Skip to main content

Congrats Gov. Christie: You saved your life

By Bryan Monroe, CNN
updated 6:37 AM EDT, Wed May 8, 2013
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has become a well-known face for the Republican party, but in his home state he's still the second-best-known Boss, next to Bruce Springsteen. Pictured above, Christie speaks at a news conference on October 4, 2011, in Trenton, the capital. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has become a well-known face for the Republican party, but in his home state he's still the second-best-known Boss, next to Bruce Springsteen. Pictured above, Christie speaks at a news conference on October 4, 2011, in Trenton, the capital.
HIDE CAPTION
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
Chris Christie: New Jersey's other Boss
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Obese New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie underwent lap band stomach surgery to slim down
  • Christie says he did it for wife and kids, but some think it's for a 2016 presidential run
  • Bryan Monroe had gastric bypass surgery, warns Christie there will be criticisms
  • But Monroe says like himself, Christie did it to live a healthy, long life

Editor's note: Bryan Monroe is the editor of CNNPolitics.com and lost more than 170 pounds after having gastric bypass surgery in 2006.

(CNN) -- Good move, governor. And you didn't even let on.

When we chatted briefly at the White House Correspondents Dinner a few weekends ago, you looked very upbeat and energetic. I had no idea that you had undergone Lap-Band stomach surgery to lose weight

And when I wrote that CNN piece about you on February 8 saying you needed to take your doctor's advice seriously and do whatever you could to drop some pounds, I had no idea you probably had made the decision already and were heading into surgery in eight days.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with Bryan Monroe at the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 27.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with Bryan Monroe at the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 27.

Congratulations!

Now some are saying that your decision to make such a drastic move to drop what could be at least 100 pounds was motivated by your desire to run for president in 2016. Being 5-foot-11 and weighing at least 300 to 350 pounds at 50 might not be conducive to occupying the Oval Office as 45th president of the United States.

But we know better.

You told the New York Post that you did this first for your family, for your kids. Those are the same factors that led to my decision seven years ago. They also motivated men like NBC's Al Roker, Jets coach Rex Ryan and former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to do the same thing -- and it had nothing to do with political aspirations.

"It's so much more important than that," you told the Post.

Bryan Monroe
Bryan Monroe

We'll leave that to history to decide.

Still, you knew that being morbidly obese (yes, that's how you describe people who are 100 pounds or more over their ideal body weight) would be something that would ultimately kill you, probably as a relatively young man.

You don't see a lot of 80-year-old obese people, do you?

And, at 50, with four wonderful children, you have a lot to live for and a lot of life ahead of you. Then there's a possible future in Washington.

For a public person, a governor, these decisions are terribly personal. You had to consider the risks of doing nothing or having a fairly aggressive surgery like gastric bypass -- or doing something a little less aggressive like the Lap-Band, also called the adjustable laparoscopic banding system.

What Christie's surgery means for 2016
Was Christie's surgery political?
What is lap-band surgery?
Gov. Christie reflects on weight

In that procedure, doctors put a silicone tube, which is like a big rubber band, around the top of your stomach, restricting the amount of food you can take in. They fill that tube with saline, squeezing the size of the entry into the stomach even more so you can eat even less. They can also adjust the band to allow for more food.

This can result in the loss of at least 100 pounds within the first year to 18 months, but it does carry some risks. Some say you've already dropped 40 to 50 pounds, which would be typical eight to 10 weeks after the procedure.

But there will be haters.

Some will say that your lifestyle of excess over the years led you to this point, and that it's lazy to go under the knife to resolve such a dramatic problem rather than bear down, hit the treadmill and do it the hard way.

Others will question why you decided to do the Lap-Band procedure rather than the permanent Roux-en-Y gastic bypass. Some people have had to remove the bands because they caused painful irritation and scar tissue in their stomachs. I had the Roux-en-Y procedure, which can be initially more dangerous but is often recommended for those who require dramatic weight loss in a shorter period of time.

And then there will be those who said you did all this just because you want to be president in 2016. A fat president wasn't even a good look for William Howard Taft back in 1909.

Some or all that may be true, but really, governor, we know there's a lot more to the story.

You did this to live.

You did this because 50 is just too young to drop dead of a heart attack, diabetes or a stroke.

