Did Mike Huckabee Have Bariatric Surgery?

fatandskinnyhuckabeeIn 2005, I came very close to undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

I was enrolled in a bariatric program through a local clinic and had completed my major pre-operative screening. Those tests, however, showed that I was suffering from major depression; while it wasn't disqualifying (I could have had a psychologist sign off on my surgery-worthiness), it stopped me dead in my tracks. I decided to put the process on hold and pursue psychotherapy. After finding a good therapist and finally finding the right selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, I was no longer interested in pursuing bariatric surgery. Don't get me wrong -- I still was, and am, fat. But I didn't think that was the worst thing in the world anymore. And as time went on, I grew more accepting of me -- and realized that I had been insouciant about gastric bypass in no small part because, being depressed, it represented a chance for an "accidental suicide," if you will. It wasn't that I wanted to die, just that, well, I sure could, and that didn't bother me much. Once I was no longer depressed, I no longer thought that death was a minor concern. I'm not afraid of dying, but I'm in no hurry to do so, and I'm certainly not going to undergo major abdominal surgery so I can be thin and unhealthy.

I mention this because, as has been well-documented, fat people aren't exactly beloved these days. Take Mike Huckabee.

There's no way he'd even be in this race if he was still the 300-pound governor. A fat president? Horrors! And so, given that he wanted to be president, he had to lose the 110 pounds that he lost. It's understandable.

But what isn't understandable is lying about how he did it. And I think that's exactly what he's doing.

Mike Huckabee claims to have lost his weight via good old-fashioned diet and exercise. And I suppose it's not impossible that he did. But folks, I've lost 50 pounds more times than I can remember, and I can tell you that it's incredibly hard work, and that eventually, the weight comes back. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, on the other hand, may not make you healthy -- indeed, it may kill you -- but it will make you thin.

Blogger Plutarch has a pretty devastating rundown of the many pieces of evidence that Mike Huckabee had gastric bypass surgery. The whole piece should be read in full, but this is the part I want to highlight:

Details on Huckabee's diet are found in the numerous human-interest stories his weight loss spawned. He does not eat at banquets and receptions. At events, he will have special food supplied for him from a cooler kept in his car or does not finish his meals. He eats six small meals per day. Avoidance of restaurant-type banquet meals is telling because such meals create difficulties for bariatric surgery patients. These diet peculiarities bear little resemblance to maintence [sic] of weight loss, but tally quite well with characteristic bariatric limitations.

Those of you who have gone through Roux-en-Y, or looked carefully into the procedure, know this tracks exactly with what they tell you meals will be like. Too much food at one time, especially sugars, can create "dumping syndrome," causing hypoglycemic symptoms. Or it can cause vomiting, because, well, if the food can't go down fast enough, it's got to go somewhere. Were Huckabee in the long-term maintenance phase of weight-loss, a banquet wouldn't be an insurmountable hurdle. And he wouldn't be eating six meals a day. He seems very much the model of a successful gastric bypass patient. He even had the post-op hernia surgery.

So who cares if Huckabee had gastric bypass surgery? I do. Look, I know that I could go have gastric bypass surgery next month if I so desired. And if it didn't kill me, it would make me thinner. Not healthier -- thinner. But the reason that I was willing to have my stomach and six feet of intestine bypassed in the first place was, well, people like Mike Huckabee, who said that any good, decent, hard-working person could and should lose weight. And if you didn't, there was something wrong with you. It was a moral failing.

Huckabee has used his weight loss to prove his moral fiber, and he's done so at the expense of every obese American who can't just lose 100 pounds through will power. Now, maybe he lost it the "old-fashioned way," through diet and exercise. And I'm sure, if so, he'll be happy to provide medical records to prove he had no surgery -- indeed, I'm sure he'd be proud to.

Being fat is not a moral failing. I'm actually to the point where I believe that. But Huckabee's story has been all about fat as a moral failing. Frankly, I want to know if he's telling the truth about his weight loss because lying is also a moral failing. And right now, I think that's exactly what he's doing.

(Cross-posted from MinMon)


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