New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made a huge announcement to the The New York Post—but not the one everyone has been expecting. The paper reported on Tuesday that the famously rotund Christie underwent "lap-band" stomach surgery three months ago, in a desperate effort to lose weight. The procedure, which involves placing a restrictive tube around the top of the stomach to limit the amount of food a person can take in at one sitting, is considered less risky than the more invasive gastric bypass surgery. Christie didn't reveal what his weight was before or after the surgery, but sources say he's already lost 40 pounds.
Naturally, the first instinct from political pundits is to assume that Christie's dramatic decision is about more than just getting fit. The obvious spin is that this is the first salvo of Christie's 2016 presidential campaign. (The second might be another announcement that he's co-hosting the Today show in a couple weeks.) It doesn't take a strategic genius like Karl Rove to tell you that being overweight would have been a huge liability in a national campaign, but if the summer of 2015 rolls around and he's suddenly looking fit and trim, he might look like a front runner.
The governor insists that's not motivated him however. Christie, who has four children all under the age of 20, says he did it for them and told the Post that staying healthy is "so much more important" than running for office. But that doesn't mean he can't enjoy both the personal and professional benefits of a slimmer figure.
Christie also went to great lengths to keep the procedure secret, even hiding it from his staff, and having his doctor (a well-known weight-loss surgeon) come to house so he wouldn't be seen going to medical offices. He reportedly checked into the surgery clinic on February 16 (the photo above was taken April 30) under an assumed name and then went home the same day. He also consulted another notably large New Jersey resident, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, who had the same surgery in 2010 and lost more than 100 pounds.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.