Work out how much weight you need to lose

Set SMART goals

For behaviour change to be long-lasting, a simple goal-setting technique called SMART can help. When setting yourself goals like losing weight, try to be SMART about it. SMART stands for:

  • Specific: your goal should be precise, ‘I will run three times this week’, rather than general, ‘I will exercise more’
  • Measurable: your goal should be measurable
  • Achievable: breakdown your overall goal into easy mini-goals
  • Relevant: choose goals that apply to your circumstances
  • Time-specific: set yourself a time scale for achieving your goal

Use the BMI calculator above to work out how much weight you need to lose before starting the NHS weight loss plan.

The BMI tool will tell you if you're in the healthy weight range and, if necessary, how much you need to lose to achieve a healthy weight.

Ideally, you should aim for a target weight that gives you a BMI in the healthy weight category for your height (18.5 to 24.9).

The BMI tool will also provide you with your own personal daily calorie allowance to help you lose weight at a safe rate.

Having a weight loss goal to work towards is a useful way to stay focused and motivated on your weight loss journey.

Once you've worked out your weight loss target, download Week 1 of the NHS weight loss plan, a 12-week diet and exercise guide.

If you have lots of weight to lose, losing enough weight to achieve a healthy BMI may seem pretty daunting.

Some people like to set themselves small weight loss goals to stay motivated as they work their way towards their overall target weight.

However you choose to break up your goals, try to make them specific, measurable and with a deadline.

When trying to lose weight, it's tempting to want fast results. But studies show people who lose weight too fast end up putting it back on again. 

The NHS weight loss plan is designed to help you lose weight at a safe rate of 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) per week by sticking to a daily calorie allowance of 1,900kcal for men and 1,400kcal for women.

Unless done under medical supervision, losing weight faster than this can increase the risk of health problems, including malnutrition and gallstones, as well as causing you to feel tired and unwell.

Find out about getting started on the NHS weight loss plan.

Page last reviewed: 05/12/2014

Next review due: 05/12/2016


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

justregisterme said on 18 February 2015

Feeling very frustrated and need help to lose weight :(
I have an active job, constantly on my feet all day, using a pedometer I've calculated that my average is 14,000-16,000 steps per day Mon-Fri. Doing long hours I come home exhausted so admit I do sit down for the evening. Also go dancing one evening a week which I enjoy. Eating habits, well, I stopped eating anything made in a factory years ago. By rule the only processed food I have in the cupboard is a tin of chopped tomatoes or peas. I eat following the Eatwell plate guide so get all of my nutrients. I buy fresh fruit and veg and eat a portion of meat every day. I do at times skip breakfast. Hmm, don't eat cakes and biscuits are very rare. I also don't smoke or drink alcohol, never have. So, the problem is I'm over weight according to the calculators. Physically I'm a medium build and to look at me most people would say I can't be more than 9 or 10 stone, I fit in size 12 clothes. I suffer from UC and have had a lot of steroid treatment over the years, so weight gain could be caused by this. But I can't get it down to normal and I worry I'm not healthy enough. Perhaps my portion sizes are too large? Advice would be great, thanks.

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