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James Argent reveals he has undergone life-saving gastric surgery

James Argent has undergone life-saving gastric surgery after his weight hit 27 stone in lockdown.

The TOWIE star, 33, whose weight crept up during the UK lockdowns due to junk food and takeaways, underwent a £10,000 sleeve gastrectomy op in Birmingham last week, as he aims to slim down to 16 stone. 

A Sleeve gastrectomy staples off a portion of the stomach and removes the excess – effectively turning it from a pouch into a sleeve – reducing the amount of food that can be eaten.

Brave: James Argent has undergone life-saving gastric surgery after his weight hit 27 stone in lockdown (pictured last month)

The results are excellent, achieving up to 70 percent excess weight loss, just shy of the standard set by the gastric bypass.   

The star told The Sun he feared he would die during the 90 minute operation where half his stomach was removed,  and detailed his battle to stick to a 1000 calorie a day diet beforehand.

He said: ‘This is the biggest operation I’ve ever had in my life – so I was scared,’ Arg admits. ‘I did say to the surgeon: “Is there a chance I might not wake up?’He said there was a small chance.’

‘I was supposed to stick to 1,000 calories a day for three weeks and my BMI had to be below 50 but I was 49.7 and 26st 11lbs.

Battle: The TOWIE star, 33, whose weight crept up during the UK lockdowns due to junk food and takeaways, underwent a £10,000 sleeve gastrectomy op in Birmingham last week, as he aims to slim down to 16 stone

Battle: The TOWIE star, 33, whose weight crept up during the UK lockdowns due to junk food and takeaways, underwent a £10,000 sleeve gastrectomy op in Birmingham last week, as he aims to slim down to 16 stone

‘I did struggle, there were a few times I found it too hard and I wasn’t able to stick to it. I was almost too big to have the operation, which is a scary thought.’

The star said he feels he is already losing weight and has a ‘glow back’ in his face – with Arg  now focusing on healing for six weeks.

He is unable to eat solid food for that time period and must consume liquid meals such as shakes. 

Arg said he struggles to keep water and paracetamol down since the gruelling surgery – the aftermath of which saw him vomiting up blood.

The star said he feels the surgery is a fresh start after his well-documented battle with an eating disorder and drug addiction – and is now setting his sights on swimming the English Channel.

Transformed: In 2015 (pictured left) the star was the slimmest he'd ever been after losing four stone

Transformed: Arg has seen his weight creep back up

Transformed: In 2015 (pictured left) the star was the slimmest he’d ever been after losing four stone, but had since seen his weight creep back up

Arg has been supported by his close friend Mark Wright and his ex long-term girlfriend Lydia Bright.

He is also open to the possibility of finding love, insisting he is ‘completely single’ amid his on-off romance with Gemma Collins.          

Earlier this year, Arg described doctors’ stark warning about his weight as ‘very worrying’ while appearing on Good Morning Britain last month. 

He said: ‘They’ve [doctors] basically been saying, the size I am at the moment, it could be fatal. If I was to catch Covid, I could be a goner.’ 

Fears: The star told The Sun he feared he would die during the 90 minute operation and detailed his battle to stick to a 1000 calorie a day diet beforehand

Fears: The star told The Sun he feared he would die during the 90 minute operation and detailed his battle to stick to a 1000 calorie a day diet beforehand

Speaking to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, James added: ‘It has been worrying. It’s been difficult putting on so much weight and obviously the fact I’ve got so big. 

‘It kind of shows I haven’t been in the greatest of places. But I’m sitting here this morning, I’m feeling super positive…

‘I’ve got life-changing surgery, which is going to be taking place in the near future, it’s all booked up. I really feel like I’m making positive steps and I can’t wait to get back to my very best.’

James went on to explain how doctors have warned him he is in danger territory due to his weight and how if he were to catch Covid, it could be fatal.

He also spoke about how being obese has ‘serious implications on my heart’- something which is of concern to him because both of his parents suffer from heart problems.

Candid: The star said he feels he is already losing weight and has a 'glow back' in his face - with Arg now focusing on healing for six weeks (pictured 2018)

Candid: The star said he feels he is already losing weight and has a ‘glow back’ in his face – with Arg now focusing on healing for six weeks (pictured 2018)

‘I’ve been speaking regularly to the doctors and nurses at Transform Hospital Group. They’ve been giving me advice,’ he said. 

‘They’ve basically been 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’ve had heart problems themselves, so it’s kind of in my family hereditary, in my genes and stuff. I’ve got to tackle this now before it’s too late.’  

James has said he was still undecided as to which type of gastric surgery he will have, but says once he has chosen, it will happen in the ‘near future’.

‘It’s a really, really serious operation,’ he said. ‘At the moment I haven’t decided specifically which one it’s going to be, there’s options of a sleeve, bypass, I need to still do a bit more research, speak to a few more people.

Reconnected: James said he and ex long-term girlfriend Lydia Bright were now closer than ever again (pictured 2016)

Reconnected: James said he and ex long-term girlfriend Lydia Bright were now closer than ever again (pictured 2016)

‘But the surgery is going to happen, it’s going to happen in the near future. I really hope it’s going to work for me, it’s going to be life changing.’  

James revealed obesity is something he has been struggling with since he was a teenager and has found it ‘impossible’ to maintain a healthy weight.

He said: ‘I’m not saying I can’t lose the weight without this type of surgery, but I’ve never been able to maintain it before.

‘So I just believe that going for it this time, I’ve made a decision, I’ve spoken to all my friends, family, everyone’s had their opinions and you know nine times out of 10, they’ve said it’s not funny anymore, go for it. That’s why I’ve made the decision.

‘It’s not like I’ve put weight on in lockdown and I’m doing something drastic to get it off, this is something that I’ve had this underlying issue in terms of weight and eating disorder since I was a teenager.’  

During the interview, James reflected on how he hasn’t gone through life ‘plain sailing’.

Training: Arg also waxed lyrical about Mark Wright's support during his weight loss journey

Training: Arg also waxed lyrical about Mark Wright’s support during his weight loss journey

He said: ‘I’m inspired by Tyson Fury. He’s a heavyweight champion of the world, he’s had similar problems and demons to me in terms of drugs, in terms of drink, in terms of weight. He was morbidly obese. 

‘If he can turn it around and come back and become a world champion and get his life in order.

‘I’m not saying I’m going to go on and become a world champion but if I can have 10% of the comeback he has then that would be the dream for me.’  

After his interview, the reality star took to Instagram and told fans he ‘can’t wait to be happy and healthy again’ and is feeling ‘super positive’ as he looks ahead to his surgery.

Health: James Argent has been warned by doctors that he could die if he caught coronavirus - after his weight crept up to 27 stone in lockdown

Health: James Argent has been warned by doctors that he could die if he caught coronavirus – after his weight crept up to 27 stone in lockdown

Recovery: Alongside the post he wrote: 'Thank you to Everyone for your continued support, It means so much'

Recovery: Alongside the post he wrote: ‘Thank you to Everyone for your continued support, It means so much’

He wrote: ‘A CHANGE IS GONNA COME. I can’t wait to be Happy & Healthy again, I’m feeling super positive.

‘I’m nervous about the big operation & surgery but I know it’s for the best & will be life changing! 

‘I’m inspired by @gypsyking101 [Tyson Fury’s] comeback & can’t wait to be back to my very best.’ (sic)

He has thanked his rehab team for their support with his ongoing addiction issues and encouraged others who are struggling to get help.    

Speaking in the video he said: ‘Hey guys, I just want to thank each and every single one of you who have shown me nothing but love and support with all your messages over what’s been quite a difficult time for me.

‘I know you’re worried but I can honestly say I feel so much more positive about the future and I feel so much better in myself and that’s because I have had day to day help from Dad in Recovery.

‘Nick is a leading addiction expert and alongside his team at Verve Health they’ve really helped me on what’s hopefully going to be a really special journey for me. 

‘If you’re indoors at home and seeing this video message, please if you are struggling please do not suffer in silence, please reach out to Nick, Dad in Recovery and the whole team at Verve health and they will help you along your journey just like they’ve done with me.’  

Alongside the post he wrote: ‘Thank you to Everyone for your continued support, It means so much. A special shout out to Nick @dadinrecovery & his team at @vervehealthrehabs for helping me on this path of my recovery journey.

Still friends: In August 2019, Arg returned to rehab following a split from Gemma Collins in a bid to tackle his demons. He has battled drink and drug addiction for much of his adult life (pictured 2019)

Still friends: In August 2019, Arg returned to rehab following a split from Gemma Collins in a bid to tackle his demons. He has battled drink and drug addiction for much of his adult life (pictured 2019)

‘Don’t forget to ask for help, It’s out there. Don’t suffer alone! �� ❤️ #dadinrecovery #recoveryjourney #getsupport #help4addiction’. 

Arg has battled drink and drug addiction for much of his adult life. The TV star spent three months in a facility in Thailand over the festive season in 2016 in a bid to curb his addiction and revealed he checked himself in to a programme in order to get the ‘ongoing support’ he needed.

In August 2019, Arg returned to rehab following a split from Gemma Collins in a bid to tackle his demons.

For help, call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visit samaritans.org 

GASTRIC SURGERY – WHAT IS IT? 

Gastric Bypass 

laparoscopic gastric bypass involves creating a small pouch in the stomach that restricts food intake and reduces nutrient absorption.

The pouch also limits food from coming into contact with the upper or lower intestine, further preventing absorption.

The operation involves five-to-six incisions in the abdomen.

Surgeons then staple the top portion of the stomach to separate it from the bottom, creating a pouch. 

A small section of the small intestine is then attached to the pouch, allowing food to bypass to the lower stomach.

 

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Sleeve gastrectomy staples off a portion of the stomach and removes the excess – effectively turning it from a pouch into a sleeve. 

As no part of the stomach is bypassed, nutrients are absorbed in the usual way. 

However, the restrictions on the amount of food patients are able to eat means patients will still need to take supplements. 

The results are excellent, achieving up to 70 percent excess weight loss, just shy of the standard set by the gastric bypass.  

As well as weight loss, sleeve gastrectomy has also been proven to bring about remission of diabetes. 


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