Man v Fat is a programme designed to help men lose weight outside of a gym based environment through the power of football.
Men aged 18+ with a BMI of 27.5 or over join a league in a bid to lose weight and reconnect with the game they used to play. Players can score goals on and off the pitch by supporting each other in their weight loss journey through healthy eating, increasing their daily step count and setting weight loss goals.
Man v Fat has been running in Northamptonshire since 2018 with the first league being run at Goals Northampton and is still an active 8 team league. The other areas around the county where Man v Fat is running are Wellingborough and Kettering.
Man v Fat Northampton League has engaged over 300 males with a combined weight loss of over 800kg. The league has proved to not only be a weight loss programme but the main social outlet for a good number of participants who have made lifelong friendships over the years. Some participants including the Player Facilitator Thom Cosgrove have been there since the first season and continue to attend week in week out to stay healthy and catch up with old friends.
Ross Dyke has been a player since early 2020 and this is his account of the impact the programme has had on his day to day life.
“March 2020 was a memorable month! Not only did the COVID pandemic hit the UK but I was also diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at the age of 41. I weighed over 21 stone and that diagnosis was the kick up the bum I needed to sort my life out. Two of my good friends and colleagues were already members of Man v Fat Northampton and encouraged me to sign up and I managed to get 2 games in before lockdown began. Those 2 games changed my life though! I met a group of like minded guys who I now call family and I used my newfound motivation to exercise throughout lockdown and to start building a healthy relationship with food.
"5 months later, as the first lockdown eased, we all made our return to the pitch and I continued my health journey both on and off the pitch. Before I knew it I was playing 3 or 4 times a week with the same boys, both 6 a-side and XIs and the camaraderie that was forged only supported me to reach my goals quicker. These new friends motivated me to become the best version of me. By February 2021 (within a year of diagnosis) I had lost over 7 stone and had officially reversed diabetes! I had been ‘overweight’ for 15 years and now I suddenly had a whole new life to enjoy and a future to look forward to.
"In my 3 years with Man v Fat I am incredibly proud to have been recognised more than I feel I deserve, not only captaining my teams to overall league medals, team weight loss medals and individually winning a biggest loser medal but also winning Clubman awards, Coaches awards and being nominated as ‘most active’ at the national Man v Fat awards! However, this all pales into insignificance when I think just how lucky I have been to meet lifelong friends who have helped me change my life forever and I only hope that I can now inspire others to do the same by sharing my story.”
Man v Fat Northampton has helped many change their lives for the better and like Ross, some have gone on to achieve a healthy BMI, hit up to 30% weight loss goals and overall become healthier and happier people.