New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he turned to gastric band surgery because nothing else had worked to lose weight, and kept it secret because it was no one's business.
After The New York Post reported the surgery on Tuesday, the Republican governor appeared at a groundbreaking event and took questions about it. He said he underwent the procedure to better his long-term health.
"I tried a whole bunch of other things, they hadn't worked, this was an opportunity to try something different," he said. "This is about being healthier for the rest of your life."
The father of four agreed to the surgery, in which a tube was placed around his stomach to restrict the amount of food he can eat, after turning 50 in September, he said.
Christie has never disclosed his weight. But he joked about his size during a February appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman," pulling out a doughnut and saying his girth was "fair game" for comedians.
Christie was soon angered by comments from a former White House physician who said she worried about him dying in office. The governor said Dr. Connie Mariano should "shut up."
Days later, on Feb. 16, Christie had the surgery. He said the operation lasted 40 minutes and he was home the same afternoon.
Christie declined to say how much weight he has lost since the surgery. He said he doesn't feel that different.
Christie is running for a second term in November, although his name is often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate.
Gastric band surgery is pitched as a minimally invasive procedure. One version of it is sold under the brand name Lap-Band. Its website says the surgery is appropriate for adults who have failed with more conservative alternatives, such as diet and exercise.
-Brian Thompson contributed to this report