Man v Fat is an FA-endorsed initiative where the biggest loser is the winner. The aim is to use football as a tool for weight loss, thus improving both physical and mental health.
“Teams play a 30-minute game every week,” says founder Andrew Shanahan.
“They are supported with resources such as behaviour-change tools and peer support. Uniquely, the league position is decided not just by the points won on the pitch, but by the pounds lost off it. Players score bonus goals for weight loss and this is added to the match scores to give a new league table.”
Although losing weight might be what originally drew most players to Man v Fat, many use the safe space for football to improve their mental fitness, too.
Thursday 10 October marks World Mental Health Day, and this season sees The FA’s partnership with mental health charity Heads Together launch their biggest ever mental health campaign.
Heads Up will run throughout the 2019-20 season, ending at the Emirates FA Cup Final next May.
As well as promoting open dialogue around a wide range of mental health issues, it will provide not only players and staff but the entire football community with tools to improve their mental fitness.
Man v Fat now has around 7000 players in over 100 leagues across England.
“We're growing really fast,” says Man v Fat’s head of marketing Matt Hudson. “To be eligible you need a minimum body mass index (BMI) of 27.5 per cent for men of Asian descent and 30 for everyone else.
“We use football as a vehicle to help players stick to their weight-loss programme. It's a very inclusive environment and I think that’s why The FA support us. So if you love football and are considering losing weight on or around World Obesity Day why not give Man v Fat a go? You’ll see proven results and wonder why you didn’t join earlier.”
Man v Fat’s results are indeed nothing short of astonishing. 95 per cent of players lose weight across each 14-week season with two out of three hitting their five per cent body-weight-reduction target. Players are provided with coaching on the field and nutritional resources off it. As importantly, they receive peer support.
How Do I Participate?
Man v Fat run many leagues across the country, including several in Sussex, just find the nearest league to you. If they still don’t have a league near you, then the simple answer is, they’re planning to and you plan one yourself!
Find your league
For more information on Mental Health support services, please contact:
T: 01903 766855