TV star Jason Manford helps fans lose astonishing 39st thanks to Facebook group

Jason Manford inspires army of dieters to shed pounds with impressive results

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Stand-up comic Jason ­Manford has lost 3st since the start of the year – and the punchline is that he’s inspired an army of dieters to do the same.

These people lost a total of 38st between them after joining a 72,000-strong Facebook group that he created.

The Jason Manford Weight Loss Support Group – initially named The Jason ManFat Weight Loss Group – is full of posts and photos charting the diet journeys of men and women across the country, including Jason himself.

Through sharing that guilty Sunday roast, the joy after a dip of the bathroom scales, a pair of jeans that finally fit, the reward of a cake after hitting a goal, the members help keep each other accountable. And it has all inspired Jason to stick with his plan, while members of the group have been able to follow his progress in return.

Jason Manford is inspiring lots of fans to ditch the pounds this summer!
(Image: DAILY MIRROR)

The TV star revealed his quest to reach a healthy weight has had its ups and downs.

He says: “The group is about trying and I’m not the leader – I just chip in. I pop in every so often and tell them about my journey, and I tell them when I fail – and that I’ve tried this for a bit, or I’m going to try and get back on it.

“There are men who are honest about caring about their appearance, mums who struggle post baby and a lot
of people just doing it for ­themselves and their families.”

Here are just a few of the success stories…

Neil Cooper lost 5st 12lbs

Neil weighed over 19st in 2018 before completely turning his lifestyle around
(Image: COLLECTS)

Neil is now 13st after he ditched the snacks and upped the exercise
(Image: COLLECTS)

Like Jason, Neil Cooper, 42, from Greater Manchester, hid his low self-esteem by “being the joker”.

And like the comic, it was his impending 40th birthday and his wish to be healthier for his two young children, that gave him the impetus to lose weight.

When he began in January 2018 he weighed 19st 5lb. Now he is 13st 7lb.

The catering manager started steadily, swapping his lattes for Americanos, ditching the crisps and taking the stairs more. But he’s slowly restricted calories more and upped exercise to running and the gym most days.

He says: “I still have treats, my Friday night takeaway, my cheese and port, but I understand food more now.

“If I had restricted anything completely it wouldn’t have worked.

“It was how Jason ‘de-mystified’ dieting that helped the most. The way he talks, no food is limited, he calls the fad diets out.”

Sapphire Nash lost 9st

Sapphire Nash suffered from depression in her twenties
(Image: DAILY MIRROR)

Sapphire has since completely transformed her approach to health and fitness
(Image: DAILY MIRROR)

At her very lowest ebb in her twenties, Sapphire Nash attempted to take her life.

Depression had always dogged her, beginning in childhood. Her weight had gone “hand in hand” with it as she was bullied for her size.

But today, the 47-year-old from Hertfordshire says she is finally free of depression, and says it coincided with her weight loss.

Over five years she has gone from a size 24 and 18st 7lb to a size 12 and 9st 7lb.

“I have battled with weight gain all my life it and the depression have gone hand in hand. But when I reached a size 14 my depression upped and left after 40 years.

“I was taking very strong anti-depressants, living in hell, but I just snapped and decided I wanted my life back,” she says.

Sapphire is now off the medication. She has followed a low carb and healthy fat diet as she has health conditions which aren’t suited to calorie counting.

She’s also cut portion sizes. “Before, instead of one pie I’d eat two, instead of one portion of mash I’d have four,” she says.

“In Jason’s group there is no selling, no horrible posts and it gives you motivation to see others losing weight.”

She adds: “Depression was so crippling, I’m just enjoying ‘being’ now.”

Beccy Fletcher lost 9st 7lbs

Beccy cut out bread and potatoes and began walking more
(Image: DAILY MIRROR)

Beccy Fletcher has slimmed down to a size 10
(Image: DAILY MIRROR)

Recently, Beccy Fletcher, 44, pulled on a pair of 29ins waist Levis. “The last time I put on a pair was as a teenager of 14 or 15, and then they had a waist of 33 inches,” she says.

The airfield operational support officer from Devon went from 21st and a size 24 to 11st 7lb and a size 10 since the first lockdown.

Born with hip problems she has battled weight gain from a young age and it has affected her self-esteem – but diets had never got her below 14st.

Simple calorie counting to 1,800 a day, cutting out bread and potatoes and upping her walking to 5,000 steps a day, even though she needs a crutch for a knee problem, has changed everything.

“In the group we motivate each other, including Jason,” she says. “I’ve just had more support. You don’t need to do anything drastic.”

Michael Johnson lost 5st

Michael Johnson has lost over 5st since he first vowed to get healthy
(Image: DAILY MIRROR)

Michael Johnson now has more energy to look after his three kids
(Image: DAILY MIRROR)

Unable to fit in his work clothes at the end of the first lockdown, and also finding his relationship coming to an end, Michael Johnson, 38, decided he needed to slim for the sake of his confidence.

The auditor from Preston is now 5st lighter and happy in a new relationship after finding the courage for the first time to join a dating app.

He has gone from 18st 6lb to 13st 6lb.

“My weight was the accumulation of poor diet, a cycle of feeling down and using food as a comfort,” he explains.

“I was grazing when I was bored, snacking on chocolate, biscuits, crisps and large amounts – I might have two chocolate bars in a sitting.”

He opts to count weekly calories – 14,000 over seven days – and exercises for three days, then has a day’s break.

He now finds he has more energy for this three kids.

“I played on the trampoline with them for an hour on Sunday!” he says.

Christine Whyte lost almost 4st

Christine revealed that she has been able to ditch her inhalers after getting healthy
(Image: COLLECTS)

The wheezing and breathlessness was terrifying, even before the threat of Covid-19 arrived. When Christine Whyte, 38, was diagnosed with asthma, she knew she had to lose weight.

Now just 4lb away from a 4st weight loss this year, she no longer uses her inhalers.

“I really do think it was the extra weight that was contributing to my symptoms,” she smiles.

Christine, a pricing analyst from Wakefield, explains her weight crept up as she grieved for her grandmother and began making all her late nan’s recipes as a way of mourning.

At 5ft 4in she reached 15st 5lb and a dress size 24.

Now a size 12 and 11st 10lb she is still going down.

“I’m back to the size I was before having children,” she says. “And they are in their late teens!”

Christine makes sure she is in calorie deficit sticking to around 1,300 a day and is also hooked on a boxercise virtual reality headset which the kids got for Christmas, exercising using it every day.

“There’s lots of meal ideas on Jason’s group, I never get bored,” she says. “But I don’t deny myself, I still have my doughnuts!”

Simon Mound lost 6st

Simon Mound is thrilled with the results
(Image: DAILY MIRROR)

Simon Mound, 47, an artist from Greater Manchester, has lost a staggering 6st over three years.

But more life-changing than the drop from around 18st to 12st, is the effect the weight loss has had on his self-esteem and mental health. Now, he has finally quit medication for depression he thought he would always need.

He says: “An increase in my self-esteem and a belief after seeing how far I’ve come made me have a really positive outlook on my life and how we can change anything.”

For Simon, a dad of two, cutting out processed food was key to his calorie counting. He eats around 1,200 a day and exercises nearly every day.

“I found the hardest thing wasn’t necessarily a certain food but to avoid processed foods, now everything I do is homemade from a Sunday dinner, to curries,” he says.

He has also found the confidence to leave his job as a security guard to take up his passion for art full-time.

“Jason’s message of ‘eat less, exercise more’ is a very honest way of doing it,” he adds.

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