Footballers at Peterborough’s first weight loss league have managed to shed the equivalent of two teams of Lionel Messis.
The ManVFat league launched in the city in May 2017 and since then has helped scores of men lose weight and enjoy taking part in a six-a-side league.
While the standard of football on offer every Monday on the artificial pitch at Nene Park Academy may not come anywhere close to the that expected of the world’s greatest footballer - even the Barcelona maestro might salute the dedication and diet management achieved by Peterborough’s portly players.
Since the first ball was kicked just over 200 players of all ages have taken part in the league and have lost a grand total of 1,615kg (254.3 st) ... the Argentine ace weighs in at around 72kg meaning the equivalent weight of just over 22 Messis has been lost.
Coach Sean Hackett has been involved from the start but is contantly amazed by the progress.
“The overall weight loss is so impressive,” he said. “Every season it amazes me how well so many do. I think for many men, they need that competitive edge.
“Being in a team and in the league’s Whats App group helps as well. There is peer pressure but it’s supportive and encouraging as well.
“It’s something to look forward to each week and something to aim for.”
The health benefits have been immense. A number of players have been able to reduce or cease treatment for diabetes after significant weight loss.
Mark Dowling is one who has been able to stop taking medication for diabetes after losing more than three stone with Man V Fat. His HBA1C number - a diabetes indicator - was at 113. A HBA1C of 48 is the point at which individuals may need diabetic teatment.
He said: “For men like me, a bit older and in that type 2 diabetes danger group, I would recommend it. My HBA1C is now 45 and I have been able to stop taking medication. Changing diet has helped but I couldn’t have done it without Man V Fat.
“If you love your football you will love it. The support, the banter and spirit and the camaraderie have helped so much to motivate me.
“If you are like I was and not sure where to turn, give it a try. It has helped me so much.”
Martyn Bedford has been able to manage his diet with support from MVF – it has helped him with ulcers and he has lost an impressive four stones.
He said: “I improved my diet. It has helped me massively.”
Martyn - known to fellow players as Bedders - was part of last season’s league winners Eaterborough United. He also organised a charity 11-a-side match made up largely of players from Man V Fat which took place at London Road - it is one of the many social spin-offs of Man V Fat.
“Everyone enjoyed it,” added Martyn. “I got a lot out of it and playing on that pitch was a real highlight.”
Each league lasts for 14 weeks with a points system that combines results on the pitch and individual players’ weight loss score - if you lose weght you score half a goal for your team.
Humour and banter play a big part with teams called Scoffenheim FC, Chipswich Ballotellitubbies and Who Ate All Depays taking part.
Endorsed and supported by the FA, Peterborough United and Vivacity, Man V Fat is lookingto expand its league in Peterborough. To find out more or to register visit: https://manvfatfootball.org/peterborough