SCOTS football fans will eat considerably fewer pies under a plan to target tubbies on the terraces.
Health campaigners are recruiting100 fans from every SPL club and setting them a target of shedding up to 10% of their body weight.
Football Fans in Training (FFIT) believes that it can start to tackle the general problem of obesity in Scotland by honing in on soccer supporters.
Around 65% of men in Scotland are either obese or overweight, largely as a result of unhealthy lifestyles – including regular trips to the pie stall at football matches.
The FFIT initiative, run by the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at Glasgow University, has already enjoyed some early success.
A pilot project managed to recruit 350 football fans, who shed an average of nearly 5% of their body weight. In all, the volunteers got rid of 2,500lbs of fat.
Being with other fans – and competition with slimmers from other clubs – seems to provide the motivation that other approaches lack.
As well as cutting down on pies, those who sign up for the scheme are encouraged to do around 45 minutes a day of “moderate activity”.
Study manager Dr Cindy Gray said: “Most of the men have said they just didn’t see other weight loss options being for them at all.
“They feel comfortable at their football club and say this gave them the kick up the backside they needed and was like a night out with the lads without the drink.”
Elaine Thorburn says the wives and girlfriends of fans are also benefiting.
The 38-year-old from Larbert said of Hearts-mad partner Grant: “I’ve got my husband back and the kids have got their dad back.”
Grant, 37, managed to lose five-and-a-half stone after taking part in the pilot.
He started weekly fitness sessions at Tynecastle in January. His weight is down to 20 stone and keeps coming off, said Elaine.
“He piled on the weight in the last four years and nothing he tried diet-wise worked because he never had the motivation.
“But the face he was doing this with other fans and that there was a competitive element with other teams was a really big factor.”
She added: “It’s made a huge difference to our family life.”
Grant, dad to four-year-old Joe and Max, two, used to be the “ultimate couch potato” but now plays football with his children and helps around the house, said Elaine.
Anyone keen to take part – aged 35-65 and have a waist size of at least 38 inches – can register at www.spl-ffit.co.uk.