Man v Fat Dynamo Chicken Kiev Leeds footballer nets weight loss goal
A six-a-side football league in Leeds with a weight loss goal has proved a winning combination for Bramley man Andy Stephenson and his Dynamo Chicken Kiev teammates.
Andy, 37, has shed more than two stone after joining the Man v Fat Leeds league at Goals off Kirkstall Road at the end of 2019.
Other teams include 'Inter mi Scran', 'Maradonner Kebab FC' and 'Chubby Alonsos'.
Players from each team are weighed before games and the pounds they lose each week make bonus points, which are added up and converted into extra goals.
So if the entire team has had a good weight loss week, a 1-0 loss could be converted into a draw or even a win.
Players also get additional support including healthy meal recipe ideas and tips on general fitness.
The added incentive and camaraderie from playing in the league at Goals Leeds has helped Andy lose weight.
Andy, who works in marketing for Sandal BMW in Wakefield, said he played rugby union from age six to his early thirties for Old Leodiensians in Alwoodley.
He also played rugby union for Otley, but injuries meant he could no longer continue playing.
"I tried to lose weight and get fitter on my own by going to the gym," said Andy.
"But I wasn't pushing myself enough and I wasn't really losing weight or getting much fitter.
"I saw Man v Fat football advertised on Facebook at the end of 2019.
"You don't want to let your teammates down each week so it really motivates you to keep a track of what you are eating and get out to do extra exercise.
"Last week we won a game 3-2 on the pitch but drew 10 all including all the weight loss points."
Football matches were replaced with online food and exercise challenges during Covid lockdowns, but the leagues have been back up and running since April 12.
Andy, who is 6ft 2in tall said he weighed 17 and a half stone before he joined the Man v Fat league.
He was 14 stone at one point, but is now 15 and a half stone.
"It is a really good, supportive network," he said. "Some people might put weight on, but there's no judgement - you are just encouraged to lose the next week.
“It’s a really good atmosphere in the Leeds league and the sportsmanship and support is second to none as everyone’s there for the same reasons.
"I’m pleased to be back because it gives you focus around your weight loss.
“I would absolutely encourage anyone who’s looking to lose weight to join the football or online challenge at ManvFat.com - the programme has genuinely changed my life.”
There are eight teams in the Leeds Man v Fat league, which meets on Wednesday nights at Goals.
Man v Fat said the 70 men taking part in the Leeds league have lost a total of more than 34 stone between them.
More men are being encouraged to sign up to the league to lose weight and learn about healthy lifestyles and nutrition.
The league is aimed at overweight and obese men with a BMI of higher than 25.
The FA-affiliated scheme has 5,000 players in over 75 leagues across the UK.
Tom Shirley, the regional manager for the programme across Yorkshire, said: "Man v Fat isn’t just about losing weight, it’s about enjoying sport in a safe, friendly environment, learning about healthy lifestyle and diet - and making new friends.
"We have spaces for new players across our Yorkshire leagues and we’ll be with you every step of the way.”