Former The Only Way Is Essex star James Argent is reportedly set to undergo surgery on his stomach after doctors warned his weight could kill him.

The 33-year-old told The Sun he ballooned to 26 stone during lockdown after he stopped exercising and ate junk food.

And Argent said he was unable to tie his own shoelaces because his stomach is too big.

He is now deciding what gastric surgery to have in order to shed the pounds.

Argent 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.”

Argent, who appeared on ITV reality show Towie from 2010 to 2018, has previously battled drug addiction.

He has admitted to nearly overdosing on cocaine twice.