He said he was watching the episode that featured his best friend Tom Schwartz's bachelor party, where he, Schwartz and Tom Sandoval dressed in drag on a trip to New Orleans. It was then that his Twitter mentions started blowing up with negative comments about his appearance.
"Man, you got fat," one viewer tweeted.
"I'm glad they did it," Taylor told Men's Health in a recent interview. "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.'"
At six feet tall, the former model weighed 175 pounds for most of his adult life. But he said by the time he saw himself on TV that day, he was at his heaviest: 235 pounds.
"When I started the show [in 2013], I took a back seat on the gym," Taylor said. "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."
Once Taylor turned 35 and had filmed a few more seasons, his weight peaked. In four years he had gained a total of 60 pounds — and had become accustomed to dialing a delivery service for junk food.
"I was eating more crap than I was working out," Taylor said. "Postmates came out. 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.'"
In a rush to lose weight, Taylor said he turned to "steroid adjacent" supplements — which took a terrifying turn soon enough.
"I wasn't literally shooting up with a needle. Believe it or not, I'm scared of needles," he said, referencing his tattoo-covered arms. "It was pills. But I was taking so much — my hormone level was out of control. It was making me aggressive. I was getting bulky, but I was getting hulky bulky."
Taylor developed gynecomastia, which causes swelling of the breast tissue and is a common side effect of steroid use. His surgery to remove the masses was documented on Vanderpump Rules.
"I was petrified," Taylor said. "I'm, like, 'Oh my god, this is cancer.' You get a lump in a guy's chest, it's a big deal. I'm scared. But they did the test, and said it was a hormonal thing."
After the surgery, he went back to old-fashioned exercise and health eating, but struggled with staying motivated. He was at the center of a cheating scandal (although he and his girlfriend, Brittany Cartwright, survived it and are now engaged), and his father developed esophageal cancer.
Last December, he got the news that his father had passed away.
"I get a phone call over speaker and it was my mom bawling her eyes out," Taylor said. "She's, like, 'Your father is dead.' I pulled the car over. I collapsed. I didn't know how to deal. I was on the way to see him the next day. I fell on the ground in the middle of the highway. I threw my phone on the highway. I was convulsing and everything. I was freaking out. I didn't know what to do. My life flashed. My best friend died."
While his first instinct was to "lock myself in a room and do enough drugs to hurt myself," Cartwright talked him into getting a medical marijuana card and using the drug to calm down.
"I tried it and it changed my life," Taylor says. "I said, 'You know what? I'm not going to hurt myself. I'm not going to drink. 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.'"
He also discovered the LIT Method through Cartwright, an L.A. based-gym that offers group classes on low impact training and high intensity workouts. Today, Tayor takes LIT Method classes in the mornings and lifts weights at Crunch Gym in the evenings, twice a day for up to five days a week.
He no longer gorges on junk food and instead sticks to turkey sub sandwiches, chicken, steak and potatoes. After a year of working out and eating healthier, Taylor has lost 42 pounds — the number on the scale reads 193.
In addition, he and Cartwright attend monthly premarital counseling together in preparation for their wedding day.0comments
"He impresses me every single day," Cartwright said of her fiancé. "Not only by going to the gym and making healthier choices, but by seeing how happy and confident he is now. He has helped me in so many ways to stick to my own gym classes, and being a great gym partner. We diet together and we have amazing cheat meals together. I think he looks so handsome and his dedication to me and to change is so sexy!"
Photo credit: Instagram / @mrjaxtaylor