How do I choose a healthy weight loss plan?

The NHS recommends weight loss plans that:

Why not try the NHS weight loss plan?

The NHS weight loss plan is an easy-to-follow 12-step guide that will help you to reduce the number of calories you consume, develop healthier eating habits and get more active, so you can lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off. 

Before you start a weight loss plan such as the above, speak to your GP first if you have a medical condition such as:

Check your BMI

You should first find out whether you really need to lose weight and, if so, how much. Check your BMI (body mass index) on the healthy weight calculator to see if your weight is already healthy for your height. For more information, see What is the body mass index (BMI)?

If your BMI score suggests that you’re overweight or obese (a BMI score of 25 or more), you should consider losing weight.

Healthy balanced diet

To lose weight in a healthy way, you need to use more energy (calories) than you consume. You can do this by:

  • eating a healthy, balanced diet with fewer calories
  • increasing your physical activity 

Find out how to start getting active your way.

This may include making changes to the types of food you eat so that you are eating food high in fat or sugar in smaller amounts or less often, or keeping an eye on your portion sizes. The eatwell guide shows how much of what we eat should come from each food group.

See the lose weight section for more information on:

Some people find that joining a group can motivate them to lose weight. Use the Find services tool to find a weight loss group near you. Your GP may also be able to recommend a calorie-controlled or low-fat diet.

Read more information about treating obesity.

Exercise for losing weight

As well as making changes to your diet, your weight loss plan should include regular physical activity. The amount of physical activity you can do will depend on your current level of fitness. If you haven’t exercised recently, see your GP for a health assessment first. It’s also important when starting to exercise that you build up your fitness gradually.

Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, such as cycling or fast walking. Adults who are overweight can improve their health by meeting these guidelines, even if they don’t lose weight. For more information, see the fitness section.

Read more information about healthy eating.

Further information:


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Next review due:

Page last reviewed: 13/01/2015

Next review due: 12/01/2017