A Brand New Man: Amazing Loser Matt Bell
Although Matt’s only just getting started with his weight loss journey, he’s come SO far and his progress is a total inspiration. Here’s how he’s lost weight so far – with a little help from his MAN v FAT teammates, and a lot of eggs…
Name: Matt Bell
Occupation: Volunteer development worker
Height: 6″ 1′
Start weight: 189.6kg (29st 12, 418lbs)
Current weight: 141.3kg (22st 3.5, 311.5lbs)
Weight lost: 48.3kg (7st 8.5, 106.5lbs)
How did you get to the position where you needed to lose weight?
Lockdown had the biggest impact on me, physically speaking. But also as I got into my thirties I just kept trying to lose weight with good intentions but never really concentrated hard on it.
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
I couldn’t walk upstairs without getting out of breath. My wife would suggest long walks and I would be filled with anxiety because I knew it would hurt my legs and I’d be a sweaty mess after like 10 minutes. It was really embarrassing.
What made you decide to change?
We are thinking of starting a family and I realised that if I want to play with my child, I’m going to want to be a damn sight fitter than I am now.
Plus I used to really love playing sport, whereas when I was the weight I was, the thought of doing sport was not a happy one. I wanted to get back to feeling good, doing sport and being a sweaty mess after a good workout rather than just walking.
How were the first few days and weeks after you decided to start losing weight?
Because my mind was set on it, it’s been pretty achievable.
Mindset is so important when it comes to weight loss. You have to be strict with yourself. That’s where having my MAN v FAT Football teammates have really helped for me. They’ve helped me keep on the straight and narrow when my cravings were kicking in.
Had you tried to lose weight before? What made this time different?
I’ve tried many times, always with some short-lived success. But this has now been 6 straight months of continuously losing weight every week. which is something I have never done before. This felt like the final straw for me, which of course it isn’t, but that was my mindset.
What did you eat before you lost weight?
Not a proper breakfast, snacks during the day, a massive meal deal plus extras for lunch and then a big home-cooked meal in the evening. Plus lots of big portions of food at the weekend.
What do you eat now?
I often have an egg and mushroom omelette during the day, then on an evening, i’ll have a piece of cod with some cubed potatoes and veg.
Eggs, turkey rashers, fish and mushrooms (not all at once!) have been the reason why I can lose as much as I have done so far. They have been game-changers.
You’re a MAN v FAT Football member. Why did you join?
I had tried two different slimming clubs before, no good. I think I liked the idea that MvF has a competitive element to it. You’re not just losing weight for yourself, but for your teammates.
The team around me, and the wider league in Salford is very good at celebrating people’s achievements and praising/supporting each other.
THAT (for someone who does need positive reinforcement) has been massive for me. Just being able to turn up, lose weight, have a good game of football and then talk to people, pass on advice about food etc., has been excellent.
And I like that, and maybe this is bloody, but no one is suggesting “just have a bag of salad for your dinner”. We all like food and we want to still eat well, but do it in a much more manageable way. The chats with people have really helped me get my portion size under control for example.
The competition, support and the team WhatsApp chats have all been reasons why it works for me.
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining MAN v FAT Football?
Give it a go. I’m not a massive football fan! And the guys in the Salford club will tell you I am USELESS at football, but I love it.
It’s a weight loss league first, football league second. I would add that it’s a football league third with a “wellbeing” league being second, actually. It’s a great way to meet some new people and it can REALLY help, if you’re only looking to lose a little bit or a lot like me.
What has been the most difficult thing about losing weight?
Managing what I eat when I go out. That is and will continue to be a tough one. I’ve never said “no thank you” to food more in my entire life!
I get through it with politeness, and then going on the chat and saying “lads I’m struggling tonight” and having others say “me too!”
How has life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I’m into my 5th week of doing exercise every single day. I play football, squash, go running, do weights and swim. I haven’t been this active since I was at school. My clothes are baggier, I don’t nap as much as I used to. I snore less. I feel better generally.
Time for a shout-out! Who has helped you lose weight, and how have they supported you?
Tom, who runs the league has been great. Really supportive, especially when I send him my post-gym workouts!
And the guys in my last team, Roast Ham United, are, to a man, some of the best guys I know. I couldn’t have done it without them. And the guys in my new team are lovely too. I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m at my ideal weight. I think it will get harder in the coming 6 months but, at the moment, I feel more determined than ever before.
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?
Take it one step at a time.
Now that you’ve lost weight, what are your next steps?
I’m only just getting started! I’m still quite heavy. I’m very much still in “lose weight as much as poss” mode. After Christmas, I will start thinking about an ideal weight I want to be at. Can I get to under 100kg? That seems impossible right now. But hey, who knows?
You’re Prime Minister for the day – what would you do to help combat the current obesity crisis?
Weight loss schemes like MAN v FAT should be free for anyone over 20 stone.
What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
- You can lose weight and not just eat salad – I don’t!
- Learn to love exercise, as long as you’re sweating, you’re calorie burning.
- Eggs are your friend!