A Melksham man has lost over five stone in less than a year thanks to a weight loss football programme.

Brandan Woodhouse is one of 30 men who play six-a-side at the Man V Fat Football Club every Sunday at Chippenham Rugby Club, and has done so since March, 2022.

He was inspired to start losing weight after stepping on his scales and discovering he was 19 stone.

“I had never been that heavy in my life”,  he said. Mr Woodhouse explained that Man V Fat offered him a welcoming environment to lose weight, where he did not have to worry about being judged.

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He added: “We are all in the same place where we want to lose weight and play football. There are no judgements on your weight or ability and it's a great friendly atmosphere where all can come to lose weight and have a decent game of football.

“Everyone is encouraging, and we all work together to achieve our goals. It has helped me in many ways as it has created a safe environment to lose weight.”

 Man V Fat is an FA affiliated scheme aimed specifically at men with a BMI of more than 27.5. It encourages players to lose weight by awarding extra goal bonuses to teams who have lost the most weight each week. This, alongside match scores, determines the teams’ league position.

Mr Woodhouse says he has been motivated to keep losing weight because of this competitive aspect.

He said: “Your actions are held accountable. If you put on weight you are scoring own goals for your team. It keeps you motivated to stay on track and keep up the weight loss.”

Wiltshire Times: Players have formed strong social bonds.Players have formed strong social bonds. (Image: Man V Fat Football)

Mr Woodhouse’s teammates have also had a successful year. Across 2022 the Chippenham branch of Man V Fat lost a combined 420 pounds with six players losing 10 percent of their initial weight.

As well as being a weight loss tool, Mr Woodhouse believes the club has an important social aspect.

He added: “Football and exercise with people in similar situations helps with things like mental health, getting out and active and meeting new people which ultimately leads to new friendships. It’s great seeing the same people every week and sharing in their journeys.

“It also helps give a huge confidence boost with the support you receive at the club, especially when you start seeing the results of your hard work.”

Man V Fat also offers players off-pitch support including healthy meal recipes and general fitness tips.