Here’s a heartwarming Amazing Loser for you – Jon really wanted to give his family the dad and husband they deserved, and he knew in order to do that he had to make some serious changes. So he did. And because he’s made a complete lifestyle change, there’s no stopping him.
(This Amazing Loser is later than planned, by the way, because we were waiting to see whether Jon would hit a total of 5 stone lost at his weigh in this week. No pressure, then!)
How did you get to the position where you needed to lose weight?
To be honest, I didn’t realise how big I got. I have always been overweight but over the past couple of years I just kept on piling on the pounds. I overindulged in takeaways and alcohol and alcohol was probably the biggest contributor to becoming morbidly obese. I just loved to drink and eat rubbish on the weekends, I saw it as a treat after a long week at work but eventually the weekend treats crept into weekday treats.
It wasn’t until my wedding photos came out and I took the first picture in January that I saw for myself how big I had got. That was one of the things that made me realise things had to change.
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
The biggest negative for me was not being able to run around and play football with my son without feeling extremely out of breath. I just couldn’t find the motivation or energy to get off my arse and play with my kids and that for me was the biggest negative experience. I felt like I was a disappointment to my whole family. I was constantly boiling hot, ate Rennies like it was chewing gum because I constantly suffered from heartburn and I couldn’t walk up my stairs without getting out of breath. I hated my own physical appearance and would try and avoid being in any photos. I felt like I was an embarrassment to my children and I was afraid they would get made fun of by their school friends because of their fat dad.
What made you decide to change?
I have tried many different diets from Atkins to Slimming World and I haven’t been able to stick to any for any long periods of time. So I have always known I need to change but until this year I haven’t actually been able to do it. I looked back at my wedding photos and I just feel sorry for my wife. I should have put more effort into losing weight before our wedding but I didn’t, instead I just got bigger and bigger.
I felt like I owed her more and I will always feel guilty that our wedding photos will always feature me at my biggest. I feel ashamed looking back on those photos, like I have forever tainted the memory of the day. I decided to change once and for all for my family. I owed it to them.
How did you do it?
I saw an advert for MAN v FAT Football on Facebook and after a lot of deliberation, trepidation and fear of the unknown, I decided to just go for it. After my first game I knew straight away that this was for me. To help me between games, I followed the principles of Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach. I did a HIIT(high-intensity interval training) session 6 days a week and curbed my diet.
I restricted myself to two low carb meals and a healthy carby meal to refuel after a HIIT session. I also took up long walks with my dog. I walk 10km to 15km every day with a weighted rucksack. In short, I worked bloody hard! I have completely changed my lifestyle and I now live by the rule of walking at least 10k steps a day. I still treat myself to a naughty meal at least once a week and some wine or spirits on a weekend. But the difference is that I do it guilt free because I ensure I burn the calories to counteract the naughty meals and drinks.
What made this time different from the times before?
I have tried to lose weight on and off for about 15 years. I have tried every diet going. There are a few things that made this time different to the others. The main thing being MAN v FAT. The pressure brought about by not wanting to let your team down at weigh in every week really drives me to stay on track and lose weight every week. If I didn’t have that weigh in every week, I wouldn’t be so disciplined with my exercise routines.
Another big difference is allowing myself to enjoy life at the same time, allowing those extra treats. Whether it’s a meal out, a few whiskeys or wines, it’s all fine, but I only do it after earning it through exercise. If I go off track with my diet or exercise (which has happened many, many times) I have lived by the mantra “start again tomorrow” and I have done each time. You can’t live your life starving yourself of treats because that is how you quickly change back to the old lifestyle. Another great mantra I live by is the old everything in moderation, including moderation!
What did you eat before you lost weight?
Takeaways and plenty of them! Pizza, fish and chips, Chinese, curry, McDonald’s, KFC. If it’s greasy and bad for you, I ate it!
What do you eat now?
Still all of the above but only after I have earned it and only maybe once a week. I have always loved cooking so I cook lots of Joe Wicks recipes. I like to make paella, fajitas, stews, chicken and chorizo wraps, Spanish chicken bakes, lasagne, spag bol, chilli, chicken and rice. The main difference in my diet is that I have cut out all processed food and I now cook everything from scratch.
How has MAN v FAT Football helped you to lose weight?
In so many ways. Advice given on the WhatsApp groups by other like-minded men, plus tips and advice from our amazing coach Roger. The responsibility I feel for helping out my team by scoring goals on and off the pitch. The regular weigh-ins and the fact that MAN v FAT Football has made my weight loss journey enjoyable! I can’t wait to go back each week. I feel more determined and focused than I have ever been.
Why do you think MAN v FAT Football works?
It’s a league full of like-minded men who all support each other and learn from each other.
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining MAN v FAT Football?
Just do it! I know it sounds quite daunting. I felt nervous but those nerves were gone as soon as I got there. It is the best thing I have ever decided to do. It has transformed me physically and mentally.
What was the most difficult thing about losing weight?
I honestly don’t think I have had any difficulties. Its been so enjoyable and by taking progress pics I can physically see myself improve. Motivation has sometimes been a bit low but I would always tell myself that I haven’t once regretted exercising or going along to play in my MAN v FAT Football league.
How did you overcome any difficulties?
Just by focusing on the end goal and reminding myself of the reasons I’m doing this. One major, major bit of advice I would give is to keep track of everything you eat every day and be honest with it. You are only cheating yourself if you decide not to include anything in your food diaries. By knowing exactly what you put in your mouth you can see where you went wrong during the week if you put on weight.
How has life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I just feel like a new man. I am a new man. I have lost a quarter of my starting body weight in around 9 months, over 4 and a half stone. I have lost 13 inches from around my waist. I can play a full game of football with ease. I can play with my kids without getting out of breath and I think most importantly I can honestly say I am proud of myself and I no longer feel embarrassed when getting my kids from school. I think maybe my kids can be proud of me now. The confidence I feel now is amazing. One of the guys who plays for MAN v FAT Football skipped last season and he came back this season and he honestly thought I was a new player He didn’t recognise me from the previous couple seasons and that felt great – probably one of my proudest moments.
Who supported you the most on your journey and how did they help?
Without question, my wife. she always supports me and she has always just loved me for who I am, regardless of what I looked like. She loved me at my biggest, she married me at my biggest and she stood by me through this whole journey. She has put up with my pre-weigh in nerves and has always had words of kindness and support to give regardless of the result of the weigh in result. She honestly doesn’t care what I look like, she loves me for who I am and to me, that is as big a reason as any to want to improve my fitness. I owe everything to her and if I had to start this journey all over again for her then I would do it in a heartbeat. She is my reason for being.
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?
Take a picture of yourself. Look at it long and hard. Now look at your family. They deserve a father and a husband whose health is not at serious risk. Those kids deserve a dad they can be proud of and your wife deserves everything you can possibly give her, starting with a husband who doesn’t hate himself. Stick with it!
Now that you’ve lost weight, how are you planning on maintaining your weight loss?
I have changed my lifestyle completely. I still have a way to go with my weight loss journey so I still have that driving force and focus to keep me on track. I have proven to myself that I can do it so for me, it will be easy to maintain and build on this weight loss.
You’re Prime Minister/President for the day – what law would you bring in to help combat the obesity problem?
I would make it compulsory for everyone to get at least an hours worth of exercise within their own capability or at the very least an hours worth of fresh air every day. I would try to combat workers spending every day sat at their desk by maybe looking to copy the Japanese culture of daily group exercise for all their office workers.
What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
1. With hard work, it is possible!
2. You don’t have to starve yourself of everything you love if you work for it.
3. Tomorrow is always a new day to start again. It is never too late.