When you’re overweight, being active can feel like the very last thing you want to do. Being sedentary is so much more appealing when you’re out of breath and red-faced even climbing the stairs. But when you’re bitten by the exercise bug, suddenly getting active is a joyous thing, as this week’s Amazing Loser found out when he joined MAN v FAT Football. Considering he used to be 82lbs heavier, we reckon he’s done a great job of getting fit – and we need a rest just thinking about all the different activities he does…

Name: Dave Oh
Age: 45
Height: 5’11
Location: St Albans, Herts
Occupation: Senior Creative
Highest weight: 118kg (18.5 stone/260lbs) Oct 2017, but my heaviest was 132kg (20.5 stone/291lbs) in May 2010.
Lowest weight: 95kg (14.9 stone/209lbs) (Feb 2018)
Total weight lost: 82lbs

How did you get to the position where you needed to lose weight?

I have always been a ‘big guy’, in my teenage years I used to get called names such as Heavy D, Big D, and fei jay, which means fat boy in Cantonese. I always hated it but I never really managed to control my bad food habits and lack of exercise. I was at my heaviest seven years ago and lost over 32kg, but due to bad diet, consistent lack of exercise and poor excuses, I never maintained the weight and gained it back. I knew this time it had to change.

What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?

I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol & fatty liver when I was at my heaviest, and my doctor friend told me If did not lose weight I would be dead in 10 years. That was the wake-up call I needed. Apart from health issues, there were plenty of negative experiences such as feeling embarrassed buying extra large clothes that may not fit anyway, feeling conscious about how I looked and the fear of taking up too much room on public transport. Being overweight makes you self-conscious about your own body and you lose confidence in yourself. It really brings down your self-esteem.

What made you decide to change?

It was pretty simple. I have a beautiful wife and two gorgeous young boys who are 7 and 9 years old and I want to be around for them. Being overweight and unfit can lead to so many issues later in life. It was an easy choice to change my lifestyle and take control back of my life.

How did you do it?

I had seen advertisements on Facebook for MAN v FAT Football and I joined the Borehamwood league in October 2017. This kick started my motivation to get back to fitness and I went flat out doing exercise to the extreme. I trained 6 times a week but more importantly, I tracked what I ate in my MAN v FAT Football handbook (Ed – which for those who aren’t MVF Football players, is a very handy 14-week food, exercise and weight tracker)

My training involved regularly doing spin classes, circuit training twice a week, swimming, boxercise, badminton, gym and running 6km from the station to work every day. Weekends are spent running at St Albans’ 5k parkrun on Saturdays and on Sunday I do longer runs around 10k+.

He’s so dedicated to running that he even took part in a Parkrun held when the Beast from the East was visiting – hats off to you Dave, that must have been BITTERLY cold!

Each person is different but I was very determined to achieve my targets in a short space of time. I made sacrifices in order to achieve my goals and that meant seeing less of my family, but they have been so supportive throughout this journey.

Had you tried to lose weight before? If yes, what made this time different from the times before?

I lost weight in 2010 in a similar way so I knew I could lose weight again, but this time the most important aspect was changing my mindset about my diet and taking control of what I ate plus gaining a deeper understanding of calories.

What did you eat before you lost weight?

My diet was never consistent. I would always have bigger portions as you convince yourself you need it because you’re bigger than normal people. Plus friends would say ‘you eat so little!’ and would give me larger portions. My biggest downfalls were bread, rice, crisps, chips, biscuits, cheese and fizzy drinks – basically all the nice stuff! 

What do you eat now?

These days I have completely changed my diet. I cut out carbohydrates and avoided sugary things for the first three months, but have since slowly reintroduced them, but in moderation. If I am hungry in between meals then I will have healthy nuts, rice crackers or fruit. This change of diet is not for everyone but I believe you need to adapt to what your body is telling you.

For breakfast, I have fruit or porridge plus green tea. Lunch is a simple salad with salmon or skinless chicken. I often head to the gym after work so dinner needs to be light, and I’ll have some fruit beforehand. I drink more water during the day and have a one soya latte a week. I’ve also been inspired recently by Tom Kerridge’s Lose Weight for Good TV series, which is all about how low-calorie food can be just as flavoursome.

