BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dramatic weight loss for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The politician revealed that he secretly went under the knife to shed the pounds.

Gigi Barnett takes a look at the surgery and the battle to keep it off.

“I feel great about myself,” said Governor Christie.

Thanks to a recent decision to secretly undergo weight loss surgery, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is 40 pounds lighter. Issues of weight have dogged the popular governor for years. Now he’s shedding the pounds.

Critics say Christie is slimming down for a possible presidential run in 2016.

The 50-year-old governor fired back, insisting the lap-band surgery has everything to do with his family and a healthy lifestyle.

“It may sound odd to some people, but this is a hell of a lot more important to me than running for president. It’s not a career issue for me, it is a long term health issue for me,” he said.

“I went from a size 26 down to like a size 12,” said Laura Pearl.

Her weight loss was just as dramatic. Doctors say the surgery is only for extremely obese patients.

Pearl weighed in at 280 pounds when she had the lap-band surgery eight years ago at Sinai Hospital.

Doctors inserted a small band around her stomach, cutting down the amount of food she can eat. And with much exercise, the weight went away.

“For those folks sitting out there thinking having surgery is the easy way out, it is absolutely not the easy way out. You still need to dedicate yourself,” she said.

While Christie has lost more than 40 pounds since his surgery back in February, doctors say those results are not typical and that patients should only expect to lose about one to two pounds every week.

“The band is an option where it takes time to lose the weight. Some people like that better, that way I don’t have to tell as many people. It’s a fantastic life change,” said Dr. Christina Li, Sinai bariatric surgeon.

For some patients, the band can be removed. But doctors say if you get it, expect to have it for the long haul, and that means possibly life.

The lap-band option is the least invasive of all weight loss surgeries.

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