(Photo: Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports)
Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie secretly underwent surgery to lose weight at the urging of his family and friends, he told The New York Post.
The Republican, who is running for a second term in November, underwent lap-band stomach surgery in February. A GOP source, who requested anonymity so Christie can speak for himself, confirmed the news Tuesday.
"I've struggled with this issue for 20 years," Christie told the newspaper. "For me this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them."
Christie is the father of four children. He said he was not motivated by a potential presidential bid in 2016.
Christie reportedly consulted with the same doctor who performed the same surgery in 2010 on New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, and he consulted with Ryan. In lap-band surgery, a silicone tube is placed around the top of the stomach so it restricts the amount of food that can be eaten at one time.
Christie told the newspaper he recently ate only a third of a steak and felt full. He did not disclose his weight loss, but the New York Post quoted sources who said the governor has lost 40 pounds.
The governor's weight has been a perennial topic and has provided fodder for late-night comedians. Christie has been open about his struggles with his weight and last year rejected the idea that he was too fat to be president. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Christie said his performance after Superstorm Sandy -- in which he worked long days managing the state's recovery -- showed he could be effective.