James Argent before and after weight loss

Gastric band and tiny 20p portion sizes – the desperate measures of James ‘Arg’ Argent’s 13-stone weight loss

Couldn't tie his shoe laces due to his size at one point

James Argent stars in the 2023 line-up of Channel 4’s Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins – and he’s credited his dramatic weight loss for even making it onto the show.

He recently told his Instagram fans: “Celebrity SAS was honestly one of the hardest physical and mental challenges of my life. A year before I entered the course I was weighing 27 stone and I couldn’t even tie my own shoe laces. To even pass the medical to compete was a win in itself.”

But how did TOWIE cast member Arg, 35, manage to shed 13 stone? Here are the approaches he took to lose so much weight.

James Argent speaks to camera
Following rehab, lockdown saw James Argent turn to food, rather than drink and drugs. He hit 27 stone – and doctors have warned he had to lose weight or he could die (Credit: Loose Women YouTube)

James Argent weight loss

In April 2021, Arg underwent gastric sleeve surgery. He reportedly paid £10,000 for the op, which saw 70% of his stomach removed to restrict his eating.

Arg’s weight had ballooned over time due to alcohol and drug abuse, as well as binge-eating.

A £20,000-a-month stint in a rehab facility in Thailand in January 2020 came after several years of struggling, including two near-fatal overdoses.

But he explained later in 2021 as his op that he took action about his weight after his mum cried over not recognising her son any more.

Furthermore, Arg had been warned by doctors he was “dicing with death” due to his size.

I reached the heaviest I’ve ever been in the height of the ­pandemic.

He revealed in November 2021: “I reached the heaviest I’ve ever been in the height of the ­pandemic and doctors said I was ­dicing with death because I’ve got bad asthma and was morbidly obese, which was the worst possible combination if I was to catch Covid.”

As well as surgery, Arg also indicated eating healthier, only drinking green tea and water, and working out five times a week assisted his weight loss. That’s because he came to realise how he swapped booze and drug dependency for an addiction to fast food.

Gemma Collins and James Argent pose
Arg’s weight swelled to 27 stone (Credit: Splashnews.com)

Chewing slowly

Speaking to the Mirror a couple of months later, in January 2022, Arg shared how he had to learn to eat in a whole new way. While previously he would cram food down by himself, alone, he became mindful about chewing slowly.

He reflected at the time: “I’d start off with a big full English breakfast, then throughout the day I’d have fizzy drinks, chocolate, chewy sweets and crisps. For lunch and dinner I’d have takeaways. I was bingeing on bad food from the moment I woke up.”

But after Arg exceeded expectations for his weight loss, reaching his weight goal in eight months rather than 18 months, different diet strategies took over.

For two months following surgery Arg was on a liquid-only diet. He admitted that on the occasions he slipped into his old lifestyle and ate too quickly that it made him sick.

But, at the time of his chat with the Mirror, his approach was focused on portion size as well as nutritious and healthy food.

“I can digest most things but I have to eat food the size of a 20p, chew it for 20 seconds, wait for 20 seconds and do that again so I don’t get sick,” Arg said at the time.

James Argent poses
‘Either morbidly obese or slim, constantly yo-yo ing’ (Credit: Splashnews.com)

‘I now have a great relationship with food and with exercise’

Attending the gym has also been part of Arg’s battle against his bulge. He has frequently credited pal Mark Wright for training with him, and motivating him to work out.

But he admitted over the summer that that balance might not have always been there.

Appearing on GB News in June, Arg addressed his relationship with food and exercise.

“I didn’t really have a very good routine and structure, and definitely used food to balance that out when I wanted comfort,” he said.

Arg went on: “I had a bad relationship with food. I’d either do no exercise at all and binge eat or I would starve myself and train three times a day. I was either morbidly obese or slim. I was constantly yo-yo ing.

“Now I have a great relationship with food and with exercise and I have got the balance right. I’m proud of what I have achieved.”

Read more: TOWIE star James ‘Arg’ Argent makes shock confession about his drink and drug addiction

Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins is on Channel 4 on Sunday October 1 at 9pm. 

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Robert Leigh
Freelance writer