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Managing Your Weight: A Healthy Approach

The benefits of losing weight and how to do it safely

Being a healthy weight is good for our wellbeing, but losing weight too fast can be bad for our health. Learn how to lose weight safely and at a managable pace.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of health problems such as:

  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Back pain

You can reduce your risk of these conditions by managing your weight. Working towards a healthy weight can bring other benefits too, like feeling good about yourself and being a good influence on others.

Even a small weight loss can bring health benefits, particularly if you can maintain it.

What do we mean by ‘overweight’ / ‘obesity’?

Overweight and obesity are defined as having too much body fat. This is usually measured by Body Mass Index (BMI), which shows how heavy you are in relation to your height.

The BMI categories are shown below:


A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is classed as overweight and a BMI over 30 is classed as obese*.

What causes excess weight?

To be a healthy weight, the amount of energy (calories) you take in needs to be balanced with the amount of energy you use up. We take in calories through food and drink and burn them through normal bodily functions and being active.

If you consume more energy than your body needs, the extra calories are stored as fat. This leads to weight gain over time. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in.

Safe weight loss

0.5-2lb a week is a safe, realistic weight-loss target. Making sensible changes to your diet and moving more are the best ways to achieve this.

Some fad diets claim they’ll help you lose weight very fast (think of plans that have people replacing meals with shakes). Losing weight too fast is not wise though, as your body has to break down muscle to do this. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so losing muscle means you’ll gain weight more easily later. Making small but maintainable changes to your lifestyle are much more likely to lead to lasting weight loss.

Need some support?

If you feel you need some guidance with your weight loss, register for your free healthy living profile contact our friendly team to find out how we can help. We can connect you with local services and offer 1:1 coaching to help you work through your challenges and build a healthy lifestyle that lasts.


*Note: though BMI is a useful measure of overweight/obesity, there are times when the numbers would be used with caution. It does not distinguish between fat and muscle, so someone who is very muscular would have a high BMI but may not have excess body fat. There are also some differences between ethnic groups: e.g. people of Asian origin have a higher risk of health problems at BMIs below 25. 

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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When you register with LiveWell Dorset, we ask you some questions about you and your health (how much you smoke, how active you are, how much you drink and how much you weigh). We store that information and use it to shape our service offer to you – such as the advice we give or the extra services we connect you to. The only people who will see this information will be those involved in the delivery of the service and management of the data. If you would like to use extra services (such as slimming clubs and pharmacies) we have to share this information with them. For us to be able to put you in touch with these services, we must have your consent to share that information with the service (we’ll ask for that later, when if you sign up for extra services).

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