New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie is trying to set an example for his state, his country -- and his kids. The Garden State governor underwent a top secret lap-band surgery back in February for the sake of his four kids, he revealed to The New York Post in an interview on Monday, May 6.
"I've struggled with this issue for 20 years," he told the paper. "For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them."
Christie, who turned 50 last September, explained that his family and friends had long urged him to undergo the procedure, and he finally acquiesced this past Presidents Day weekend, on Feb. 16. The procedure -- different from the more invasive gastric bypass surgery -- involves using a "lap band" (typically a silicone tube) to tie off the top of the stomach to restrict how much it can expand.
An adviser to Christie told ABC News that the governor has lost "more than 30 pounds -- so far."
"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 told the Post of the difference the procedure has made so far.
Prior to going under the knife, Christie even had private conversations with Jets coach Rex Ryan, sources tell The Post. Ryan, who weighed in at 350 pounds prior to getting the procedure in 2010, famously slimmed down, losing about 100 pounds in the process.
Christie opened up about his weight loss struggles in a July 2012 interview with Barbara Walters, telling the TV journalist that he had been "trying" to lose weight for 30 years. "It's something that's not easy. If it were easy, I'd already have it fixed."
Political pundits are already speculating that Christie's decision to undergo the procedure may not be entirely health-related, however -- suggesting it also hints at his presidential ambitions.
"He went in and had outpatient surgery on Presidents Day weekend, to make sure everything is sufficiently parallel here," CBS News political director John Dickerson commented on CBS This Morning. "You know, remember that (former Mississippi Governor) Haley Barbour said, 'If I lose 50 pounds, it's because I'm running for president or I got sick.' Chris Christie in typical fashion is cutting to the chase doing this."