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December 18, 2018 01:05 AM

Jax Taylor has his fiancée — and cannabis — to thank for pulling him out of a potential drug spiral.

Opening up to Men’s Health, the Vanderpump Rules star, 39, revealed that in the wake of his beloved father’s death — who died from stage IV esophageal cancer last year — his partner Brittany Cartwright helped him see clearly and get past the troubling time.

“I was in a deep rut,” Taylor told the magazine of his dad Ronald Cauchi’s passing. “I was literally going to lock myself in a room and do enough drugs to hurt myself.”

“Brittany was, like, ‘I understand where you’re coming from. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but can you try something?'” he continued, explaining that Cartwright, 29, suggested he try medical marijuana as a way to cope.

Lester Cohen/WireImage

After trying it, the model-turned-bartender said that it changed his life, prompting him to abandon alcohol, other drugs, and self-harm, and start working out and taking action.

“I said, ‘You know what? I’m not going to hurt myself. I’m not going to drink,” he shared. “I’m going to flip this around and make my dad proud. I’m going to go to the gym. We’re going to start some businesses. We’re going to move up.'”

Jax Taylor and his dad Ronald Cauchi
Jax Taylor Instagram

RELATED: Vanderpump Rules‘ Brittany Cartwright Lost 25 Lbs. as She Preps for Her Wedding Day

Not only did Cartwright encourage him to try medical marijuana, but she also introduced the Bravo reality star to the LA-based gym, LIT Method.

Taylor pairs the low impact training and high-intensity workout classes in the morning with weightlifting sessions at night, which he does five days a week. He also explained that smoking marijuana before exercising helps him stay focused.

“I’m not so on edge, so I have a really good workout,” he told the magazine. “You just zone out.”

Jax Taylor
KATHRYN WIRSING/Men's Health

RELATED: Jax Taylor Reveals He Gained 60 Lbs. on Vanderpump Rules: ‘I Looked Disgusting, I Was a Butterball’

Taylor’s new workout regimen has helped him lose 40 lbs. — first prompted by a fan tweet that read “Man, you got fat” — which he proudly spoke about for the Men’s Health story.

“I’m glad they did it,” he said of the tweet. “I thought, ‘Why didn’t my friends tell me? Why didn’t my own girlfriend tell me this?'”

“I looked disgusting. I was like a butterball. I was not lean. I didn’t have the chiseled look that I used to have. I was, like, this has got to stop,” Taylor added of his realization in February 2017.

Jax Taylor
KATHRYN WIRSING/Men's Health

Describing how he gained 60 lbs. since Vanderpump Rules premiered in 2013, Taylor revealed he reached his heaviest weight of 235 lbs. The additional body mass was especially surprising to him since he weighed 175 lbs. for most of his adult life.

“When I started the show, I took a back seat on the gym,” Taylor recalled. “I looked great because I was still coming off of the modeling, but the show turned into so much work. We’re filming all day. We’re also partying all of the time. We’re drinking all of the time. I didn’t have the time to go to the gym.”

RELATED VIDEO: Vanderpump Rules’ Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright Bring PEOPLE Inside Their Apartment

The 60 lbs. gain occurred over a course of four years, during which he relied on online delivery services for food and snacks.

“I was eating more crap than I was working out. Postmates came out,” Taylor said. “I can order Doritos from my couch? Making a Murderer marathon is on? I’m not getting off of this couch. I’m going to eat everything in sight. Then you wake up and you’re like, ‘What is that?’ That’s my belly.”

But with the help from Cartwright, Taylor — who now weighs 193 lbs. — has happily traded his deliveries of Doritos for turkey club sandwiches, chicken, steak and potatoes. And his fiancée is “very, very proud” of his new mindset.

“He impresses me every single day,” she said of Taylor. “Not only by going to the gym and making healthier choices, but by seeing how happy and confident he is now… I think he looks so handsome and his dedication to me and to change is so sexy!”

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