emotional guy and likely an emotional eater. He is probably still in the 'in your face' phase of weight loss, not wanting to embrace it just b/c the commonwealth desires it - but hopefully, there will come a time when he does it for himself. As you say, a come to Jesus moment may be lurking. I hope so. I could use one myself. 'Grats on the downward trending on the fat scale ~ it's a *great* accomplishment.
I can always count on you (rather than calories) to provide a healthy serving of truth garnished with well-seasoned experience. I am SO proud of and glad for your change of status. The anticipation of my personal Come-to-Jesus moment continues to be the matter of great personal angst and obsession. THANK you, for your wisdom, your voice, your friendship...and always for your writing. xo
I enjoyed this read and applaud your success thus far. However, I can't agree with the statement "Being fat is not a choice".

Unless a person is one of those rare individuals with metabolism problem and/or one has absolutely no way to choose which foods/drinks go into their system, then being fat is a choice.

My prediction is that Christie will get bariatric surgery, modify his diet, and get down to his fighting weight in time for the 2016 elections. And he will win.
Well, first let me congratulate you on your hardwon weight loss! I am glad if I have been able to help you with this in any way. It's true, some people are just thin, and they may have a naturally lower appetite, or higher metabolism, or just move around a lot. That is as much of a choice for them as it is a choice for those who are hungrier, move less, and are far more capable of storing fat. Then with really big people, there are some more genetics going on where they are just always hungry, and that part of their brain is just always wired for sugar/carbs and it is physically and emotionally painful. Or they lack the stomach receptor that signals the brain that they are full, so the more carbs they eat, the hungrier they get, the more they eat. Misery. They need help, and some empathy, and must recognize they still have to choose their choices.

We don't live in a world of good choices, certain foods will always be a problem no matter the portion. As you know. Then, as we age, the ability to burn fat decreases, and with lower testosterone from age, menopause, stress, injury, surgery, medications like steroids, etc, it is really really hard to do for a long time. The body must take a break from weight loss. It is designed to store fat whenever possible, and recollect lost fat. If you can't, you are likely not going to survive Superstorm Nemo. A fast metabolism isn't a gift, osteoporosis and heart disease follow the skinny minnies, as well as some mood problems. Our obsession with thinness is as moderate as our information about fat/carbs and margarine has been helpful to heart disease.
We do all have to make the decision for ourself, whether it i to lose weight, quit smoking, or learn to play the bagpipes. (How's that for a non-sequiter?:)) I wish the best for Mr. Christie.

And yay to you for the weight loss! Many congrats to you and the hubby.
It's really cool how you feel for Chris Christie, even though he has a Republican world view. While my mom was deep in her Alzheimer's, every time I saw the Reagan family, I felt a connection with them that was deeper and more important than political differences. When Nancy kissed her hand, then rested it on his coffin, I did that same gesture. I can root for Chris Christie same as I can root for you. Forty pounds you say?! Congratulations!
First off, congrats on your weight loss. I know how hard it is.

Second, Christie's weight is a significant issue in a Presidential campaign. The U.S. has had obese Presidents before - Taft, Cleveland - but the Presidency was a much less stressful job in those days. It's pretty much a 24/7 job in the 21st century and you really do have to be fit to handle it. Even so, you can see how it has aged Obama and his predecessors.

Third, I have a special interest in Christie, even though I probably wouldn't vote for him. During his first gubernatorial campaign in 2009, I entered a Washington Post contest for a part-time op-ed writer and I chose Christie's weight and prejudice against the overweight as my topic. My essay was snarky - I wrote that for many, genetics was a factor so trying to make them slim was about as fruitful as trying to make gay people straight - and I concluded with the line, "Now if you'll excuse me, there is a donut calling my name." I'm shocked shocked that I wasn't chosen as one of the finalists.
@ Joisey ~ being fat is not "always" a choice. We can strive to get to a certain healthy weight, but that is highly individualized.

#1 - Thyroid and glucose metabolism disorders are rampant, multiplying by factors even medicine is having a difficult time calculating ~ due largely to the genetically modified organisms introduced into farming in the US in the '70s. There is no way to get around organs, hormones, and functional cycles that have been damaged and reset by GMOs as long as we continue to allow them to be incorporated into our food supply. I'm not a nut, just one (always healthy) person who is now affected by what is going on every day in the wheat and corn fields of America and in the halls of our Congress.

