More of America is closer to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's physique than having a body like that dude in the Calvin Klein Super Bowl ad.
Our own battles with the bulge help us understand exactly why the rotund Republican lawmaker lashed out at the former White House doctor who said she feared Christie's excess weight could eventually lead to myriad health problems and possibly premature death.
And it's also why most of us laughed with, not at Christie, when he downed a doughnut on David Letterman's late-night TV show and then declared himself "the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen in your life."
Sorry, Mr. Governor, but "healthiest fat guy" is a bit -- OK, a lot; you don't do a little of anything -- self-delusional.
I know how hard it is to stop consuming things that taste so darn good. Every time I go grocery shopping, I fight the urge to head down the ice cream aisle and load up my cart.
But I know I have to resist if I want to meet my goal of meddling in the hubby's life for many, many years to come.
And in your overworked heart of hearts, you know that being a portly politician is not good personally or for your future electoral aspirations.
Sure, all of us who would like to shed some excess poundage can relate to a candidate who shares our diet struggles. But if you are entertaining a presidential run, we also want a leader we can be confident will be up to the physical as well as mental challenges of the job.
You actually lost weight a couple of years ago by working with a trainer and paying closer attention to your eating habits.
Things like Hurricane Sandy, however, are diet killers. I can sympathize. I'm a stress eater myself. And a national political campaign is nothing if not stress filled.
Deductible weight loss efforts: So, Governor, you might think about doing something drastic.
And your Uncle Sam can help.
Here's the skinny.
In cases where a physician prescribes a patient take weight loss action for health reasons, the dieting costs are deductible medical expenses. The medical rationale covers such conditions as obesity, hypertension, heart disease and high cholesterol. And the doctor's orders must be in writing.
Once you have that paperwork instructing you, for medical reasons, to lose weight then such things as enrolling in a commercial weight loss program like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or undergoing weight-reduction surgery can be claimed on your Schedule A.
Of course, you must make sure your expenses are legitimate. Just buying Lean Cuisine at your supermarket won't cut it with the tax examiner. Neither can you write off your Paul Ryan-endorsed P90X home exercise equipment or health club dues.
What does the IRS accept as an allowable health-related weight loss expense? Weight loss program fees, as well as the costs of a nutritionist or dietician who counsels you, FDA-approved weight loss drugs and, of course, your follow-up appointments with your surgeon and/or primary care physician.
Finally, remember that your medical expenses must be more than a certain percentage of your adjusted gross income (AGI). For 2012 tax returns, the medical deduction threshold is 7.5 percent of your AGI. Under a provision of the health care reform act, that percentage goes to 10 percent for 2013 and beyond tax years.
That means if you make $50,000, you must have more than $3,750 in medical expenses before you can deduct them on your 2012 (7.5 percent limit) tax return. The cut off is $5,000 for 2013 (10 percent threshold) filings.
Note the words "more than." That means that only that amount above the threshold counts.
Using the example amounts above, if you have 2012 medical expenses of $3,800 then only $50 is deductible. For 2013 filings, medical expenses this year of $5,100 would give you just $100 in medical deductions.
Those thresholds do make it more difficult to deduct medical expenses. But it can be done.
Gov. Christie and anyone else thinking about a major weight loss effort should check them out.
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