Over the past year, Darren, 44, from Newcastle upon Tyne has lost over 4 stone. Here, he shares how.
“A year ago I weighed in at 19 stone 11lb, I’m currently 15 stone 6lb.
After deciding to go on a diet and losing an initial 11lb, I kept seeing adverts for MAN v FAT in Newcastle and in the end curiosity and a misguided belief that I could roll back the years on the pitch got me to sign up.
The programme is great. It’s led to a lot of new friendships and support for getting healthier, in fact a lot of us getting active together and play football evening on non-MAN v FAT nights, and of course there is the small matter of me losing 60lb!
There's something about the accountability of having to report in each week. In fact, the football comes second to the weight loss as you can lose a match on the pitch but then win because of the weight loss bonuses.
Alongside getting active with the football lads, I’m also eating healthier, swapping takeaways for homemade versions, ditching sugary drinks for zero calorie versions. It’s actually been easier than I thought it would be (gaining willpower from giving up smoking has probably helped me!) but if I’m honest, I do sometimes miss grabbing and eating an entire box of jaffa cakes!
Not only have I lost weight and dropped in size from 2XL to L, as well as fitting into skinny fit trousers, but I know that I’ve inspired others and helped them with my advice – that’s something that I’m pretty proud of.
MAN v FAT has also give me the opportunity to play at the home of the England team - St George's Park - twice now! And we’ve also raised money for charity when a Newcastle vs Sunderland match was held at the Stadium of Light. These are all amazing opportunities that I wouldn’t have had with the programme.
I’ve got the final 20lb to lose and then I’ll need to shift my focus on to maintaining my new healthy weight, and learning how to carry on eating well in the week in order to allow treats on the weekend without getting fat again. I’m also on the lookout for some new activities to compliment the football - maybe some 90s club style dancing!!
The next really big thing for me though is the unexpected gift of a new baby daughter this month (my partner is 48 so we are doing well between us!). That was a bit of a shock and something that probably wouldn’t have happened had I not changed my lifestyle.
My advice to others would be to plan, to discipline and to be confident. Don't think of it as dieting, think of it as healthy lifestyle changes. Keep that relationship between you and food as healthy as possible, make sure that any food plan is full of food that you will enjoy to eat.
If you like football, come & join us, no matter what your level of skill & fitness currently is. All you have to lose, is your weight.
And remember, you won’t regret the changes you make, nor the extra years they may add to your life.”