#2 - What some may call 'fat' is what is 'healthy' for those people who are (as Bernadine shows) endomorphs. Someone who is 5'5" and 140# is fat in the entertainment world, and in perfect proportional health in the real world.
Thank you for being brave. I, too, have heard all the nicknames and euphemisms for most of my life. I lost 30 pounds once, but even wearing size 10s wasn't enough motivation to keep it off. I applaud your discipline. I've taken off 12 pounds over the past year, should drop another 20 at least, and you are so right—it's a hard-won victory. People who are thin don't, possibly can't, get it.
This is an excellent piece, Bea. ~r
We have to fight nature to get and stay ideal weight. Saying it's a choice is too simple. Congrats and hope you can keep it up (or down!)
Hearty Congrats on your weight loss! I too, saw the Letterman Show & it shows how self-deprecating he is & so human. He knows he has work to do & I'm betting he will get it done - like you are! R
I just wish we could leave him alone about his weight. It seems irrelevant to me.
[r] excellent. so glad i read this, bs. thank you. I am tall and was called big-boned. hmmmm. 40 lb is very very impressive! congrats! i have been any day now gonna dump the fat baggage I carry around as if the universe will take pity on me and evaporate it suddenly one night while maybe I am sleeping? my closet judging from the sizes looks like it is used by several people. i hang on to smaller clothes assured any day once again I will fit them again! I know I need long-term goals and daily rituals to combat it. if i over-focus then I boomerang in rebellion. (love the industrial coke confession up there!). yes, we all have our obstructions and issues. as i shared with zanelle, i am glad i heard a woman once say that her weight was a buffer for pain and if she hadn't overeaten she may have had a psychotic break! She said she blessed her body for absorbing serious stress during a lifetime. overweight neurotic or slim psychotic? (But it was a defense mechanism long ago, now it is a danger at worst or an inconvenience psychologically and physically at best.) I'll take the former, by the way. neurotic not psychotic. i want to be in that weight losing zone again. vigilance for the eating and exercising, getting into the groove. easy does it but do it is my favorite slogan. best, libby
@Gabby

Thank you for sharing the information on OS, although I'm not one really needing the education.

As an endomorph at 6'1", 240 lbs., my BMI is considered "obese", however I'm about as obese as a smaller linebacker in the NFL. So labels don't faze me.

However, I envision "fat" described by the blog author as over-the-waistline, jiggly, rolls of skin and/or a similarly-described backside/upper-legs that is the direct result of overeating and no/low exercise.

I don't agree with your theory about of GM foods and even if they are a contributing factor, there's work-arounds for those committed to losing "fat". Afterall, the Subway spokesperson lost 240+ pounds eating only/primarily Subway sandwiches (and I'm sure none of those ingredients are organic, pesticide-free, or hormone-free).

Personally, from an appearance standpoint a little "meat" on a person is appealing and may be healthier (according to some recent scientific research findings), so I'm not one interested in holding people to (unrealistic) Hollywood standards. But it is, I think, wrong to state that "being fat is not a choice".
back @ Joisey - tomatoe, tomahto. I still say "always" is a necessary qualification to your statement. And 'fat' is a relative term, depending on who is doing the looking. Also, here's a link for some information you may like to know about. Genetic Roulette ~ The Gamble of Our Lives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnlTYFKBg18&feature=share
Gabby writes "I still say 'always' is a necessary qualification to your statement."

Yeah, and who would disagree with that? I don't and said as much.

Gabby writes "And 'fat' is a relative term, depending on who is doing the looking. "

Again, no argument from me (as evidenced by my own admission of being "obese" according to BMI charts and my preference in attractiveness).

In terms of GM food, thanks for the offer but I don't do OS links to either YouTube or Facebook. And pointing to academic, peer-reviewed, white papers would have more of an impact on not-rush-to-judgement thinkers like me, versus viewing a videoclip of any Tom, Dick, and Harry with a camcorder. There's a place for the latter -- it's called "America's Funniest Videos" or Tosh.0.
Congratulations on your personal success here, Bernadine. I'm one of those lucky people who have never had a problem with weight...and I feel for those not so lucky.

I'm hoping Christie never runs for the presidency...not because of something as superficial as his weight...but because simply is not the guy I want in that office. His popularity here in New Jersey is high among all areas of the political spectrum, which makes me wonder if the people living here are anywhere near as bright as I've always considered him to be.

He is probably one of the better Republicans...but the Republican candidate will ALWAYS be beholden to the fringe crazies on the far right.

Wouldn't matter to me if he lost 100 pounds...or if the Democratic candidate outweighed him by 50. His weight is a peripheral issue at best.
Rated: For eloquence and nuanced analysis.
I was lucky to inherit my mom's small build and metabolism. My sister wasn't and neither of my girls were. You said it well. It certainly isn't all about will power or choices. And it always is a struggle.
Great piece. I remember an overweight person talking about going into a restaurant for a meal and being stared at as if he had no right to be hungry. It made me sick that people are treated this way.
I'm still trying. What a wonderful post.
Love this. One meal at a time Lenore. That's so brilliant. Thank you.
Where are the PC police?

So the question to ask is it alright to discriminate against fat people or just fat people who happen to be Republicans? So why wouldn't we want the best person for the job regardless of his weight?
I actually think that his size humanizes Christie. I think that fat hatred can be intense in this country, and it may, jiu jitsu style, come to increase voters sympathy for him. It increases my sympathy/empathy for him.

I don't think that people should think about what they eat every second of the day. A president should be thinking about national security not the number of calories in the butter pat on his toast. And our brains aren't designed to be able to handle all things equally. Thinking about one thing does subtract from our ability to think about other things. I don't think he should never think about food...but thinking about it all the time could be worse than being fat.

I wish we didn't equate weight with health and with status.
I used to think that certain people could "eat anything thy wanted" but now I see that is largely a myth. The very thin people I know either A) don't eat much or often and/or B) exercise. I was surprised to learn these people I viewed as naturally thin work out on the regular- there's less "naturally thin" people out there than people realize. Naturally disciplined maybe. Naturally thin no way