By Hannah Stevens @Hannahshewans
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Videographer / director: Marcus Hessenberg
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Ed Baranski
Editor: Sonia Estal
Founded in January 2016, MAN v FAT Football gives overweight men the opportunity to shift some unwanted pounds by joining up with exclusive teams and winning points for results and weight loss.
There are now 25 leagues across the UK helping to support men with a BMI of 27.5 or more – targeting those who want to lose weight by regularly playing a sport they love.
Project manager, Terry Dowding, told Barcroft TV: “It clicks for the male psyche because it ‘gamiefies' the weight loss, it puts that competitive edge on it.
“Anybody in the country with a BMI of 27.5 or above will be able to register for MAN v FAT Football leagues.
“It was founded in 2016 and since then we have grown into 25 leagues that range from as low as Portsmouth and up to Glasgow – and everywhere in between.”
Specialised coaches weigh the players before each match and monitor their progress from week to week.
As a means of pushing for more motivation, players can earn goals for their team by losing weight.
And with proven success for past members, including one man who lost 26kg in just 14 weeks, Terry has plans to make Man V Fat Football available to anyone throughout the UK.
He said: “Tracking their food is an important one, as we provide every player with a hand book with different tasks.
“In addition to that we have a weekly weigh with the coach and that coach uses the food diary to signpost them some good quality changes.
“We aspire next year to have Man V Fat Football available on any night of the week, in area of the UK.”
Doug Curtis, one of the current members of MAN v FAT Football, added: “I kind of had a bit of a rough telling off from my GP, weight-wise. I was borderline diabetic, I had high blood pressure.
“When I started my weigh loss journey 18 months ago, I was nearly 25 stone and I’m now about 20 stone.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, I thought I’d be the biggest guy there but I was quite surprised I wasn’t.
“The other guys in my team are really great. There’s a lot of banter between us.
“You know there’s teenagers and there’s old age pensioners playing so everyone’s in it for a different reason – but they’re all in it for the weight loss.
“You turn up once a week, you play part of a 30-minute game and then you look after yourself throughout the week food-wise, exercise-wise, and you gain points for your team that way.
“You can lose on the pitch, but then win on the scale.”
Another team member, Michael Richard, has lost a stone since playing for MAN v FAT.
He said: “When you come off the scales it feels great when you know you’ve made a loss. You feel very relieved because that’s what you’ve been working up to all week.”