The MAN v FAT Weight Loss Diaries – Meet The Men

With so many men using January as a stepping stone to embark on a health journey, we thought it would be a good idea to meet some of the guys who are losing weight and follow along to see what issues come up across the weeks as they lose weight. All of our guys have committed to sharing their weight loss journeys, warts and all – so when the bad weeks come along (which they always do!) you’ll have a front row seat to see how they deal with them.

Cory Hickton, 35, Mansfield

I don’t really have any photos of me on my own, it might not surprise you to know that I hate the camera, but my wife did this photo montage a couple of weeks back from photos she’s in. The image on the left is more ‘now’, The one on the right was this summer when I was at my heaviest.

Like most overweight people out there, I haven’t always been big. When I was in my teens I was pretty skinny, but in 2004/2005, two key moments changed this for me. I was an active kid growing up. I played football, and tennis and loved to ride my bike. In November 2004, all that started to change. I passed my driving test. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, but looking back now, this is where the skinny me started to be consumed.

Fast forward to April 2005 and I landed my first full-time job in IT. I still work in this field and I have been desk-based ever since. Mix in the fact I’m earning a full-time wage and downstairs was a canteen that sold lovely bacon cobs… you get the idea. Bye-bye goes that 34″ waist.

I’ve spent the best part of the last 12 years trying to lose weight. Whether it be another stab at Slimming World or trying to wrap my head around not eating enough points on Weight Watchers, I yoyo’d big time. I’d always start with the best intentions of “this is it this time”. But I always hit a wall around 10 weeks in.

What never really sat right for me was the feeling of never being part of the group. There were always plenty of women in these groups, but there were only one or two other blokes there. I wasn’t ever comfortable in the groups and it led to me never asking for help/advice when I needed it.

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Roll on to 2022 and I saw a program on TV about younger people being overweight and blaming their parents. I didn’t feel this way, but I picked up on one of the episodes where the young lad had joined a football league for fat men. A quick Google search on my phone later brought me to MAN v FAT Football.

Before the Christmas break, I was 13 weeks in and down 9.7kg. Slow but steady progress and finally a feeling of being accepted for who I am. I don’t have to get my head around any sort of diet system, I simply aim to be in a calorie deficit. Everything in the UK has to have its nutritional info on display, this makes it so easy to keep track. I now have no more figuring out if I can simply eat something I crave.

 

Steve Mason, 35, Cardiff

As a bloody tall bloke, we are talking 6’6″, so door frame size, it would look like my family is cursed, cursed with fatness. Not only am I fat, but my entire father’s side of the family is fat. Now, having had a baby boy recently my weight is completely out of control and I’m currently the heaviest I have ever been 140KG. Looking at my son and thinking about all the cool things to do, the one thing they all have in common is that they require me to not be a blob. After hitting this disappointing milestone in my life I have made it my mission to make sure that the eating habits of not just myself, but generations of family do not come to haunt my son.

My aim is to lose 20KG in 20 weeks. I believe it is a respectable and achievable weight loss goal. Like Cory, I have tried Weight Watchers and Slimming World and I am sure they have their benefits. I have a raft of weight loss certificates from them and talking about your feelings on your journey is good in a group setting like that. But as someone who is partial to emotional eating, having a slip and a gain in a week and then talking about it, only really makes me want to do it more and therein lies the circle of my particular personality. I am great when I am on it, but when it comes to a weight gain, I don’t fall off the wagon, it collapses under the weight of all those Tunnocks Caramel Wafers!

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Until now, disappointing myself with those weight gains in front of a group of people who don’t really matter in a Slimming World class was fine, as I could eat that away and the whole cycle can start again. Having people with a vested interest in you doing well, and the pressure of not wanting to let your team down is a game changer and that’s where MAN v FAT Football works for me! After hearing my brother-in-law find it through Facebook, I figured my competitive nature and team attitude would fit this style quite nicely so I am just going in belly first and excited to start my journey off differently, with a team behind me!

 

Andrew Shanahan, 45, Manchester

When I weighed myself towards the end of 2022 I was seriously pissed off, because I’d somehow managed to let four stone creep on from when I was at my optimum weight – which was around 12 stone. The reason is altogether too familiar to many guys. I’d got an injury, stopped playing sport but hadn’t adjusted my eating or drinking to take that into account. Fast forward a few years and suddenly I was staring at a gut that I had to remove – again!

I find that the key for weight loss for me is accountability. If I know I’ve got to go and stand on some scales in front of someone else then I’ll do my best to lose weight. Add in the idea that I’m letting my team down and I’d be seriously annoyed with myself if I didn’t lose weight each week. My approach when it comes to weight loss is to simply make healthier choices and record everything that I eat and drink. I know that I also need to build in a couple of meals each week where I can let things slide a bit more. The key though is to keep that to two meals, rather than two (then two and a half, then three…) days.

I’m also looking forward to the football slowly getting me back into exercise and movement again. I have to admit I’m a bit worried, because at 45 I’m starting to get a bit creaky and I’ve got a spinal problem that I need to be careful of. That said, the best thing that I can do to improve my back is to lose weight – so it’s time to stop moaning and get losing!

 

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