Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie is known for being an outspoken, tough-talking, and divisive public figure who has gained passionate supporters and foes nationwide through his no-nonsense and conservative politics. There’s even talk of him possibly running for president in 2016. He’s normally not one to discuss personal matters or show vulnerability. That is, until this week, when he announced that he had secretly undergone lap-band surgery in February to address his well-known struggle with obesity, and has already lost 30 pounds.
Though he has never denied being overweight, Christie never seemed uncomfortable with his size, even describing himself as “the healthiest fat guy you’ve ever seen.” So, the news came as a surprise to some, leading them to ask what the move will do to his public persona. A persona partially built around being larger-than-life, both in personality and physical size. Advertising executive Donny Deutsch even suggested on NBC’s Today Show that a drastic weight-loss will hurt public perception of Christie, saying, “I actually think his weight is part of his brand…I wonder, that a very slimmed-down Christie – does he have that same presence?”
While Deutsch’s prediction may come true for some people, those who understand what a struggle obesity is and how difficult weight-loss surgery is to go through will probably view Christie differently. They’ll see someone who made a hard choice – one that could potentially hurt his political future – because it was the right thing to do for his health and his family. It was also a measured response to his weight problem, as lap-band surgery doesn’t offer the same degree of weight-loss as other procedures, but is less-invasive and accompanied by fewer side-effects. And that’s precisely the kind of thoughtful decision making being a politician requires.
Only time will tell how Christie’s body will respond to the surgery, and in turn, how it will affect his image. But as someone with many faithful admirers who’s always in the public eye, Christie will hopefully serve as inspiration to those who would benefit from lap-band surgery and are either too afraid to go under the knife, or just uninformed about their options. Knowing that someone so powerful and with so much riding on it can make the decision to have surgery, and seeing his progress over time, will undoubtedly be the push someone else may need.
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Sources: abcnews.go.com and today.com