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Weight loss support: who can help me lose weight?

If you’re reading this you’re probably ready to make some significant lifestyle changes to lose weight…but where do you start? 


From getting tips and advice from professional health coaches to joining weight loss groups, you have lots of options when it comes to getting some support to become healthier. Whether you’re living with obesity or struggling with your weight management, there’s someone who can help you. In this article we’ll let you know about the different support systems available to you so you can find a plan that works for you.


7 options for weight loss support

1. Your GP

You may have tried losing weight before and not seen the results you hoped for; if this is the case, speaking with your GP could help you to discover reasons why you struggle with weight loss and point you in the right direction. For example, your GP could run some health checks on you and find out whether you have any underlying health conditions. Not only will this be important for you to know in future, it will make figuring out a plan of action easier so you can lose weight more effectively. Here’s some ways your GP can help:

  • Running tests and checks - so that you’re prepared, the first thing that your GP (or practice nurse) will likely do is check how healthy your current weight is, so they’ll take your height and weight measurements to calculate your BMI. They may also test your blood pressure, perform blood tests and take waist measurements to see if you’re carrying too much fat in your stomach area which could increase your risk of developing health issues such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Once you know whether you have any health issues, your GP will be able to help you work out the best way to go about safely losing weight. If you want to check your BMI yourself, use this handy BMI calculator developed by the NHS to find out what your healthy weight range should be.
  • Discuss your diet and exercise - your GP may wish to talk about your diet and exercise regime to get an understanding of how healthy your lifestyle currently is. You might be encouraged to log everything you eat and drink as well as note the physical activities you do in a diary for a week so that they can get a better insight in a follow-up consultation. From there, they can help you by suggesting some lifestyle changes and offering more follow-up appointments to see how you’re progressing.
  • Refer you to other services - they may know some great local weight loss groups in the area to point you to or refer you to a specialist trainer to ensure you lose weight safely.
  • Recommend medicines - there is just one medicine which is prescribed by doctors and that is ‘Orlistat’. This is something that will only be recommended if:
  • You’re at increased risk due to type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure and have a BMI of 28 or above.
  • You have a BMI of 30 or above.
  • Suggest surgery - if you’ve tried making significant changes to your lifestyle or taken medicines which haven’t had the desired effect, your GP might suggest that you consider weight loss surgery. This won’t be discussed unless they deem it to be necessary (for example, if you have a weight-related health issue) as it can be a risky procedure and is a last resort.


2. Weight loss support groups

Joining a group where you’re surrounded by others who are on similar journeys that you can relate to can really help to keep you motivated as you try to lose weight. 

There’s a number of weight loss support groups in the UK which you can become a part of, including Weight Watchers and Slimming World, all of which involve supporting you in a group setting. Whilst you might be nervous to share your progress and experiences with a group, remember that they are all in the same boat - everyone will have been in your shoes and nobody is there to judge you, only support you. 

A weight loss group can help you by:

  • Offering you advice and teaching you practical ways to lose weight.
  • Members of the group can share their personal experiences and highlight what works for them, giving you inspiration from people in a similar position to yourself.
  • Holding you accountable to encourage you to stick to the program and reach your goals.
  • Providing you with diet and exercise plans.
  • Giving you a safe place to discuss your progress and the challenges you’ve faced.
  • Giving you more confidence as you make new friends and receive praise for reaching your goals.

You can use this handy tool by the NHS to find weight loss support group services near you.

Here at LiveWell Dorset, we offer eligible Dorset residents who are registered to our services access to free 12 weekly group sessions with a weight loss group provider (Weight Watchers or Slimming World). Please note that in order to qualify for this Kick-Start programme, you will need to be a certain BMI - get in touch to find out whether you could be eligible for this service and learn more here.

Remember, weight-loss groups aren’t just for women and there are weight loss groups out there designed to support everyone, no matter what your gender. 

Dominic lost just under 3.5 stone after he joined Slimming World. Watch his story here to see how he found losing weight with the support of a weight loss group.

