Reality TV star James Argent says he has booked “life-changing” surgery which he hopes will help him lose weight after he reached 27 stone during lockdown.
The 33-year-old, who rose to fame on The Only Way Is Essex, is considering options including a gastric sleeve and a gastric bypass in a bid to make a long-term change.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain, he said healthcare professionals had told him catching Covid-19 at his weight could prove “fatal”.
He told co-hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid: “Especially since I opened up about how much I weigh recently, I have been speaking regularly to the doctors and nurses at Transform Hospital Group.
“They have been giving me advice and they are basically saying the size I am at the moment, it could be fatal. If I was to catch Covid I could be a goner.
“It’s not just that. My mum and dad, they have had heart problems themselves so it is in my family, hereditary, in my genes and stuff, so I have just got to tackle this now before it is too late.”
Argent, known to fans as “Arg”, said gastric surgery was a “really serious operation” and he had not rushed into the decision.
“At the moment I haven’t decided specifically what one it is going to be,” he said over videolink from his home in Essex.
“There are options of a sleeve, bypass. I still need to do more research, speak to a few more people, but the surgery is going to happen. It is going to happen in the near future.
“I really hope it will work for me. It is going to be life-changing.”
Argent, who appeared on Towie from 2010 to 2018, has been urged by both friends and family to undergo the operation because of his long history with eating problems.
He also said he was back in contact with his on-off girlfriend, fellow Towie star Gemma Collins, but that they were just friends.
Dr Hilary Jones, the ITV show’s resident medical expert, said some weight loss procedures could have “astonishing results” if they were done properly.
He said: “When you are morbidly obese like Arg it is a real issue because there are other health conditions associated with this level of obesity; so heart disease, respiratory problems, diabetes.
“These are all major problems and there is no doubt that when bariatric surgery is performed as it should be, in the right people with the psychological preparation – which is really essential, it is an essential part of the operation and that follows it up as well.
“When it is done well you can get astonishing results.”