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King’s Lynn football coach Dean Bax loses 9 stone via Norfolk County Council MAN v FAT weight loss scheme

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Norfolk County Council is to continue providing funded places on the successful male weight loss and healthy lifestyle programmes, MAN v FAT Football and MAN v FAT Challenge for another year.

More than 840 men in the county have participated in the programmes so far, losing a combined total of 2251kg – or more than 354 stone – in weight in the last year alone.

MAN v FAT Football is an FA-affiliated scheme that currently has more than 7,500 players taking part in over 150 clubs across the UK. There are six clubs across the county including two in Norwich, Thetford, two in Lynn and one in Great Yarmouth.

MAN v FAT Football photo of Dean Bax.
MAN v FAT Football photo of Dean Bax.

The programme was created by Andrew Shanahan, who, fed-up with traditional weight loss classes primarily aimed at women, decided to develop a programme that combines the beautiful game with achievable weight loss goals for men. The total amount of weight lost by MAN v FAT players in the UK currently stands at almost 400,000 pounds.

Before matches, players are weighed, which is followed by a 30-minute game of six-a-side, with extra goal bonuses awarded to teams based on the amount of weight players have lost. Weight loss and match scores then contribute to teams’ league positions within a club. Players receive additional support including healthy meal recipe ideas and tips on general fitness.

Dean Bax found taking part in MAN v FAT football sufficiently life-changing that he has since become the coach of the King’s Lynn club.

MAN v FAT case study Dean Bax.
MAN v FAT case study Dean Bax.

“I first got involved with MAN v FAT football about three years ago after my wife saw a piece about it on television,” says Dean.

“Whilst I was on the programme, I managed to get my weight down from 22.7 stone to 13.4 stone and, importantly, my BMI down to 24.6. Although my football skills improved more in my mind than I think they did on the pitch, throughout I was conscious of not doing anything during the week that might let my teammates down.”

Dean, who says he also found it easier to talk about his mental health and weight issues within the group, is now ‘giving something back’ by coaching the Lynn club which, since its launch in October, has already attracted more than 140 players and become one of the fastest growing in the country.

“I can relate to what the new guys are going through, and I think that helps me to help them,” he adds.

And when the first lockdown came and football wasn’t permitted, Dean switched his attention to MAN v FAT Challenge, which men can undertake from home. Dean lost 27kg whilst taking part in Challenge.

As with MAN v FAT Football, with MAN v FAT Challenge men join a local team, weigh in remotely online, scoring points for weight loss whilst receiving support from a dedicated coach. Participants take on other teams in weekly challenges, and earn bonus points for the best entries, losing weight and improving their health, and achieving bonuses for weight loss milestones.

Weekly challenges are based on the core areas of nutrition, exercise and building healthy habits, with weekly progress reports and regular newsletters to inspire participants. Weight loss support, routine and accountability is available from your team-mates and an experienced coach as well as access to exclusive resources including recipes, case studies and interactive webinars.

Dan Church, the regional manager for MAN v FAT, says: “The news that Norfolk County Council is going to continue funding of MAN v FAT Football and MAN v FAT Challenge across the county is a really positive step.

"It will hopefully encourage and enable more men across the county, who want to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, to participate in programmes that have a proven track record of success.”

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