05/07/2013 at 07:00 AM EDT
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie secretly underwent gastric band surgery in February to try to lose weight.
Christie tells the New York Post
he had turned 50 and wanted to slim down for his wife and four children. The Republican says he was not motivated by thoughts of running for president.
"I've struggled with this issue for 20 years," he told the paper. "For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them."
Christie had the surgery on Feb. 16. A tube was placed around his stomach to restrict the amount of food he can eat. He said the operation lasted 40 minutes and he was home the same afternoon.
Christie has never disclosed his weight but has acknowledged that he has struggled with it. The Post
suggests his weight hovered in the 300-350-lb. range.
In February, Christie was angered by comments from a former White House physician about his health. The governor said Dr. Connie Mariano should "shut up."