The billionaire and the lap band surgery

James and Erica Packer

So James Packer – 44-year-old billionaire and executive chairman of Crown – has spoken candidly about the lap band surgery he had done last November and the 35kgs he’s lost since.

What he said to slightly fascinating – probably because it’s so honest.

The father of two, who is married to Erica Baxter, says he feels “fitter, happier and more active”. He now does 90-minutes of exercise per day and eats smaller meals.

“I used to eat a big portion, and the message used to go from my stomach to my brain: ‘I’m hungry’ … Now, my stomach sends messages to my brain saying the whole time: ‘I’m full’. How good’s that?

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“I know a couple of people who’ve had this and it’s worked for them, and it’s been a godsend for me,” he said. “I wouldn’t give a tip to other people. I think that health is a personal choice, and I’m not an expert. All I can say is that it’s been terrific for me.”Mr Packer confessed that keeping slim had been a constant battle.

“I’ve been really fit a couple of times before in my life, and then I’ve battled with my weight for the past five years.”

The new slimline Mr Packer’s current exercise regime includes “cross-training and weights”.

He denied his late father Kerry’s famous battles with health had influenced his lifestyle change.

“No, no, no, no, no, no. I’m an idiot. I (still) smoke and do all those things I shouldn’t do,” he said, laughing.

He confesses to wanting to kick his cigarette habit, without great confidence.

“I’ve been off them for 10 days but, you know, I don’t want to say I’m off them, mate, because you know I’ll probably have another one in a week,” he said.