James Argent ‘must be in dark place’ to get gastric band op, says Josie Gibson

She's famously faced her own weight battles – so telly favourite Josie Gibson knows exactly what James “Arg” Argent is going through.

Towie star Arg is planning a gastric band operation after he ballooned to 26st, claiming: “I don’t want to die. An op is the only way I can lose weight.”

And while Josie admires his bravery in speaking up, she reckons he must be “in a dark place” to be considering such a drastic step.

Bristol-born Josie lost 6st in 2013, going from size 20 to 8 and even releasing her own fitness DVD, but put on four-and-a-half stone while pregnant with her son Reggie. Earlier this year she vowed to slim from a size 18 to size 12.

Josie says: “You stop watching what you’re eating and being accountable for your weight and it just sneaks up on you, and before you know it you don’t recognise the person in the mirror any more.

“What I love about Arg is that he’s been so honest about it, and from a bloke’s perspective as well. It’s taken a lot of courage for him to come forward and say that he’s struggled with his weight.

“I think he’s gone into a dark place if he thinks he needs a gastric band. He’s probably at his last resort and at the end of his tether, and feels that’s his way out.

“For me it wouldn’t be the road I’d go down, but from what I know of him – he’s a nice guy and I wish him all the best.”

Since becoming an ambassador for WW (formerly Weight Watchers) in January, Josie has shed more than a stone and feels great.

She says: “I started at 17st and I’m now 15st 10lbs. I’m really happy. I think I was so big that I don’t notice the weight loss, but I feel good.

“I’ve got so much energy. I can now run after my little boy and I feel back to me again.”

And she has no hesitation at donning a bikini when the weather heats up. “I’ve always been quite confident,” she adds. “It doesn’t bother me. I’ll get into a bikini. You’ve got to get a tan somehow.”

Since winning Big Brother in 2010, Josie has appeared in a string of reality and panel shows and is a presenter on This Morning.

But now she is mum to Reggie, two, she is keen to keep her life more private.

Josie, 36, says: “I enjoy being a TV presenter because I go into work, and do my job, but with reality TV there isn’t an off switch. It’s nice to be able to keep my home life private.

“Don’t get me wrong if anyone asks me anything I’ll probably tell them everything – I’m not a private person – but it’s just nice to have that bit of distance.

“A production company asked if I would do a reality show where they would film Reg and me as a new mum when he was just born. I turned them down.

“I know other people want to do that, but I just thought I’m only doing motherhood the once, and I want to enjoy him, and have him all to myself. I didn’t want anyone to invade my bubble.”

In the wake of the Sarah Everard tragedy, there has been renewed talk about the safety of women in public places. And Josie recounts a terrifying incident that happened to her two younger sisters at the start of the first lockdown where they were walking in a park in Bristol.

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She says: “They were only 16 and 18 at the time and were with my dog in the middle of the day.

“This guy kept saying to them ‘I’ll buy you alcohol – I’ll buy you alcohol.’ They kept saying that they didn’t want alcohol, and to stay back because one of my sisters is diabetic and we were all very worried about Covid.

“He got right up into their faces and my sister didn’t know what else to do, so she grabbed her camera. He picked up my little dog and threw him to the ground and then he rugby tackled my 18-year-old baby sister in broad daylight – down to the ground.

“They were both screaming at him and he ran off in the end, but they were so frightened. “Thank the Lord there were two of them. I was so angry – I was furious.

“I think there’s been a social breakdown of behaviour because if we lived in more of a community, and all looked out for each other like in the old days, then there would be more of a backlash.

“We’re living in a scary world and going into this Big Brother age where everything is traced and tracked. But sometimes I think that might actually be a good idea.”

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