Weight Loss NHS

I lost 3 lbs - Please think carefully before you criticise anyone's weight loss for being too great or too fast

I lost 3 lbs - Please think carefully before you criticise anyone's weight loss for being too great or too fast

I personally feel that just berating anyone "brave" enough and or enthusiastic enough to mention they have lost more than 2.2 pounds in a week is unhelpful and misguided.

In reality the reliability and validity of weight measurements taken at home might be questionable anyway. Not only are the reliability and accuracy and repeatability of the scale' s results an issue it is also impossible to know the daily water content of the body.

For example if a were to drink 2 simple pints of water and then have a large meal and measure myself before I go to bed. Shock horror - in the morning after visiting the bathroom I have exceeded the weekly guidelines just in water loss alone.

In an ideal world we would - after having the same length of the same quality of sleep - measure ourselves at the same time in the same exact position at the same temperature etc this is generally not the case. In addition excessive weighing maybe an issue for some people. Other advice to weigh infrequently - may yield even greater inaccuracies as a trend in weight variation may take longer to be detected.

In an attempt to be objective I have gone back to the to the source of the GUIDANCE also see the NICE "Lifestyle advice on diet and physical activity" link here tiny.cc/NICE-DaPA-01

In it they say " * expect people to lose no more than 0.5–1 kg (1–2 lb) a week."

This I totally agree with this. I also don't find any scare tactics or clinically based warnings.

They then simply say "Programmes that do not meet these criteria are unlikely to help people maintain a healthy weight in the long term.

Also from Clinical guidelines, CG43 - Issued: December 2006

tiny.cc/NICE-CG43-htm-01 (web page)

tiny.cc/NICE-CG43-pdf-01 (pdf direct link)

• realistic targets for weight loss;for adults the targets are usually

- maximum weekly weight loss of 0.5–1 kg (6)

- aim to lose 5–10% of original weight

They also say "the change from losing weight to maintenance typically happens

after 6–9 months" so this will NOT apply to anyone with a greater amount of weight to lose than their weekly TARGET allows.

tiny.cc/NICE-OBBP-01 Self-help, commercial and community weight management programmes - Best practice

* aiming for a maximum weekly weight loss of 0.5–1 kg

* focusing on long-term lifestyle changes rather than a short-term, quick-fix approach

* addressing both diet and activity

also tiny.cc/NICE-DIaA-01 Dietary interventions and advice for adults

In particular I have not seen any EVIDENCE or guidelines that say if a sensible diet is followed and physically activity added and (especially initially) a greater than 1kg loss is recorded in one week that this is "unsafe".

I would like there to be specific guidance for anyone starting form a higher than BMI 30 starting point but I suspect "the health establishment" assume that those individuals will seek medical advice. It seems that there is a big variation in the level of support and information offered and received even to those who seek it.

It also seems likely to me there will be many people who will not access the perceived support available for many reasons and that openly available clear and concise information should be made available. Everything I have quoted here or liked to is publicly available though some items use language which might take some decoding as it is intended for an audience of health professionals.

People who have any queries or concerns about their – or their family's – diet, activity levels or weight should discuss these with a health professional such as a nurse, GP, pharmacist, health visitor or school nurse(1).

1 This is part of a recommendation from 'Obesity' (NICE clinical guideline 43).

Sorry if this seems long - but I believe people should have access to unbiased and non judgmental information and from it draw their own conclusions or seek advice or do further research.


Another source or information is from the British Heart Foundation booklet - tiny.cc/BHF-LWFG-01

So You Want to Lose Weight...For Good

Isn’t quick weight loss more rewarding?

Many people want to lose weight quickly in just a few weeks, ready for a special event or a holiday. Unfortunately our body rebels against this kind of crash dieting in a number of ways.

First, eating so little means feeling hungry, listless and sometimes faint, so it is difficult to sustain it for long. It also means the body is unlikely to be adequately nourished because such a small food intake can’t provide enough vitamins and minerals for good health.

Secondly, losing weight quickly involves losing essential water and muscle as well as fat. So,

although the scales may show you’ve lost some weight, your body has not lost much fat!

Thirdly, your metabolic rate slows down and it becomes even harder to lose weight.Gradual weight loss really is the safest and most effective way to lose weight.

Another document for reference the Audit criteria for NICE clinical guideline no. 43


•encourage people to aim for maximum weekly weight loss of 0.5 – 1 kg

•focus on long-term lifestyle changes rather than a quick fix approach

•address both diet and activity levels through a variety of approaches

•use a balanced, healthy eating approach

•recommend regular physical activity

•include behaviour change techniques such as keeping a food and activity diary

•provide or recommend ongoing support

8 Replies

Hi fitterinfo,

I agree.

The point about weight loss rate is that the recommended rate of loss is between 1 to 2 lb a week (max 1 kg - 2.2 lb), but that figure is:-

1) AVERAGED out as we all have blips and spurts - so over say 4 weeks your weight loss should be around a maximum of about 9 lbs. But you know if it's 10 or 12 lbs, it's not the end of the world - just adjust your regime a tad.

(However, if for example, you've lost 20 lbs in a month - then I'd recommend you do some serious looking at your regime - though whether you do or don't is up to you).

and it's

2) Subject to the fact that in the first week or two you will probably lose weight faster than that due to fluid loss, rather than fat loss.

The main reasons for avoiding faster - and especially significiantly faster - weight loss are:

1) People who lose weight quickly are more inclined to regain it.

2) It gives time for you to get used to / 'settle in' to your new 'better' eating habits

3) It helps to avoid a number of health risks such as possible fainting, headaches, nausea, constipation, and various others including gallstones. (People can google the risks of rapid weight loss for themselves if they're interested).

4) It helps to avoid people - through taking in too little food - not taking in adequate balanced nutrition and thereby getting into problems such as Potassium deficiency.

5) It also helps to avoid other matters like mood changes - such as irritability - and it gives your skin more chance to adapt to the reduced bulk of your body.

6) It generally permits your body to adapt to the changes which is basically the reverse of the process it went through as you gained the excess weight.

The sensible and healthy way to lose weight is moderately and such an approach is also more pleasant. At one point on my weight loss journey, I was losing weight too fast, so I changed my regime a bit. It caused mood changes in me, which disappeared when I upped my food intake a tad.

Six months nearly into this, I'm now 25 kgs lighter and struggling with the last kilo - but I've had a few routine changes lately, so that doesn't particuarly surprise me and I do have one or two changes to my eating habits I could make quite easilly which I'm keeping 'in reserve' for the moment.

(Basically, my better half is back at home having been working away for some while, and so I've not got quite so much control over what I eat at home and we've also both been fantically busy with various things both in and out of work).

In my view, the actual weight lost by a person is the real measure of how right his/her food input and exercise/activity regime actually is.

Have successful, healthy and safe weight loss journeys, folks.


Hi Im one of the original yo yo and quick weight loss dieters ive done everything to get the quick fix which I might add hasn't worked hence being on here !!!. And your right about consequences I was diagnosed with gallstones last August and have been in excruciating pain in hospital no end I had 46 large and small stones and ive never felt pain like it . The consultant said it was through lifestyle losing weight quickly and gaining again eating silly diets basically etc etc. Ive since had my gallbladder removed a couple of weeks ago im still 'obese' but im now willing to try to eat properly and healthily and exercise, both will be a new experience for me . When you do these daft diets you never think of the consequences or long term effects . I have spent thousands of pounds chasing the next miracle weight loss book dvd plan pill ive done it all and long term my head is totally screwed up as is my body im obsessive about weighing myself morning noon and night and my day depends on the scales how sad is that !!! I could go on and im sorry this is long but im now ready to do this right and be fit and healthy and I want to change . Little steps day at a a time .


Hi Doikosp

I think the initial weight loss amnesty and the averaging concession you mention above are important factors to remember and that any weigh loss is a positive thing, assuming someone is overweight or obese.

I mean this in as much as many more people will not be actually doing anything but still desire change. So anyone taking positive steps should be firstly encouraged and congratulated THEN offered advice if required. And it is only advice!


Hear, Hear.

The weight loss journey is such a personal one and negative comments can be very hurtful or completely destroy fragile confidence.

I think wholehearted support and encouragement will do the trick - if a weekly weightloss was possibly too severe etc., then the following week it will become obvious that it is difficult to sustain and hopefully things will level out. And if one falls off the wagon and become discouraged then with support and encouragement one can start all over again.

Plus, for some of us and by that I mean me, the science and facts and figures of things are important but it is not important to everybody. At the risk of being repetitive, support and encouragement works for all of us :-)


Hi folks,

I think you need to consider really what encouragement is.

I personally don't believe it's "encouraging" to fail to warn people of situations that might cause them harm to their health, or even just run the risk of making them give up on the weight loss plan they are undertaking.

Clearly, each person will make their own decision about what advice they'll take or reject, or perhaps more pertinently what advice they will actually implement. Like many other health/fitness matters, body weight histories are littered with good advice not acted upon my own included.

Also, this is a public blog, not a 'one-to-one' situation and replies about issues are not necessarily just aimed at the individual, but also at all the readers of the blogs.

Finally, I would also say that whilst this blog has its value, people need to understand that anyone can only answer questions or respond to posts in a general sense. No-one here knows enough about the individuals to really give 'person-tailored' responses to anyone about anything.

Even if were to know all about everyone's physical health/fitness issues - which we very definately don't - we wouldn't know about their social, emotional or mental health situations.


I wouldn't dream of criticising anybody for what they do or don't do. A lot of self-discovery happens along this journey, and that self-discovery can be very therapeutic. I would enter one caveat. It has been suggested above: 'discuss with your health professional/practice nurse/GP...' Mostly I have found that these folk, although well-meaning, are useless. Which is sad, when one considers that they are the 'first port of call' for most people. I once went to a weight control clinic run by the practice nurse. She knew less about it than I did! If I'd followed her suggestions my weight would have gone up, not down. One thing was 'oh you can eat unlimited potatoes'. What??? Given that potatoes, when peeled, are nothing but starch, which converts instantly into sugar, no different from eating something like Krispy Kreme Donuts (not that I ever do).


I've averaged about 0.4 lbs a week, but I've been stuck on a bit of a plateau for around 4 months. I /was/ getting more than a little disillusioned but, having read Margrete's post, am now encouraged to - once again - make an effort to reduce what goes in and, maybe, get a little more exercise.

Sooner or later something's gotta give ...

Thanks Margrete!

1 like


Thanks FitterInfo (not Margrete)


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