Governor says there's less of him to hate: He lost 50 poundsJanuary 12, 2017 1:54am

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage says he had weight loss surgery and jokes now "there's 50 less pounds of me to hate."

The fiery Republican revealed the bariatric surgery on Wednesday on Portland-based WLOB-FM. He said he underwent the procedure on Sept. 29 and returned to work the next day.

LePage, 68, was spurred to action after his doctor told him he needed to lose weight to avoid diabetes. He said he now weighs about 200 pounds and hopes to stay there.

LePage is not the only governor to undergo weight loss surgery.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had lap-band surgery in February 2013. Christie, also a Republican, told NBC News in 2015 that it was "the best thing" he's ever done for himself.

New guidelines released in 2016 say weight loss surgery should become a more routine treatment option for diabetes, even for some patients who are mildly obese.

Such operations can cost $20,000 to $25,000.

Insurance coverage has become more common over the past decade but remains spotty. It's unclear whether LePage's surgery was covered by insurance or if he paid out of pocket.

There was no immediate comment from LePage's office.

LePage said one advantage of the weight loss is he'll look dapper in a tuxedo if he and his wife attend one of the balls during the inauguration of Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

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