MANvFAT player to MANvFAT coach

Neil's weight loss Man v Fat journey
Before and after weight loss

Neil’s Story – Player to Coach

My weight loss journey with Man v Fat has been incredible.  I was nervous my first day walking up to the Bexhill-on-Sea weigh in at 122kgs in summer 2018.  Upon arrival, I was warmly welcomed by the other guys (all in the same boat) and of course the MvF coach. Prior to the first game, I’d been able to bond with my teammates via the team WhatsApp group and absorb information from the Bexhill MvF WhatsApp page.

For me having the want to lose weight combined with not wanting to let my new team mates down.  This inspired me to win the seasons top scorer award (weight loss) and I lost over 10% of my initial weight over the 14 weeks. My team also won the weight loss league which was an amazing experience!

I left the Bexhill league after 2 and a half seasons weighing 101kg (thinking I could go it alone), in a year put on all the weight I’d lost! I re-joined MvF (Hastings) last summer and was lucky enough to joining a team who like my previous team, fully engaged in the WhatsApp group with continuous support and information sharing (good recipes, healthy alternatives, mental health support also in times when the journey was hard). We went on to win the weight loss and combined (weight plus football) and I again top scorer at night on my lightest 104kg.

I feel amazing and have also learned how to get through the weight loss ruts and truly appreciate it’s a long but worthwhile journey I continue. In January 22, I saw the Bexhill league was starting up again and I initially joined as a player.  I then became aware there was still a vacancy for a coach, and thought it was an opportunity to inspire others outside of my team to lose weight with my experience as a player.

What were your barriers or challenges?

My challenges were to find a system that would allow me to lose weight whilst also enjoying the naughty but nice things like the occasional chocolate bar! Searching around I found The Hairy Dieter’s (Hairy Bikers) diet books and subscribed to their recommendation of setting a daily limit of 1500 calories a day. I became more mindful of healthy options, still ate good portion sizes and all the foods I liked (in moderation), as well as increasing my exercise.

Despite this, there were still times the weight just didn’t seem to come off, in truth it was often because I became complacent. I had a few low times where I just wanted a week of to binge (sometimes I did), but I managed to get out of it and get my mental health back on track (usually by talking to my teammates who understood).

What has been your biggest achievement?

I became a league coach to inspire other guys to become healthier both physically and mentally.  From what I have experienced, a lot of us guys don’t understand dietary requirements, we don’t perhaps have the media drumming into us we have to look like this celebrity or that one, we just get on with life.

Next thing we know, we are overweight and then have limited knowledge on how to change.  It’s about inspiring, information sharing, I love seeing my players smiling as they step off the scales proud at what they’ve achieved.

My advice to anyone unsure about joining is to have a go. You have nothing to lose expect weight! People are put off sometimes because they may feel their football skills are not going to be good enough.  Perhaps they have not played in years and can’t run as fast as before, some guys are physically unable to run, some guys haven’t played football before!

Ability doesn’t matter!  You can win goals for your team through weight loss, you get goals for tracking what you eat, a hat trick for your team every 3 times you lose weight regardless of how the on-pitch game goes. Even if you’ve never played, it’s about taking part and trying! The biggest applause on any night will be when someone has put in a bit of solid effort perhaps tracking back or pushing to stop the ball going out. Weight loss is the goal, football is the vehicle. Everyone supports everyone else, so get involved and start your journey today by visiting


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