As part of National Obesity Awareness Week, Walking Football participant Andy Laurie revealed how getting involved in the programme has helped him lose almost three stone.
Andy has been attending North End’s over 50 Walking Football sessions since February 2017, and he revealed how beneficial it’s been to him and how it has contributed to him losing 18 kilos in under two years.
“I started Walking Football in February 2017 and I play two or three times a week” said Andy. “I’ve used it not only as playing the game but as weight loss. I thoroughly enjoy it and have continued to play to this day ever since.
“I’m currently 90 kilos so to lose 18 kilos in just under two years is quite good. I’m feeling a lot healthier. I can walk up and down stairs now without getting out of breath and I really enjoy it.”
Andy uses his belt as an indication of the amount of weight he has lost and drills new holes into it as he continues to shed the pounds through regular exercise.
As well as the physical side of losing weight, it also requires a lot of mental strength and Andy believes that being part of group who support each other through the good times and the bad times is key.
“What we have here in the group is very much two parts to the football. One is the actual football and the other is the banter and camaraderie we have as a group. We all support one another.
“If someone is feeling a bit down and doesn’t want to turn up, we still make them turn up and they still enjoy it. Even when some of us are injured, we’re still turning up for a coffee.”
Andy’s weight loss journey had originally begun in the summer of the previous year when he decided that it was time for him to change his lifestyle and lose weight.
“My weight loss started in July 2016” continued Andy. “I was 108 kilos and I thought this is getting stupid - I was too fat.
“What I did when I started walking was, I did a distance and I was walking for an hour and 15 minutes. Each day I tried to cut that time down by a minute so slowly you get faster and I was doing whatever mileage it was in an hour and that’s when I knew I was up to proper speed.”
Andy hasn’t just changed the amount of physical activity he undertakes and while he hasn’t changed his diet, he has reduced his alcohol consumption.
Andy admitted: “I’ve not actually changed what I eat, I still like the odd treat, however what I have done is cut down the amount of alcohol I drink at home.
“I still go to the pub twice a week and have a beer and occasionally I’ll have a drink at home but not very often so really my diet hasn’t changed that much – it’s purely down to exercise.”
North End host weekly Walking Football sessions on a Tuesday from 6pm until 7pm and on a Friday from 11am until 1pm at the Preston North End Community Training Centre for men and women over the age of 50, regardless of ability.
The first steps in losing weight can be the toughest, but Andy believes that the Walking Football sessions provide the perfect opportunity for people to lose weight and he is keen to encourage more to do so.
He added: “Get into a group which is fun to be with. If exercise is fun, then you’re going to do it. Start off slowly, don’t overdo it and just work up.
“I thoroughly enjoy it and they are a great bunch. We all have a good laugh and that’s what life is about at the end of the day.
“So, I would say to anyone, start it gently and enjoy it but just carry on. Persevere and just carry on doing it.”
Find out more about Walking Football sessions at Preston North End here.