A dad who lost nearly 12 stone in less then a year so that he could run around and play football with his son has said he now looks forward to teaching his little boy how to play when he is older.
How he lost weight
Michael Boulton, 26, a construction site manager, went from 26st to 14st 9lb by playing in weekly football matches with other men who were also losing weight.
The dad joined the programme just six months after his son was born, after fearing he would be embarrassed by not being able to keep up with him as he grew up.
Michael, who lives in Stoke-on-Trent with his fiancée Amy, 26, a customer advisor, and their 18-month-old son, Ruben, said: “It’s been nearly a year since I started the weight loss.
“I became a dad, and I just had this sort of realisation that I didn’t want to be limited in doing stuff with him as he grows up.
“As a big lad, it was always harder to enjoy playing football. I would find myself playing against guys who were faster, more skilful, and not to mention slimmer.
“I want to be able to play football and run around with Ruben without feeling embarrassed or ashamed, or not able to keep up.
“I just decided it was time to do something.”
Michael has since started running and, two weeks ago, he ran a 5k in 26 minutes, something he says he would not have been able to do before his weight loss.
Before he started his health kick, he was eating this on a typical day:
Michael said he had seen adverts for the football weight loss programme and took the plunge last year by signing up.
Before their weekly matches, players are weighed, 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.
Taking part in weekly football matches, Michael has enjoyed being able to play the sport again.
He said: “It works well for me because it holds you accountable every week. You’re surrounded by other people that are also wanting to lose weight and you’re able to support one another through it.”
He added: “Once you get into the swing of diet and exercise you begin to implement exercise outside of football to not only improve your skills on the pitch but also to improve your weight loss. The mental gains come with losing weight.”
Michael, who says his weight problem largely came down to portion control and snacking, swapped crisps and chocolate for fruit.
During his weight loss, he cut out fast food and now steers clear of processed food while sticking to a calorie deficit.
He said: “I try to eat around 1500 calories a day and I’m careful with portion control.
“I started off slow at first, just changing my diet but then I started to increase the amount of exercise I was doing.
“Beforehand, I would snack on crisps and chocolate but now I’ll go for fruit instead. I also don’t have fizzy drinks anymore, I mostly just drink water.”
This is what he eats generally now:
“I have a routine throughout the week of exercising at the gym, doing the weekly football, and also following the Couch to 5k programme to start running.”
As a result, the dad says he has more energy than ever before and looks forward to the day he can kick a football around with Ruben.
“Everybody who knows me has been shocked at the difference, and even I can’t believe the difference sometimes but it’s a great feeling,” he said.
“Because of the amount of cardio I do now, it’s improved my heart and cardiovascular system, and I definitely have more energy when I’m doing anything.
“I don’t feel embarrassed about my fitness levels anymore and I know that as Ruben grows up, I’ll be able to run around and play with him, which was the whole motivation behind my weight loss.
“I look forward to being an active dad and teaching my son how to play football.”