Getting started on the NHS weight loss plan

Download 'Losing weight: Getting started' to develop healthier eating habits, get more active and get on track to start losing weight.

Weight loss guide features:

We want to help you adopt a healthier lifestyle so you can lose weight safely and learn the skills you need to keep it off in the long term.

Your calorie allowance on the plan:

  • Men should eat and drink no more than 1,900kcal a day.
  • Women should eat and drink no more than 1,400kcal a day.

If you normally eat a lot more than the recommended 2,500kcal for a man and 2,000kcal for a woman you may find it hard to cut back to our suggested calorie limit. If so, aim to reduce your calorie intake gradually over the next few weeks.

If people are overweight, it’s usually because they
eat and drink more calories than they need.

Losing weight - Getting started is designed to help you lose weight at a safe rate of 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) each week by sticking to a daily calorie allowance. 

For most men, this will mean consuming no more than 1,900kcal a day, and 1,400kcal for most women.

If you go over your limit one day, don’t worry, we've got that covered. It simply means you’ll have to reduce your calorie intake the following days.

For example, if you're a woman and you have 1,700kcal on Tuesday – that’s 300kcal more than your daily calorie allowance of 1,400kcal.

To stay on track, you’ll need to remove 300kcal from your remaining calorie allowance over the rest of the week.

Information guides

The guide is delivered through 12 weekly information packs full of diet, healthy eating and physical activity advice, including weekly challenges.

Is this for me?

  • This guide is intended for use by healthy adults with
    a body mass index (BMI) of 25 and over. Find out if you need to lose weight using the BMI healthy weight calculator.
  • It is not suitable for children and young people or pregnant women.
  • If you suffer from any medical condition you should consult your GP before starting.
  • You are urged to seek the advice of a health professional before starting on any weight loss programme. 

Each information guide contains a food and activity chart (view sample PDF, 545kb) to help you record your calories, exercise and weight loss so you can see how well you're doing at a glance.

Print and stick the chart somewhere you can see it, such as the fridge or a kitchen cupboard, and update it at the end of each day.

In addition to a healthier diet, regular physical activity is a vital component of your weight loss journey.

Not only will it help you lose more weight but it will also keep you motivated and improve your general health and wellbeing.

As you work through the weeks, you'll get lots of ideas and structured programmes to help you get active, from easy ways to gradually build activity into your day, to the popular Couch to 5K5K+ and Strength and Flex podcasts.

Getting started

The links below provide the tools and knowledge you'll need from day one on the plan. Before you download Week 1, it's worth taking a look so you can:

*The NHS Choices weight loss guide has been developed under the supervision and advice of specialist dietitians from the British Dietetic Association, which represents registered dietitians in the UK. Thanks to dietitians within DOM UK (Dietitians in Obesity Management) – a specialist group of the British Dietetic Association.

Page last reviewed: 05/12/2012

Next review due: 05/12/2014


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