If you’ve tried to lose weight before, chances are you’ve been around the dieting block more than once – counting points, sipping on shakes, making cakes out of Weetabix. It works, obviously, but that moment when you let go and realise that lasting weight loss comes from real long-term lifestyle changes can be extremely freeing, as Amazing Loser Jason found out…
Name: Jason Fewell
Occupation: Engineering director at a large cheese company
Highest weight: 312lbs (22st 4.6lbs / 141.8kg)
Lowest weight: 231.5lbs (16st 7.5lbs / 105kg)
Weight lost: 81lbs
When did you realise that you needed to lose weight?
I was sat by the pool on holiday and I was feeling hot and uncomfortable. My confidence was low and having to speak to audiences at conferences was getting more and more embarrassing, so I knew I had to do something about my weight.
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
I was uncomfortable and embarrassed by my size, especially when during the same holiday the sun lounger collapsed. I could see people around thinking it was due to my weight.
What made you decide to change?
I’d just had enough – I thought I really had to do something. But I never believed it would work as it had never worked in the past.
How did you do it?
I counted calories and in the start I was very strict, sticking to <1500 calories a day with no cheat days.
Had you tried to lose weight before?
Yes, I’d done loads of things – Slimming World, Huel, the Cambridge Diet…I’d lose some weight but I’d end up putting it all back on.
What made this time different from your previous attempts?
I lost a stone doing Slimming World but it felt very much like a diet. This time I’ve made a lifestyle change – I know myself well and I know what I eat so I don’t worry if I’ve put a bit of weight on as I’ve got the confidence in myself to know that I can lose it, whereas before I thought I’d never lose it.
You’re a MAN v FAT Football player – how has that helped you lose weight?
It’s given me the motivation to get back out there – playing football without feeling stupid, slow or fat. I’ve seen from the other guys that losing weight can be done because they’re all doing it too – when I’d joined slimming groups in the past the groups were full of yo-yo dieters. But there’s a real sense of you can do it and keep it off at MAN v FAT as it’s not linked to a diet, just sensible eating. It’s light-hearted fun and not a lecture, inspiring not deflating.
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining MAN v FAT Football?
If you want to lose weight, have fun, live longer, be proud of yourself – it’s a massive platform in which you can do it.
What did you eat before you lost weight?
Everything to excess! I spent most weekends in the pub, although it was more to be social than anything else. I’d stopped all my hobbies because I was unfit and overweight, so that’s another thing that MAN v FAT Football has given me – another social outlet, which is healthy and fun.
What do you eat now?
I eat the same things, just in sensible portions! I will still go out, but I have 2 pints on a Saturday and not 12 Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I have the odd bar of chocolate but not all the time, or I’ll have a Fibre One bar instead, and I’ve replaced crisps with fruit or low-fat alternatives. My evening meals tend to be fish with green veg – I buy lots of fish when they’re reduced at the supermarket and freeze it.
What was the most difficult thing about losing weight?
Sticking to it – but you know you’re letting your team down and not just yourself when you’re in a MAN v FAT Football team, so that made it much easier because I didn’t want to let them down.
How did you overcome any difficulties?
I got rid of my larger clothes and bought clothes that were a little tight! It pushed me to keep going and made my achievements greater.
How has life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I’m fitter, more confident, I go out more, do more and I enjoy food more as ‘cheat’ foods are not the norm.
Who supported you the most on your journey and how did they help?
I have to say my wife, but also my team and coaches at MAN v FAT Football.
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?
You can do it! I never believed I could, but I know now that I can.
Now that you’ve lost weight, how are you planning on maintaining your weight loss?
I still have a bit to lose so I’ll be doing more of the same – I’m not so tough on myself on a Saturday, but I’m still focused in the week and that helps.
You’re Prime Minister for the day – what law would you bring in to help combat the obesity problem?
Make sport fun, we have too much focus on organised sport. People want opportunities to get out and have fun. We should also make parks for adults as well as children.
What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
- It can be done!
It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle
- Set small goals – if I was told last September I’d have to lose 6 stone I would have laughed, but 5% was an achievable small goal, and then so was the next 5%, and so on.
Brilliant answers from Jason – many thanks for sharing your story. If you’ve got a weight loss story of your own that you’d like to share, don’t forget that we’re always looking for weight loss stories to feature, so get in touch if that’s you!