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Man v Fat Football - Blackpool
Tuesday, 4th Dec 2018 14:25

I'm fat. There, I said it. I'm a 248lb/112kg bloke in my late 40s and I'm struggling with my weight. I've lacked the will power to either do something about it or, when I've succeeded, to keep it off.

I love takeaways. The ease of app-tapping what toppings you want on a pizza and then deliberating over the size because the larger one is only a pound extra.

Then, quite a few months ago, I saw an item on The One Show about Man v Fat Football, a weight loss programme for lovers of football, and thought "that's just perfect for me" even though I hadn't played football in 30 years.

I entered my details online and had to wait over a month for the registration night as it was a new league, but when it came round I nervously entered the room and there were about 90 people all in the same boat as me. Some looked in a much better state than me, some worse, but you can only register if you're over a certain BMI (27.5).

We watched a brief presentation and then allocated our teams who we'd be playing with for the next 14 weeks. In our new groups we came up with our ridiculous team names and went off to be weighed, and our heights and waists measured. We set up our own WhatsApp group, selected a captain and then home.

The next week we started in earnest. You get weighed every week before each match as those measurements play a part in your team's score. The weight is recorded in your handbook in which you log what you've eaten in the week. We had a mixture of lads that played regularly, and the likes of me who didn't were stuck in defence. Plenty of substitutions later, we won our first match convincingly. I was terrible, but I loved it.

The next day we were emailed the final scores and league table updated. This is the strength of the MANvFAT programme. I might not have scored any goals in that match, but my weight loss counted towards my team score and we confirmed the win. Congratulations all around via WhatsApp and you get to know your team-mates more, and help each other.

The scoring system is quite involved, but makes perfect sense. Added onto your goals on the pitch you get a number of added bonuses:

  • Hat-trick - Every time you lose weight three times you get a goal added to your score
  • Own Goal - If you gain weight over your starting weight then a goal is taken away from your score
  • 5% - 10% - If you lose 5% or 10% of your starting weight then you get three goals added to your score
  • Team Bonus - If two of your team have lost, then a bonus of one goal is added to your score. Four players, two goals. Six players, three goals etc.
  • Tracking Goals - Similarly you get a team bonus for simply filling in your workbook (or Progress website)

Fast-forward to now and as of this week I've lost 10% of my bodyweight. My original target was to lose 27% but will certainly take longer than the 14-week programme, but you can rejoin next season provided you've over 27.5 BMI. The weight I'm aiming for is 84kg which would be too low to rejoin the programme.

I can't recommend the programme highly enough. I really feel that I can achieve my goals, but I'm also really enjoying the whole experience. I'm now eating a lot more healthily and I'm swimming five days a week and besides the MANvFAT games I'm also playing the occasional five-a-side game too. The football is competitive but non-contact though we have had complaints about our language! Everyone on our WhatsApp group are committed too and that helps a great deal.

Please note that all our links to MANvFAT are referral codes and we will be donating 100% of the money earned from each registrant to Prostate Cancer UK. You will also get £5 off your registration fee.

There are leagues up and down the country. Click here to find one near you. Some leagues are already in play, but you can join mid-season or register your interest for the start of the next.

The Blackpool League

The Blackpool matches are played at Stanley Park on Monday's between 8pm-10pm. Click here for more information.


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