3. Health advisors and coaches

You can also turn to professional health advisors and coaches, such as the friendly health experts at LiveWell Dorset to guide you through the process of making healthy lifestyle changes. You can receive one-to-one support with a weight-loss specialist who will offer tips for changing your eating habits and introduce you to new ways to be more physically active in your day-to-day life.

You’ll receive more information about the options available to you, such as weight loss groups - as mentioned earlier, we are also able to offer eligible Dorset residents free sessions at a weight loss group if you are signed up to our services. Whatever your needs and preferences are, we’ll be able to point you in the right direction and our coaches will keep you on the right path for long-term success.

"LiveWell helped me to explore my options and offered me a three-month kick start at a weight loss programme" - Ivan, from Dorchester

4. Therapists and counsellors

Some people find it helpful to receive therapy or counselling sessions which are designed to get to the bottom of their eating habits so that they can work out ways to change their behaviours. By understanding the reasons behind your relationship with food, how you feel about your body and how your weight impacts your life, you can address what needs focusing on to break the pattern.

Typically a weight loss counsellor or therapist will help by:

  • Asking you personal questions about your eating habits, body confidence and mental health to understand your eating habits.
  • Challenging your negative thoughts and encouraging you to think differently about situations.
  • Helping to build your confidence.
  • Teach you healthier ways to manage your emotions instead of eating.

These services will of course be confidential so you have a safe space to share what you feel comfortable discussing. If you think your emotions impact your diet, you can read our advice on how to stop emotional eating to get some ideas.

5. Online forums

You might not fancy a face-to-face group setting, and there are plenty of online weight-loss support groups and forums where you can share your experiences with others from the comfort of your own home (such as Weight Loss Resources based in the UK). Like physical weight-loss groups, these forums provide a sense of community and you can connect with people from all around the UK (and the world!) to get tips and advice from others.

6. Accountability partners

A weight loss accountability partner is someone who is aware of your goals and will help keep you on track to reach them. They do this by checking-in with you to ensure you’re sticking to your diet and carrying out the exercises you said you’d do for the week. Whilst you might think this sounds like someone will be “on your back”, we encourage you to be open-minded about teaming up with someone because it has so many benefits, such as keeping you motivated to continue on your weight loss journey.

In a nutshell, an accountability partner can help you by:

  • Helping you to plan meals and physical activities for the week.
  • Keeping you motivated as you have someone to “report” to and celebrate your successes.
  • Being there to hear about your progress so you have someone to talk to about your struggles and the milestones you hit.
  • Offering you their tips and advice.

Your accountability partner may even be trying to lose weight themselves, so you can be each other's support system and reach your common goals together. You may choose someone who you already know, such as a friend or family member but you can also find a new friend to partner up with on a social site such as Sportpartner

Intrigued to know more about joining a weight loss buddy system? Check out our article on weight loss accountability partners which tells you more about how they can help you to shed those extra pounds and how you can find one.

7. Friends and family

Don’t forget to let your friends and family know that you’re trying to lose weight. If they’re aware of your goals, they can help to support you and will know not to tempt you with any unhealthy snacks! Who knows, you might even inspire some of your loved ones to join you in working towards a healthier lifestyle.

Final thoughts

Losing weight is a challenge for anyone. Not only do you need to rethink your diet and change your eating habits, you also need to try and be more active. The key takeaway today is that you don’t have to navigate your way through losing weight on your own, and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to who to speak to about becoming healthier. From joining a group full of people on a similar journey to you to having one-to-one sessions with a professional health advisor, there’s a solution that will work for you.

If you’re looking to lose weight and live in Dorset, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of professional health advisors and coaches are ready to guide you on your weight-loss journey, giving you all the tips, tools and recommendations to get you where you need to be to live a happier and healthier life.


Register with us today or get in touch with our team who will be more than happy to help.

Ivan

I drank too much alcohol and had unhealthy eating habits. Pastry is such a bad thing, it's all those pies, pasties and sausage rolls!

View full story

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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