A dad has turned his life around after losing more than four stone through a popular football scheme. 

MAN v FAT Football Bolton sessions takes place on Wednesdays from 7pm at Bolton St Catherine's Academy Sports Centre.

In the last year 80 men in the borough have lost more than 250kg.

At the start of a MAN v FAT session, players are weighed to monitor their weight loss progress across a week.

Thirty minute games of six-a-side football then take place, with extra goal bonuses awarded to teams based on their weight loss.

A team’s combined weight loss and match scores then contribute to its league position within a club.

The Bolton News: Gary Parker

Gary Parker who has lost four and a half stone with the help of the programme, said: “I was test driving a new car and started chatting with a car salesman who played at MAN v FAT Football in Bolton.

“Two days later at the weekend, my daughter’s football team were playing, I was chatting to one of the parents, another of who played at the club.

“I thought this must be a sign, so I signed up that night.”

Eight months later, Gary not only lost weight, but enjoyed being in a community.

He said: “At first it was I didn't really know anyone, so I was a little nervous, but the team I joined was a great bunch of lads, which helped me through.

“They were really complimentary about how much weight I was losing and were really positive if I had a gain one week.

“Eight months on, I feel a lot fitter.

“In a way, it’s actually quite enjoyable looking back at old photos of how big I was, when I thought would never kick a ball again. “

Gary’s starting weight was 18 stone, but he is now down to 13.5 stone.

Aimed at men with a BMI of higher than 27.5, MAN v FAT Football has more than 8,000 players taking part in over 150 clubs across the UK.

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.

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In addition to football sessions, MAN v FAT players also receive off-the-pitch support including healthy meal recipe ideas and tips on general fitness.

Players also get full access to MAN v FAT online gym, so they can train in their own time at home.

More information about the club and how to sign-up can be found here: https://www.manvfatfootball.org/lichfield