Being fat was horrible says Gary Barlow as he speaks of battle with depression after Take That split

X Factor judge Gary Barlow has revealed that he is still traumatised by his battle with obesity and depression following the break-up of Take That.

Barlow has now brought his weight below 12st  – from a peak of 16st 11lb – thanks to eating less and exercising more.

At his heaviest he had a body mass index of 34.7, classifying him as obese.

Thinner: Gary Barlow 2011-style
Bigger: Gary Barlow at a 'Party in the Park' charity concert in 1999 in London's Hyde Park

Bigger: Gary Barlow  looking thinner this year for X Factor (left) and at his heaviest at a 'Party in the Park' charity concert in 1999 in London's Hyde Park (right)

Barlow said: ‘I felt  horrible. I felt s***. For  someone so big, I felt incredibly small.’

The 40-year-old enjoyed brief solo success after Take That split up in 1996, but was dropped by record label Sony BMG after his second album flopped.

He told Radio Times that his weight gain was ‘about food, obviously, because I was shoving it in my mouth, but it was more about a reaction to who I’d been’.

He added: ‘I’d decided, “OK, nobody wants me, but I don’t want to do it anyway, and to make sure I don’t do it again, this is how I’m going to look”.

‘I realised afterwards it was a form of depression.’

Slimline: Gary with Robbie Williams at judges' houses on the X Factor last weekend

Slimline: Gary with Robbie Williams at judges' houses on the X Factor last weekend

On song: Barlow with fellow Take That members (left to right) Jason Orange, Howard Donald, Robbie Williams and Mark Owen

On song: Barlow with fellow Take That members (left to right) Jason Orange, Howard Donald, Robbie Williams and Mark Owen

Talking previously about his weight gain, Barlow said it was actually his wife Dawn who had first encouraged him to see the doctor and seek advice about slimming down.

He explained: 'The fat was a protective coating. As I got bigger, I found I didn't need a hat or sunglasses. I had my disguise wrapped around me. Then one day, in December 2001, Dawn said: "Babe, I think you should go and see the doctor."

'I knew what she meant. I was wheezy and out of breath with even the slightest exertion. It would take me three rolls to get off the bed and I was reduced to wearing XXXL tracksuits. I hadn't dared stand on the scales, but I forced myself: 16st 8lbs. I booked an appointment.'

  • Read the full interview with Gary Barlow in this week's Radio Times

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