• Will Barrett

Recognition for Innovative Healthy Weight Loss League

The superb work of City Community Trust’s MAN v FAT programme was recently recognised with the nomination for a national award.



The team which runs the programme were shortlisted as partner of the year in the MAN v FAT awards, which took place last Saturday. Additionally, ECFCST vice chairman, Mark Cordell, was nominated as facilitator of the year for his role in supporting the programme’s participants.


Although the awards eventually went elsewhere, Mark said: "It was an honour to be nominated for an award at the first ever Man V Fat annual awards. To even be considered for an award means that we are doing something right, and I look forward to continuing to help those on their Man V Fat journey when the Exeter league resumes.


"Whilst we are in a lockdown I am captaining one of the MvF Challenge teams which is an excellent remote version where players complete weekly challenges whilst focusing on weight loss."


MAN v FAT was founded by Andrew Shanahan in 2014, who, having struggled with his weight for a long time had joined his local slimming club. But it was aimed squarely at women and he struggled, which made him wonder – how many other men out there were struggling with weight loss?


This thought soon led to the rapid growth of MAN v FAT. Initially released as a crowdfunded magazine, support from the National Obesity Forum, Weight Concern and the British Diabetic Association, the initiative developed into a website, forum, and book, which was published in 2014.


2016 saw MAN v FAT move ‘into the real world’ as MAN v FAT football was launched through football leagues designed exclusively for men to lose weight in a competitive and co-supportive environment.



Endorsed by the FA, and backed by Sport England, the National Lottery and countless local councils and football club, the initiative in Exeter was launched by CITY Community Trust in January 2018.


The programme saw men who wanted to lose weight take part in a football league where they played games and scored points from those games. They also received support and nutritional advice and, crucially, scored points for their weight loss.


In the first 18-months, 150 men took part in the programme and achieved a combined weight loss of an incredible 236 stone (1500 kg), with many of the men losing as much as five stone and turning around health problems such as diabetes and finding support for their mental health.


The teams play on Exeter City Football Club’s 3G pitch at its Cliff Hill Training Ground, although the sessions are currently paused due to covid restrictions. As well as playing football the participants receive nutrition and lifestyle advice and 24/7 online and offline support.


Each session sees a traditional weigh-in, which is then followed by a 30-minute game of six-a-side football. Extra goal bonuses are awarded depending on the pounds lost by the players, so it becomes a real team effort.


The group is currently full, although it is anticipated spaces will be available later this year. For more details, visit https://exetercct.org/courses-events/man-v-fat-exeter

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