This week’s Amazing Loser Simon was hit by a double whammy of grief and lockdown over the past few years that saw his weight rocket. Like most of us, he turned to food and alcohol to get through it, but with the help of the MAN v FAT Challenge community (and pubs being closed over lockdown!), he shaped up and is now much lighter. Bravo.
Name: Simon Atkinson
Highest weight: 90kg (14st 2.4lbs, 198lbs)
Current weight: 73kg (11st 6.9lbs, 160.9lbs)
Weight lost: 17kg (2st 9.5lbs, 37.5lbs)
How did you get to the position where you needed to lose weight?
I’d lost weight before, but after my mum died in early 2018 I just kept on eating and drinking and got to my heaviest in 2019. The first lockdown in 2020 did little to help me lose weight either – my first instinct was to buy a case of wine that we demolished in a matter of days.
I was also not getting enough exercise as I found it difficult to play football and do other aerobic exercises.
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
I hated that every time I went to buy a pair of trousers I needed to go up a size. It was affecting my health too: my blood pressure was high despite medication.
What made you decide to change?
Returning from holiday in 2020 and hearing that being overweight increased the risk of Covid complications made me decide that it was time to do something.
What did you do to lose weight?
I signed up for MAN v FAT Challenge following an email from the NHS. The first couple of weeks were slow as there were a few weeks until the new season started. However, once I was allocated to a team it was pretty easy to get into a routine.
Had you tried to lose weight before?
Yes, I’d tried Weight Watchers and Our Path. Both of these were dominated by female slimmers with their own particular requirements. MAN v FAT was free of that aspect and was a really supportive community from the word go.
What did you eat before you lost weight?
Porridge or a bacon roll from a coffee shop with a latte for breakfast.
School dinner for lunch – with an extra-large portion because I’m the head!
Any treats going in the staffroom during the day.
Regular dinner – we use a meal box service.
What do you eat now?
Homemade porridge with banana and black coffee. Homemade soup and bread for lunch. Regular dinner – we’re still using the meal box service.
You’re a MAN v FAT Challenge member, how has it helped you lose weight?
I joined because I wanted support from a like-minded group of people. The weekly challenges have kept me focused and the support of the team has been invaluable. I’ve re-evaluated my food and drink choices.
Challenge provides structure, accountability and support and all in a really positive online environment.
What would your advice to anyone thinking of joining MAN v FAT Challenge?
Just do it – you’ve got nothing to lose apart from the weight!
What has been the most difficult thing about losing weight?
Changing my snacking and drinking habits. I’ve stopped buying the things that weren’t good for me. Lockdown also cut out the pub for me!
How has life changed now you’ve lost weight?
I look and feel better and people have commented on it! My blood pressure is also back to normal.
Time for a shout-out! Who has helped you on your weight loss journey?
My team – Ace Tempuras. Always a source of support and encouragement. Dean Bax our captain has been tireless in his support of the whole team. (editor’s note – Dean’s something of a MAN v FAT celeb, check out his Amazing Loser here, and his Challenge case study here)
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?
What are you waiting for? Do you want to be fat and fifty or to feel well again?
What are your next steps now that you’ve lost weight?
I’m planning to stay in Challenge for another season and get my weight to 72kg. My fitness has really improved and I want to continue to benefit.
You’re Prime Minister for the day – what would you do to help combat the obesity crisis?
Introduce a standardised system of food labeling with honest portion sizes. And regulate the slimming industry to root out the scammers.
What do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
It’s all about reaching a sensible calorie deficit and sticking to it. A small deficit each day will achieve good results over time.