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Chris Christie: Weight-loss surgery allows 'active next half' of my life

Rock Center

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says that his decision to have weight loss surgery was a personal one made for his wife and children.

“Last fall, I was turning 50 and it really was a moment of reflection for me,” Christie said in an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Brian Williams airing Friday, May 10 on Rock Center with Brian Williams.  “And so I really just felt like for Mary Pat and for the kids that I needed to take a more significant step to try to get my weight under control so that I could have a really active next half of my life.”

Before going through with the surgery this February, Christie says that he consulted with Dr. George Fielding at New York University, a pioneer in weight-loss surgery.

“I said, ‘Well, do I really think I need this?’ And he said to me, ‘If you came in here with cancer and I told you that I had a 40-minute surgery that'd give you a 90 percent chance of cure, would you sign up?’ And it just really crystallized it for me.  And I said, ‘Yeah, I would.’  And he said, ‘Well, then why wouldn't you do that to cure obesity?’ Christie recalled.

Christie, who is often toted as a Republican presidential contender, has often joked about his struggle with his weight – even appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman eating a donut earlier this year. By the time of that appearance, he’d already made the choice to have Lap-Band surgery.

“I did not want to take the risk of becoming unhealthy and the ramifications that would have for Mary Pat and for my four kids.  And as you know, I still have children that are in elementary school, so I got a long road here as a father and I don’t want to miss any of it,” he said.

Adam Rivera/NBC News

The governor said that he also consulted with New York Jets coach Rex Ryan who has had lap-band surgery himself. Christie says that he’s still adjusting to not being hungry.

“The biggest thing about it for me has been I’m just not very hungry anymore and that’s a huge change for me,” Christie said. 

While there has been a noticeable reduction in the governor’s weight, Christie says he’s taking his weight-loss one day at a time.

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“I’m not taking any victory lap, I’m not talking about numbers, you know, pounds, all the rest of it.  People will notice how I’m doing.”

Editor's Note: Brian Williams' interview with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will air Friday, May 10 at 10pm/9CDT on NBC News' Rock Center with Brian Williams.

Mel Evans / AP

The N.J. politician's straight-talk and tough policies put him in the national spotlight — but after considering a presidential bid, the governor decided he wasn't ready.