The 28-year-old admitted how he would eat “far too much and often whatever was easiest and available” during the height of the global viral attack.

“When lockdown first hit my partner and I were living in Cardiff City and she was considered ‘vulnerable’ due to asthma,” Jean-Luc told Express.co.uk. “We had to be very careful with shopping to avoid me affecting her.”

Jean-Luc said it was a time when he and his partner, Rosheen, would eat “a lot of takeaways”, but it was his shift work, working as a Customer Due Diligence Officer at a British bank, that led to more unhealthy eating habits.

“I ended up overeating to help keep myself awake,” said Jean-Luc. “I could finish an entire pack of biscuits during a single night shift.”

When normal life returned, Jean-Luc had lost 2kg (4.4lb), but an interesting advert kept popping up on Instagram and Facebook.

MAN v FAT Football grabbed Jean-Luc’s attention and so he signed up for the weight loss programme in January 2023 for £31 per month.

“The monthly subscription includes a weekly football session, up to four times a month, recipe inspiration and home workouts,” Jean-Luc explained.

Aimed at men with a body mass index (BMI) of 27.5 or higher, MAN v FAT Football has more than 8,000 players taking part at 150 clubs across the UK.

Participants, like Jean-Luc, are weighed at the start of the 30-minute football match, with extra goal bonuses awarded to teams based on their weight loss achievements.

“I’ve lost just shy of six stone in 12 months,” beamed Jean-Luc. “I’m lighter, faster, stronger and more confident than I have been in years!”

Jean-Luc said: “In the past 12 months I have progressed from only going out to walk my dog to running weekly 10ks, finishing a two-hour 20min half-marathon, playing football three to four times a week and recently hitting the gym several times a week. It’s the best I have ever felt since I was a teenager.”

He revealed his diet is “completely different” to how it used to be. “I focus on ‘CICO’ (Calories in, Calories Out),” explained Jean-Luc.

“Everything is tracked religiously in the MyFitnessPal app. I focus on protein intake to keep myself full with fewer calories, but weight loss isn’t about dieting, it’s a total shift in lifestyle.”

Jean-Luc elaborated: “You can enjoy a drink with friends, Christmas, birthdays, etc, because one day out of the week doesn’t define your journey.

“The scale might not always go down, but suddenly you have visible muscle in places you never did, or your clothes are too big, you can walk further, run faster or lift heavier! You can celebrate every single win.”

Jean-Luc is on his way to reaching his target weight goal of 79kg (12st 4lb), but has already felt the benefits of his weight loss while playing football on the pitch.

“My hard work off the pitch meant that I’m a better athlete when I do play. I’ve made lifelong friends that I do everything with; I can’t imagine my life without them now.”

Jean-Luc wanted to say a massive thank you to Rosheen, his partner, who has supported him throughout his weight loss journey and David Quinn, the Coach for MAN v Football Bridgend, for being “everybody’s biggest cheerleader” and his teammates.

MAN v FAT Football explained

Aimed at men with a BMI of higher than 27.5, MAN v FAT Football has more than 8,000 players taking part at 150 clubs across the UK.

At MAN v FAT Football sessions, players are weighed, this is followed by a 30-minute game of six-a-side football, with extra goal bonuses awarded to teams based on their weight loss. Weight loss and match scores then contribute to teams’ league positions within a club.

The total amount of unhealthy weight lost by MAN v FAT players in the UK recently hit 600,000 pounds.

In addition to football sessions, MAN v FAT players also receive off-the-pitch support including healthy meal recipe ideas and tips on general fitness. Players also get full access to MAN v FAT online gym, so they can train in their own time at home.

To find your closest MAN v FAT Football club, visit: https://www.manvfatfootball.org/Leagues/FindALeague

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