New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has lost a lot of weight in the last three years. Did he do it for a presidential run? Reuters

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has noticeably lost weight in the last few years as a potential 2016 presidential run has crept closer and public discussion about his belly swirled. The Republican says that he has been losing weight to improve his health, but political operatives have noted that slimming down would be a good choice for the governor if he wanted to hang his hat in the White House. Christie is expected to announce his candidacy on Tuesday from his hometown of Livingston, New Jersey.

"You don't have to be built like a track star to be president, which Bill Clinton proved, but you have to be within a certain range [of weight] because appearance matters," Patrick Murray, a Monmouth University pollster told the Asbury Press last year. "Chris Christie was outside that range."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2013, right after getting surgery. Getty
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2015. Reuters

Perhaps one of the most publicized moments surrounding Christie’s weight came in February 2013, just before he received the minimally invasive Lap-Band surgery, where a band is put around the stomach to restrict space and let the person feel full quicker. On "Late Night Show With David Letterman," Christie pulled out a donut and began eating it before Letterman was even able to finish a sentence addressing the fact that he had made so many jokes about the governor’s weight on his show.

“I didn’t know this was going to be so long,” Christie joked. He told Letterman that he didn’t mind the jokes about his weight, so long as they were actually funny. He later said that he was “basically, the healthiest fat guy you’ve ever seen in your life.”

A couple of days later, Christie lashed out at a former White House doctor who expressed concern for his health and whether or not he would die of a heart attack or stroke while in office. Christie told her to “shut up,” and said that she had scared his kids into thinking he was going to die even though she had never medically examined him.

Christie insisted that he was not unhealthy, though he had mentioned to Letterman that his doctors had told him that as he got older, things could change. He checked himself in for surgery 10 days after he told the doctor to shut up on television.

Rumors have circulated that the Christie may have stayed off of the national stage in 2012 -- when he was widely urged by Republicans to join the race -- because of his weight. Others have theorized that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may have passed on Christie as a vice presidential running mate in part because of Christie's size.

A doctor in November estimated that Christie may have lost up to 100 pounds since the Lap-Band surgery. The New Jersey governor has kept his poundage under wraps, though, so exactly how much he has lost is unknown.