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Chris Christie shows off 86-lb bariatric surgery weight loss: Weighs 236 lbs

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is healthy and well after losing about 86 pounds since getting lap band surgery last year.

While Christie has not revealed how much weight he has lost, obesity experts estimate the 51-year-old Republican governor has lost 86 pounds. “He is making progress, absolutely, for what I would expect at this point of the process,” Dr. Jessica Barfield told CNN.

Barfield and weight-loss expert Dr. David Katz estimate that the 5-foot-11 Christie now has a BMI (body mass index) of roughly 33, which would put his weight at about 236 pounds.

From 322 Pounds to 236 After Lap Band

Barfield and Katz made the assessment after reviewing before-and-after photos of Gov. Christie. Dr. Katz, author of Disease-Proof, said Christie's BMI pre-surgery was about 45, and his weight was about 322 pounds. Other experts previously claimed Christie has lost 100 pounds, but he has not confirmed any speculation.

Christie's weight became a hot-button political issue in 2013 after former White House physician Dr. Connie Mariano said Christie would not be a viable presidential candidate because of his obesity.

“I’m worried about this man dying in office," said Dr. Mariano. “I'm worried he may have a stroke. It’s almost like a time bomb waiting to happen unless he addresses those issues before running for office."

Christie has long insisted that despite his weight, he is very healthy. In February 2013, Christie underwent lap-band surgery and said he has never felt better. Christie recently called the bariatric procedure "life-changing."

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.

Gov. Christie, who has been overweight all his life, said the best thing about lap band is that he no longer feels the compulsive need to eat all the time. "I’m not nearly as interested in food as I used to be," he said.

Rosie O'Donnell and Chef Graham Elliot Got Weight-Loss Surgery

Christie joins a long list of celebrities who underwent dramatic transformations after getting weight-loss surgery, including celebrity chef Graham Elliot (who lost 150 pounds just 10 months after gastric sleeve surgery) and comedian Rosie O'Donnell, who lost 40 pounds in seven months following gastric sleeve.

Bariatric surgery has soared recently, as more medical experts embrace the procedure for producing dramatic weight loss and for reversing diabetes and heart disease. There are many emotional disruptions that accompany bariatric surgery's jaw-dropping physical changes, according to Weight Loss Surgery For Dummies, which underscores that losing weight is as much of an emotional transformation as a physical one.

Research confirms that surgery beats diet and exercise for producing fast weight loss, but bariatric surgeons are frustrated by the negative stigma surrounding weight-loss surgery. "People lose sight of the fact that the patients aren't just obese, they're sick," said Dr. Alan Wittgrove. "It's not as easy as just losing weight."

Dr. Wittgrove said it's unfair that weight-loss surgery is viewed as the lazy person's way out of obesity, saying no one would accuse someone who gets cancer surgery as lazy.

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