New Jersey Governor Chris Christie hasn't lost an extreme amount of weight since undergoing lap band surgery last year, but his weight loss is a bariatric-surgery success, surgeons told NBC News Feb. 19.
“I would regard [Christie's weight-loss surgery] as successful,” said Dr. Ninh T. Nguyen, president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Dr. Nguyen estimated that the 5-foot-11 Christie has lost between 90 and 100 pounds from his starting weight of 320 pounds.
While he's not super-skinny, Nguyen said Christie definitely looks healthier, and commended the Republican governor for following a sensible diet and exercising regularly post-surgery. “We’re trying to get somebody into a healthy lifestyle and reduce their obesity-related conditions," said Nguyen. "We’re not trying to make somebody skinny here.”
Dr. Thomas Inge, a bariatric expert at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, agreed. “With everything the man is dealing with, it is a wonder he has done so well,” said Dr. Inge.
Focusing solely on weight loss undermines the proven health benefits of bariatric surgery, including its ability to reverse heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
People lose sight of the fact that the patients aren't just obese, they're sick. It's not as easy as just losing weight. Society in general understands that this is the best treatment for metabolic syndrome."
Gov. Christie underwent lap-band surgery in February 2013 and said he has never felt better. The gastric-band procedure involves having a silicone band placed around the stomach to create a pouch the size of a golf ball, limiting the amount of food the patient is able to ingest.
Christie was inspired to get the operation after seeing how much thinner and healthier New York Jets coach Rex Ryan looked after losing 106 pounds and 10 inches off his waist following his 2010 lap-band surgery.
Gov. Christie, who has been overweight all his life, said the best thing about the lap-band procedure is that he no longer feels the obsessive need to eat. "I’m not nearly as interested in food as I used to be," he told People.
Christie is happy with his progress, but is leery of getting overconfident for fear he may regain the weight. While many have speculated that Christie got the bariatric surgery to further his political career, he said his health and his family were his primary motivation.
"It has nothing to do with the performance of my job," said the father of four. "I did it for myself, for Mary Pat and the kids."