You did this for your health. Not to mention that it would be kind of sad to get out-hustled in Iowa or New Hampshire or Florida by Hillary Clinton simply because you needed to stop and catch your breath on the campaign bus.

But most important, you did this so you would be around for your kids, your wife, your family, your state and your country.

And I say, more power to ya...

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bryan Monroe.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:29 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Cornell Belcher says the story of the "tea party wave" in 2010 was bogus; it was an election determined by ebbing Democratic turnout
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Les Abend says pilots want protocols, preparation and checklists for all contingencies; at the moment, controlling a deadly disease is out of their comfort zone
updated 11:36 PM EDT, Sun October 19, 2014
David Weinberger says an online controversy that snowballed from a misogynist attack by gamers into a culture war is a preview of the way news is handled in a world of hashtag-fueled scandal
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Julian Zelizer says Paul Krugman makes some good points in his defense of President Obama but is premature in calling him one of the most successful presidents.
updated 10:21 PM EDT, Sun October 19, 2014
Conservatives can't bash and slash government and then suddenly act surprised if government isn't there when we need it, writes Sally Kohn
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
ISIS is looking to take over a good chunk of the Middle East -- if not the entire Muslim world, write Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider.
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
The world's response to Ebola is its own sort of tragedy, writes John Sutter
updated 4:33 PM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Hidden away in Russian orphanages are thousands of children with disabilities who aren't orphans, whose harmful treatment has long been hidden from public view, writes Andrea Mazzarino
updated 1:22 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
When you hear "trick or treat" this year, think "nudge," writes John Bare
updated 12:42 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
The more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls have become pawns in a larger drama, writes Richard Joseph.
updated 9:45 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Peggy Drexler said Amal Alamuddin was accused of buying into the patriarchy when she changed her name to Clooney. But that was her choice.
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Ford Vox says the CDC's Thomas Frieden is a good man with a stellar resume who has shown he lacks the unique talents and vision needed to confront the Ebola crisis
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
How can such a numerically small force as ISIS take control of vast swathes of Syria and Iraq?
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
How big a threat do foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq pose to the West? It's a question that has been much on the mind of policymakers and commentators.
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
More than a quarter-million American women served honorably in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Now they are home, we have an obligation to help them transition back to civilian life.
updated 4:27 PM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Paul Begala says Rick Scott's deeply weird refusal to begin a debate because rival Charlie Crist had a fan under his podium spells disaster for the Florida governor--delighting Crist
updated 12:07 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
The longer we wait to engage on Ebola, the more limited our options will become, says Marco Rubio.
updated 7:53 AM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Democratic candidates who run from President Obama in red states where he is unpopular are making a big mistake, says Donna Brazile
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
At some 7 billion people, the world can sometimes seem like a crowded place. But if the latest estimates are to be believed, then in less than a century it is going to feel even more so -- about 50% more crowded, says Evan Fraser
updated 12:53 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Paul Callan says the Ebola situation is pointing up the need for better leadership
updated 6:45 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Nurses are the unsung heroes of the Ebola outbreak. Yet, there are troubling signs we're failing them, says John Sutter
updated 1:00 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Dean Obeidallah says it's a mistake to give up a business name you've invested energy in, just because of a new terrorist group
updated 7:01 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Fear of Ebola is contagious, writes Mel Robbins; but it's time to put the disease in perspective
updated 1:44 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Oliver Kershaw says that if Big Tobacco is given monopoly of e-cigarette products, public health will suffer.
updated 9:35 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Stop thinking your job will make you happy.
updated 10:08 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says it's time to deal with another scandal involving the Secret Service — one that leads directly into the White House.
updated 7:25 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Americans who choose to fight for militant groups or support them are young and likely to be active in jihadist social media, says Peter Bergen
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Stephanie Coontz says 11 years ago only one state allowed same sex marriage. Soon, some 60% of Americans will live where gays can marry. How did attitudes change so quickly?
updated 4:04 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Legalizing assisted suicide seems acceptable when focusing on individuals. But such laws would put many at risk of immense harm, writes Marilyn Golden.
updated 9:07 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Julian Zelizer says the issues are huge, but both parties are wrestling with problems that alienate voters
updated 6:50 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Mel Robbins says the town's school chief was right to cancel the season, but that's just the beginning of what needs to be done
updated 11:43 AM EDT, Sat October 11, 2014
He didn't discover that the world was round, David Perry writes. So what did he do?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT