To lose weight you need to consistently burn more calories than you’re taking in. Your calorie balance should be a negative figure. It’s helpful to think of it like this:
Caloric intake – calories burned = calorie balance
If you are trying to lose weight, the NHS recommends using these daily targets:
- 1,900 kcal per day for men
- 1,400 kcal per day for women
This includes a 600-calorie reduction per day on the normal daily intake for men and women (2,500 and 2,000 respectively). This is just a guideline and you might want to set your own targets, keeping in mind that it needs to be achievable.
To reach a negative calorie balance, you either need to cut down on how much you’re taking in or burn more calories, but a combination of both is the most effective.
What you eat is important
Healthy eating is key to losing weight, and most effective weight loss plans are based on swapping high fat, sugary foods for more fruits and vegetables.
Foods with a lot of fibre keep you feeling full for longer, so you’re not tempted to snack between meals – a big contributor to weight gain. Fibre is naturally found in these plant-based foods:
- Fruit and veg
- Brown rice
- Wholegrain bread
- Lentils, peas, and beans.
Though it makes sense to cut down on processed foods and anything high in fat or sugar, we don’t recommend banning anything from your diet. Completely cutting out the foods you enjoy will make you crave them more, so allow yourself the occasional treat.
What you drink is just as important as what you eat. Alcohol is high in calories so cutting down on how much you drink, can make a big difference. We also suggest trying to drink more water, as sometimes your body mistakes being thirsty for hunger.
Skipping breakfast or any meal can leave you feeling hungry and more likely to make bad food choices, like reaching for the junk food.
Some people find it helpful to plan their meals, so they know what they’re having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the whole week.
The NHS recommends using smaller plates to control your portion sizes. This is a useful way of reducing how much you eat gradually.
Move more to burn calories
Physical activity is a great way to burn calories and reduce your daily calorie balance. Adults between 19 and 64 should aim to do:
- At least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or,
- 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week
The NHS defines moderate activity as anything where you’re breathing faster and you feel warm. Vigorous activity is over and above this, so if you’re working at this level, you are breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate is much higher.
You don’t need to love exercise or have a gym membership to move more. Find something you enjoy and do more of it. It could be walking, cycling, swimming or even a YouTube workout – anything that increases your heart rate.
Exercise isn’t just important for losing extra calories, it also has a raft of other health benefits. It can lower your risk of early death by up to 30%¹, and is proven to reduce your chances of getting a major illness like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and coronary heart disease.
There are also lots of mental health benefits to exercise, which can help you shed pounds.
Cut down on your stress levels
Stress is a major cause of over-eating and can lead to an increase in weight.
The stress hormone, cortisol, increases your appetite, and can also reduce the number of calories you burn and promote fat retention. Likewise, when you are tired, you crave comfort food that is high in fat, dairy, and sugar.
Diets that work are mostly down to the can-do attitude of the person behind them.
According to researchers in America, people with high self-efficacy (self belief), lose more weight because they can deal with setbacks better². The study showed that one bad food day, didn’t stop them trying to reach their weight loss goals. There are lots of things you can do to reduce your stress levels:
- Exercise more
- Find a support network
- Take some ‘time out’
- Set yourself a goal
- Try to be positive
Doing just some of these can help improve your overall wellbeing and promote a positive mental outlook for a great start to your weight loss journey.
If you need a bit more help
If you’ve tried diet and exercise, and you’re not making any progress then your pharmacist or GP may be able to help. Medication such as orlistat, is designed to help people with a body mass index over 30 to lose weight.
It works by inhibiting the enzymes in your gut (lipases) that break down fat. It can prevent up to 30% of the dietary fat you eat from being absorbed.
Orlistat is usually prescribed as part of a weight management plan for treating obesity, but if your BMI is over 28 and you suffer from a condition like diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, then you may also be eligible to take it.
For orlistat to work effectively you should aim for a low-fat diet, rich in fruit and vegetables. To manage the rate of absorption, you should spread your calories over three meals, and each meal must be made up of 30% fat.
So, if your meal is 1000 calories then 300 of these calories should come from fat.
Taking the next steps
For help and advice on how to lose weight safely, talk to your GP, a pharmacist, or a registered dietitian.
You can buy orlistat online from Post My Meds using our online consultation facility. We’ll ask you a few simple questions to make sure you are eligible to take orlistat, and if it’s safe to do so, we will write you a prescription and post out your order.
We understand that your privacy is important to you, so all our orders are posted in unbranded, generic packaging with just your name and address.