A Hull football club whose aim is to help men lose weight and improve their physical and mental well-being is looking to expand its reach in East Yorkshire.
One of the Man v Fat Hull members who says his life has been transformed by joining the team has encouraged others to join the ‘welcoming and positive’ league and help expand the Man v Fat initiative across the region. Carl-Gareth Norton had his first fleeting experience with Man v Fat Hull last year – he joined in May 2021 but then coronavirus put an end to any physical involvement.
“The lockdown restrictions have prevented any consistency in terms of weight loss; however, I remained involved in the online community,” said Carl-Gareth, who now manages the Man v Fat Hull Instagram account. “I am a person who has struggled with weight all my life, I have already undergone a complete body transformation, lost 130 pounds and experienced the mindset of an obese person who has changed his habits.
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“I am a former rugby league player, have a background in boxing and am passionate about health and fitness – I was a personal trainer for a short time but unfortunately I I went through a traumatic time in my life and developed a severe eating disorder, which contributed to me gaining 110 pounds and it had a huge impact on my mental health,” Carl-Gareth said. “Since I joined Man v Fat, I lost four stones. It’s not the most impressive defeat for our club, or in general, and I’ve suffered setbacks, but it’s the Man vs. Big concept that has kept me motivated through tough times.
“For example, I currently have damaged ligaments in my ankle. Previously, I would have sabotaged myself and developed the bad habits that hinder any progress and lower self-esteem. I like that I have an incentive to continue to progress, even at a slower pace, I’m a big believer in “slow is the way to go”, real success for me is visual.”
Man v Fat proved more than a weight loss tool for Carl-Gareth, having been heavily involved in promoting Hull’s league and media content, for which he won a Media Mogul award. “It gave me a platform to connect with other like-minded men who are on similar journeys to mine,” he said.
“I was featured on a podcast hosted by the National Coach of the Year, who said he was interested in the Hull league after seeing my content. I have always had strong aspirations to coach and to help overweight and obese men change their lives by losing weight, improving their mental and physical health while increasing self-esteem and having a healthy relationship with themselves.
“Man v Fat gave me the confidence to pursue my ambitions and supported me with personal encouragement from the people at Man v Fat headquarters, the online community and our coaching staff, including the head coach Al and our award winning host Dave Bell.. We constantly share ideas on how we can improve, my teammates have been an inspiration and we hold each other accountable.
Having not played football before since attending school when he was 15, Carl-Gareth, now 34, says he progressed and gained momentum with Man v Fat Hull. “I went from being a guy who stood at the back not really knowing what he was doing, to an attacking midfielder who could score goals – it gave me so much confidence in my abilities in football and physically in general. “, did he declare.
“The Hull league is a welcoming and positive environment with a diverse group of men who support each other, we are all on the same path and always keep the football aspect of Man v Fat competitive. I love Tuesdays because everyone feels good and upbeat, I’ve made lots of friends and I’m someone who frequently advocates for Man v Fat Hull on social media because I believe in what I say .
“I believe we have grown from a men’s weight loss service to a club and now to a community. We are thriving and constantly trying to improve what we do by introducing additional fitness sessions, walks for mental health and bringing in someone from the Hull & East Yorkshire Community Advice Service to talk about mental health awareness.
Carl-Gareth said: “I would like to extend Man v Fat to Bridlington so other men in the East Riding can experience what I have in Hull. It’s something that I personally push for.