The comedian opens up about how his 8-month-old son helped turn around his life – and his diet
It’s a feat Tom Arnold is proud to announce: “I can tuck my shirt in!”
That’s because the 6’2″ actor no longer has to hide his belly after losing 89 lbs. since the birth of his son Jax last April.
“Something inside of me changed,” Arnold, 54, tells PEOPLE about becoming a dad. “I knew I needed to live as long as I could.”
Over the years, Arnold weighed as much as 287 lbs. after struggling with depression and overeating.
Breakfast used to be a six-egg omelet with cheese, six turkey sausage links, plus oatmeal. A sample dinner would be an extra-large meat pizza along with breadsticks dipped in cheese. He also downed 15 diet sodas a day.
“There was a lot of shame,” says Arnold of his size. “One time I had a tailor come over and sew the weights into my suits – this is what you wear when you are 210, 220, 240, 300. That saved me the time of going into my closet and getting so upset and frustrated.”
But that was all before welcoming his first child with Ashley, 38, after years of infertility struggles.
“The moment I saw [Jax] I realized he deserves the best,” Arnold says. So he gave up bread and cake right away. He also fits in cardio, circuit-training and abdominal workouts.
But his favorite exercise? Rolling around with Jax. “I have tons more energy to play with my son,” he says.
For more on Tom Arnold’s amazing weight-loss journey and his new diet and exercise regimen, pick up PEOPLE’s Half Their Size issue, on newsstands Friday
• Reporting by RAHA LEWIS