How has MAN v FAT Football helped you to lose weight?

It kickstarted my motivation to lose weight and get my fitness back. To be able to achieve results in such a short space of time has been fantastic. I hit the 5% and 10% targets and lost weight every week at the weigh-in. When your family and friends start to notice it really does give you confidence and makes you want to set more targets.

Why do you think MAN v FAT Football works?

MAN v FAT Football is a simple concept as most weight loss programs are for mainly for women. Men are usually too embarrassed to attend so football is another way of tapping into the market. Do not be ashamed of your size or age when it comes to MVF Football! Your weight contributes towards your team’s goals and no one wants let each other down. The lads encourage each other, play a game of football and there is great banter. It doesn’t matter if you are not good at football or haven’t played for 20 years – everyone is there to achieve the goal of losing weight.

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining MAN v FAT Football?

Just do it! Everyone taking part in MAN v FAT Football is on a different journey and at different stages of their weight loss but ultimately we are all aiming for the same goal. Change your life now.

What was the most difficult thing about losing weight?

I haven’t had any difficulties really, I set myself attainable targets that required focus and hard work but they were achievable. Like everyone, I indulge sometimes but I tell myself to burn off calories the following day by running or doing a workout.

How did you overcome any difficulties?

I think of my eldest son who has a heart condition and he inspires me because what he has been through – this always keeps me grounded. I just want to do my best for him and my family.

How has life changed now that you’ve lost weight?

I feel confident in myself and have lots of energy. My whole body shape has changed. I now have a 34inch waist and weigh 95kg but hoping to lose another 10kg.

Due to niggling injuries, I stopped playing football at the end of December 2017 but it has helped me regain my love for running – I ran a 5K PB of 25:50 a few weeks ago and have run consistent times at the same pace. I would never have achieved that back in October 2017. It is the best thing in the world when family and friends tell you look great.

Who supported you the most on your journey and how did they help?

There are a lot of people I need to thank on my weight loss journey, but ultimately it is my wife and two sons. They have been part of the journey since day one, encouraging me and making sure my old habits never crept back. My wife makes healthy lunches and dinners which are low in calories, and they sacrifice their time to help me. Also, a big thanks to my Parkrun friends and family and all the trainers at the classes I go to, who have all inspired me. I feel that now it’s my turn to inspire others who are on a similar journey.

If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him? 

I would tell him to see a doctor or talk to a good friend for advice as soon as possible. It’s the initial step that is the hardest, but it’s never too late to change your lifestyle. Life is too short.

Now that you’ve lost weight, how are you planning on maintaining your weight loss?

I am still running on a regular basis as it’s always a challenge to run faster and longer distances. I’m also keeping up with my spin, boxercise and circuit training classes. It is not sustainable to workout like I did at the start, but I enjoy what I do. Crucially, I am eating a lot better. By being disciplined about food, I am confident in what I eat. I know that it’s okay to indulge once in a while, as I know will burn the calories the next day. I’m still aiming to lose another 10kg but right now I am happy with myself.

ou’re Prime Minister for the day – what laws would you bring in to help combat the obesity problem?

  1. From an early age, teach children in school how to read and understand the ingredients in processed foods. Processed food is here to stay, but in it lurks the basis to most obesity problems – we eat blindly, not knowing just what we are consuming.   
  2.  Teach kids to serve up healthy meals
  3. A national campaign to target those that are overweight and recommend them see a GP as part of an opt-in scheme to help those who need it
  4. Make gym memberships more affordable

What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?

  1. Watch what you eat – track your food intake and count the calories. Reduce your portion sizes and eat from a smaller bowl.
  2. Get active again – if you not done any exercise for a while just take small steps at first.
  3. Set yourself goals and once you start seeing changes it will make you want to keep losing more weight. Don’t give up!

MAN v FAT Football Tournament – St George’s Park, Burton-upon-Trent – 16/12/2017 – Photo: Richard Blaxall

Huge thanks to Dave for sharing his story – is anyone else thinking Dave for Prime Minister?! Some great tips here. Don’t forget – you can find Dave over on the MAN v FAT Forum if you’ve got any questions for him.