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May 7th, 2013
06:23 PM ET

Chris Christie changes mind on weight loss surgery

If you are going to run a grueling 18-month long race, you have to get in shape, and it appears New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is doing just that.

Sources close to the governor confirm to CNN that on February 16, he underwent a secret lap band procedure, which internally binds the stomach to limit consumption. At a press conference Tuesday, Christie said he was concerned about his long-term health, and did the procedure for him and his family.

"I'd tried a whole bunch of other things, they hadn't worked. This was an opportunity to try something different," Christie said.

"I turned 50 years old, and it made me think," said Christie. "I got confronted with, you know, your own mortality as you start to age. From my perspective it's about Mary Pat, the kids, and me."

Last July, Christie spoke with CNN's Jake Tapper for ABC's Nightline, and was honest about his weight problems.

"I've struggled with it for the last 30 years, on and off. And I'm trying. It may not look like I am sometimes, but I am," Christie said.

Asked if he ever thought about gastric bypass surgery, or any other similar surgery, Christie said no, adding that such a procedure "just doesn't strike me as something I want to do, too risky."

But now New Jersey's famously fat governor has had a change of heart about having a medical procedure, and will likely have a change of figure, too.

Christie laughed off David Letterman's twinkie jokes just weeks before checking into a hospital under a fake name for the 40-minute stomach surgery.

The feisty blue state Republican has faced untold scrutiny over his size. His obesity has been frequent fodder for late night comedians, like Conan O'Brien who joked, "Chris Christie is under fire for calling a politician he doesn't like an 'S.O.B.' Meanwhile, Christie calls a politician he does like a 'B.L.T.'"

But then there's the elephant in the room: 2016. Though Christie said the decision was "not a career issue," his obesity has been a source for political diggs, and concern. In Feburary, former White House physician Dr. Connie Mariano said Christie's weight may cause him to die in office. The governor reacted angrily, calling her comments were "irresponsible."

"My kids saw that, my 12-year-old asked if I was going to die. I mean come on, if you want to come and examine me fine, we can have a discussion. But until then she should shut up," Christie said at the time.

But now, thoughts of his wife and four children led him to finally go under the knife.

Christie is not alone, more than 500,000 people have undergone lap band surgery world wide. The average lap band patient loses 1.5 to 2 lbs per week. Sources tell CNN Christie has already lost 40 lbs.

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