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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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May 7th, 2013
07:04 PM ET

New Jersey governor tightening his belt

New Jersey governor Chris Christie recently decided to undergo weight loss surgery after years of enduring the media's hefty jokes. But it wasn't late night television's search for laughs that convinced him to finally go under the knife.

Christie said he had a wake-up call after his 50th birthday, and realized he needed to make several lifestyle changes if he wanted to be around to see his children grow.

Family was the most important reason for the procedure, but there was an elephant in the room that Christie refused to acknowledge in Tuesday’s presser: the 2016 presidential race.

“Whatever size I happen to be when I have to make decisions about what to do next with my career I doubt that will play any role or effect in what I decide to do,” said Christie. “It's not a career issue for me. It is a long-term health issue for me.”

The governor is currently one of more than 78 million American adults who are considered obese, and one of more than 500,000 people who have undergone lap band surgery worldwide.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, explained why the procedure might have appealed to Christie.

In the case of gastric bypass surgery, “you are actually operating on the stomach itself, using a stapler of sorts to small pouches within the stomach, and it's just more of an invasive operation,” he said. “The risk is higher up front.”

Lap band surgery is laparoscopic, which means doctors avoid cutting an incision by placing small scopes in various parts of the abdomen, Gupta said. A band is then placed around the stomach, creating a smaller funnel for the food to travel, thus slowing the digestion process. The body’s production of the hunger hormone also lessens, according to Gupta.

There are cons to the lap band surgery however, when compared to more invasive procedures.

“With the lap band operation, the weight loss is going to occur more slowly - it's going to be one to two, maybe three pounds per week,” Gupta said. “It requires visits back to the doctor every month, every few months after the first year, so there is a lot more follow up with the lap band as well.”

Christie was somehow able to keep this whole process under wraps for three months. He checked into a facility under a pseudonym and the procedure only took 40 minutes.

Sources say Christie has already lost 40 lbs.

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