Lap-band surgery is getting safer, but it is not a one-and-done procedure. The stomach expands, pushing back against the silicone, and Christie will need more (though less invasive) surgeries to tighten the band over time. Had he chosen a more drastic intervention, like open gastric-bypass surgery, his weight loss would have been faster and perhaps even more permanent; that procedure still promises the highest rate of long-term success. In 2008, a doctor in Washington made a four-inch incision below by sternum, split open my abdominal cavity, and rewired the way I process food. Today, I weigh about 145 pounds -- down from 235 before the surgery.
Christie chose the lap-band procedure because the open surgery, which has a slightly higher risk of death but fewer long-term complications, is more dangerous for the morbidly obese, although a good surgeon can mitigate the potential problems. Full gastric-bypass surgery is pretty much irreversible, while the gastric band can be adjusted. Bypass surgery leaves the stomach intact, but all food is digested elsewhere, which can make for some pretty interesting episodes in a restaurant. There are certain foods that I can't eat, particularly those with high concentrations of sugar, and certain medicines, like aspirin, that will bore a hole in my intestines should I take them. Christie, in contrast, will be able to eat whatever he wants.
Post-surgery recovery can be painful, but the hardest adjustment is psychological. It may sound weird, but it isn't easy letting go of the fat person you once were. Your weight and appearance change rapidly; the person you stare at in the mirror becomes somewhat foreign to you. People around you treat you differently, and even within relationships, spouses and significant others often modify their own body-image expectations to keep pace with yours. I don't want to speculate on Christie's sex life, but one of the biggest sources of post-surgery psychological stress is the expectation people have that the quality of their sex life will improve quickly. (We do want our presidential candidates and governors to be sexually fulfilled, I would assume.)
Rapid weight loss changes mood, temper, and skin elasticity, will produce hair loss, may create vitamin imbalances, and even exacerbates (and may help create) other substance-abuse problems. It takes years to learn how to live as a skinny person. Many of us will never see ourselves the way we actually look. Some of us will feel guilty that we took the "easy" way out, although we know intellectually and physically that surgery was not easy, recovery was hard, and the dietary changes and psychological lessons we must practice daily are as challenging as your conventional fad-diet regimen. We just got a lucky press of the "reset" button, paying tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege.