Great Britain

James Argent gives a thumbs up from his hospital bed after gastric op & says it’s the ‘first day of the rest of my life’

FORMER Towie regular James 'Arg' Argent shared a thumbs up from his hospital bed after getting his life-saving gastric band surgery.

The 33-year-old shocked fans when he ballooned to nearly 27st during lockdown, admitting he swapped a drink and drug addiction for junk food when Covid closed gyms and pools.

After undergoing the life-changing procedure earlier this month, Arg shared a beaming hospital photo on Instagram yesterday and triumphantly told his followers it was the "first day of the rest of my life".

He penned: "Today Is the First Day of the Rest of My Life 🙌🏽

"My weight loss journey has STARTED, I’ve had my gastric sleeve surgery with the incredible team at @wearetransform.

"I’ve struggled with my weight for years but I’m finally ready both physically & mentally to do something about it," he continued.

"The next few months are going to be tough but I’m determined to reclaim my life! NEW CHAPTER 🙏🏽".

After sharing his journey, Arg was inundated with messages of support from friends and fellow Towie stars including the show's narrator Denise Van Outen, his ex girlfriend's mum Debbie Bright and Eamonn Holmes.

On Sunday, we exclusively revealed that Arg had gastric surgery to help him lose 11st and save his life – though he feared he might not even survive the op.

The TV star initially vowed last year to go under the knife for the weight loss procedure in a bid to save his life.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun just two days after his op — which will reduce the amount he can eat — Arg said: “This is the biggest operation I’ve ever had in my life, so I was scared.

“I did say to the surgeon, ‘Is there a chance I might not wake up?’ He said there was a small chance.”

Now he hopes to slim down to 16st after having half his stomach removed last week during the £10,000 operation by Transform Hospital Group at a top clinic in Birmingham.

Arg said it was touch and go as to whether the surgery would go ahead, as he struggled to stick to a pre-op diet of 1,000 calories a day and his body mass index hit almost 50 — whereas a healthy figure is 18 to 25.

He added: “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 11lb.

“I did struggle. There were a few times I found it too hard and couldn’t stick to it. I was almost too big to have the operation, which is scary.”

But the hour-and-a-half op was successful and Arg said: "I’ve already got a bit of a glow back in my face so I’m happy with that, and I feel like I’m already losing weight, which is good."

For now, Arg must protect the five scars across his belly and he said: “It will take about six weeks to heal completely. I can’t swim or box until then.”

Last year, he admitted to The Sun he was a cocaine addict after taking the drug for seven years and suffering two near-fatal overdoses, which left ex Gemma Collins calling an ambulance over fears he would die.

At the time, the star said he believed the only way he will truly lose weight was by undergoing gastric band surgery.

In a heartbreaking interview in 2020, he told The Sun: "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."

James ‘Arg’ Argent: Docs said I was so fat I could die during gastric op

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