JAMES Argent looked like he was working up a sweat as he kicked off his gruelling fitness regime in a desperate bid to lose weight.
The Sun revealed 33-year-old Arg has been told he could die after ballooning to 26 stone.
After turning to his best friend and former Towie co-star Mark Wright for help, Arg is determined to drop 12 stone.
He headed out for a jog in his hometown of Essex after blaming his recent weight gain on the Covid crisis, which shut swimming pools and his boxing gym, destroying his exercise routine.
The reality TV star admitted he stopped exercising in lockdown — and replaced drink and drugs with fast food.
He told The Sun last week: “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.”
He added: “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.
“I’ll either starve and work out three times a day and be really skinny, or do no exercise and eat takeaways every day.
"I can’t maintain my weight — I need help.
“Nobody is trying to stop me from having an op. Everyone knows it’s the only way I can lose weight.”
Arg, 33, is now agonising over which gastric surgery to have.
He is torn between a bypass, which staples part of the stomach together to make it smaller, or a sleeve gastrectomy where a large section of the stomach is removed.
Both operations, which cost around £10,000 each, will reduce the amount of food he can eat.
Arg said his shocking weight gain left best friend Mark Wright and footballer brother Josh, who run a fitness company together, in tears when they stepped in to help their childhood pal.
He said: “Mark is my inspiration — he’s got his life together, he’s fit and healthy, he’s got a gorgeous wife and a successful career.
"There’s no reason why I can’t achieve all of those things too when I’ve lost weight.
“He wants to help me and told me ‘get on the scales’. It’s embarrassing to say, but they were so upset when they saw I was nearly 27 stone.
“We used to banter because I was always the chubby one, but this time Mark just said ‘Arg, this isn’t even funny anymore, this is serious.’
“And he’s right. Nobody wants to work with me or take me seriously. I don’t have a girlfriend because I’m too self-conscious and unconfident to take my clothes off.
“I bought this big family home a few years ago to settle down in, but now I’m living here alone with no family in it.”
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