New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie secretly underwent lap-band stomach surgery this year to lose weight, the politician himself confirmed to the N.Y. Post.
He told the newspaper he was thinking of his four young children and how it was time to start improving his health when he decided to have the procedure.
“I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years,” he said. “For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them.”
The Republican also insisted that, contrary to what observers may say, the effort to slim down was not motivated by thoughts of the 2016 election.
“It’s so much more important than that,” he said.
Christie checked in to a surgery center on February 16, possibly under a false name, to have the operation that has already helped him drop 40 pounds.
The operation places a silicone tube around the top of his stomach, where it restricts the amount of food he can eat at one time and makes him feel fuller, faster.
“A week or two ago, I went to a steakhouse and ordered a steak and ate about a third of it and I was full,” Christie said of his newly tamed appetite.
Christie has struggled with his weight for decades.
He sometimes jokes about it, while other times, it’s a sensitive topic. Insiders say it may have been keeping the straight-talking executive from higher office.
Despite Christie’s denials, political fundraisers say that the surgery is a clear sign that he’s going to join the 2016 race, and will do whatever it takes to win.
“This means he’s running for president. He’s showing people he can get his weight in control. It was the one thing holding him back,” a top donor said.
Christie has never revealed his weight, but estimates have run from 300 pounds to even higher. He said it was not an easy decision, but it was the right one.
The N.J. Governor hired renowned laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon George Fielding, head of NYU Medical Center’s Weight Management Program.
He managed to keep the surgery under wraps for nearly three months, but when word finally leaked and he was asked, Christie spoke candidly about it.
First up, though, will be winning reelection in New Jersey this fall.