James Argent is set to have a gastric surgery to lose weight, saying he ‘doesn’t want to die’.

The Towie star has scheduled a consultation next week to explore having a gastric bypass or a sleeve gastrectomy to reduce the amount of food he can eat, after reaching 26 stone. 

Arg, 33, has struggled with his weight over the years and has yo-yoed, but the shutdown of his boxing gym and swimming pool in lockdown left him without his exercise routine, while he replaced alcohol and drugs – which he quit last year – with fast food.

Speaking to the Sun, Arg said: ‘I don’t want to die. An op is the only way I can lose weight.

‘I see pictures of myself and it’s too upsetting. The other day I had to ask my manager to put my shoes on for me because I just couldn’t do it — my belly is too big. I can’t do up my own shoe laces.

‘I don’t want to die, it’s as simple as that. I’ve been told by doctors that I am morbidly obese and need to lose weight, but I have an eating disorder, so I can’t do it.’

Arg explained that he cannot maintain his weight, as he fluctuates between no exercise and comfort eating and ‘starving’ himself while constantly working out.

The reality star will choose between a gastric bypass, which staples part of the stomach together to make it smaller, or a sleeve gastrectomy, an operation where a large section of the stomach is removed.

Both surgeries – which cost around £10,000 each – will restrict the amount of food Arg can eat. 

Celebrities who lost weight through gastric surgeries include Fern Britton, Rosie O’Donnell, Kelly and Sharon Osbourne; Sharon later had her gastric band removed as it made her ‘sick’. 

The surgeries are not a quick fix, as patients must continue exercising to lose weight, while some patients are left with excess skin. 

Arg said that his weight gain has had an effect on his mental health, as he waits until it is dark to go outside so nobody recognises him.

He also struggles to date as he is ‘too self-conscious’ to take his clothes off in front of somebody else.

The star checked into a rehab facility in late 2019 to fight a cocaine addiction, and has sober ever since, marking a year and one month of sobriety.

The stint made him reassess his lifestyle and Arg underwent a juice cleanse and began exercising; however, lockdown closures affected his fitness routine, and the singer turned to ordering takeaways and goodies on delivery apps.

Arg’s weight journey was depicted on The Only Way Is Essex, throughout his relationships with Lydia Bright and Gemma Collins.

He was one of the main cast members between 2010 and 2014, when he was suspended from the show, but returned a year later, staying on Towie until 2018. 

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