Weight Loss NHS

Seeking advice re daily calorie intake for a desperate 40 year old

Has anyone else of a similar age to me (40) or older managed to lose around 6stone? If so could I ask what your daily calorie intake and activity levels were please?

Having tried (and failed) to lose weight about 137 times in the last 3 years I am feeling really desperate.

I am currently c. 16 stone 3lb and 5ft 7lb and need to reach a healthy weight of 10.5 stone (my natural weight). I am 40 years old.

I have dieted successfully in the past (in my thirties and twenties) by calorie counting (eating around 1500kcals/day but eating healthy, unprocessed foods) and exercising moderately. Back then, I never needed to lose more than 2 to 2.5 stone and my dieting approach always worked.

However, now I’m older and have much more weight to lose, my weight loss seems to plateau after a couple of weeks. I’ve tried various calorie levels from 1800/day to 1500/day but seem to get the same plateau after a couple of weeks. The NHS website recommends a minimum of 1650 for my age and activity level

I’m so desperate I’m thinking of doing lighter life or other very low calorie diet (although I really want to avoid if possible as these make me feel SO ill). Has anyone used this as a kick-start?

Thanks all for you advice.

9 Replies

I also need to lose 6st. I am 30 and had been struggling for ages to lose the weight untill I had a chat with the nurse at my GP surgery. Calorie intake wise she told me a minimum of 800 to prevent starvation mode and to try not to exceed 1500.

Meet wise she gave me tips that really have worked for me (but everyone is different). She suggested that I eat no more than 2 slices of bread a day, that all meet isnt batter or breaded. Any fruit to be eaten before 2pm and same with most bad carbs. Then it's just like following a diet for a diabetic or cholesterol control person.

Exercise wise I have gone mad lol. When I started I actually realised that I love it, but I do it at home through the xbox kinect. I do 5 days of 1 hour workouts and 2 days of 20minute workouts. Plus walking loads I walk the dog 3 miles a day but by the end of the day my step counter is usually 11000-12000 steps.

Hope this helps x


Try the 5:2 diet. Nothing worked for me until I did this. It has managed to kick start my weight loss. It was really difficult at first so I started by reducing my calories on one day per week. Once I managed to reduce my calories to 500 one day a week (it is 600 for men) I then worked to reduce it for two days per week. Have lost 2.5 stone so far.


Hi I am a lot older (56) but have many failed fad diets behind me. I started my journey may 19th this year and just finishing week 12 today started at 17.1 and on Monday was 15.4 so 25lb loss in 12 weeks which is about right 1/2-2lbs loss a week is slow and steady.

There is no quick fix it is a change of lifestyle I haven't done anything majorly different kept to 1300 calories as mine should be 1400 but I am keeping a little for calorie working out error. I have got a fitness tracker that helps me as I always want to check steps etc and I look on here for inspirational messages and give and take advice as I need it.

There are many on here who do far more exercise than I do but at the moment walking/ treadmill is my choice as I loose more weight I will brave the swimming pool as this is my ideal form of exercise.

I would say do what is best for you just up the activity levels in your chosen exercise stick to the lower end of your calorie guidance and download each week of the 12 week plan ( I will be starting week 1 again tomorrow as I need to loose a lot of weight. Count everything as there are calories in everything and they soon add up if you don't. I keep a diary and write how I feel in it I have little phases to spur me on. Someone on here once suggested putting the amount of lbs you want to loose in a jar in £1 coin form so I have 63 coins in one jar my 'to loose jar' and as I loose lbs in weight I transfer the coins over 'my lost jar' when I have completed I will have lost 41/2 stone I will still have more to loose but I call this my phase 1. The money saved will buy me something nice to remember my journey to a lighter, fitter me. It is just one incentive to carry on ( visual one ). Set yourself small goals each week maybe to up your steps, exercise, reduce alcohol, eat more fish anything that can be achievable. Mine this week is to reach my 70,000 steps which just eluded me last week. Lastly drink more water I am trying to get my 11/2 litres in each day this I must admit has been the hardest part as I keep forgetting.

Good luck you can do this because if you don't what's the alternative?



Excellent advice there from Itsbab 😊

Check out the newbies post, work out you BMR, if you want this to work long term I suggest eat the most you can initially so you have somewhere to go as you lose weight 😊

It is undoubtedly more difficult as you get older, and we have to sort of trick our bodies "no, no, I'm not dieting" or else the hormones work against us 😕

Exercise is important so we build and retain muscle which uses more calories per hour and helps fat burn 😊

Good luck 😊


Hi and welcome mrslp :)

I'm 59 and have lost 6st, so it is possible! In the past, I've yoyo'd, gone to slimming clubs and stuck to ridiculously low calorie diets, always looking for the quick fix! This time, it's different. This time, it's for life! It's taken me almost a year to get to this stage and I still have 3st to lose. In the past, if I had weeks where I didn't lose, or even gained a little, I would have given up, but not now. You just have to stick with it and have faith that things will eventually start moving again :)

My mantra is to stick within the guidelines for your calorie allowance and eat as many as you can, while still losing weight. If you cut down the amount too soon, as you lose weight, you've got nowhere to go and your body has adjusted to eating less. I certainly do not want to spend the rest of my life sticking to less than 1,000 calories per day!

My calorie allowance is 1750 - 2200 and I average around 2000 cals/day. I do a lot of exercise though, if I wasn't doing that, I'd probably be eating about 1700 cals/day. I'm 5ft 6".

Have a look at our pinned posts, read our newbie thread and follow the link to the NHS 12 week plan. See if it's something you could try.

Consider joining any, or all of our challenges, as they're fun and motivating.

Join our monday group weigh-in, as it's friendly, non-judgemental and supportive and helps to keep you accountable.

Be active on the forum, as that's where we get to know each other, share experience and knowledge and get our daily fix of motivation and inspiration.

Wishing you all the very best, you can do this! :)


Good morning MrsLP

Well firstly I'd say in all honesty, "STOP DIETING". There is only one scientific thing that reduces weight and for good. Sounds amazing but its,,,,,, Eat less, move more. That is it but heres the thing. You can change what you do eat but still be able to have nice things. Make sensible food swaps. Sweet potato instead of white. Brown rice instead of white. Ditch all white breads and replace with whole grain. Stop eating sugar. Sugare has ZERO benifit for the body. I run a group here where I live and made a video about calories and the difference between two single caloeires. Feel free to watch. I sometimes put out a video to help others on topics such as calories, exercise and I also put out tips.

First tip......Use a smaller plate. That can reduce your calorie intake by 300 calories. You do a lot of eating with your eyes. If that wasn't true then why are there so many food magazines and photo's of foods everywhere you go......

Who the hell am I? I am a man whom not long ago was 25stone. I have lost 10 and a half stone and am still counting. I now run half marathons for a hobby and am in training for a full marathon. Here is a video about exercise. Exercise is not the be all and end all of weight loss. It is just a tool in order to help you lose a few extra pounds and YOU DON'T NEED TO GO FAST. FAST IS STUPID AND MY VIDEO EXPLAINS WHY.......


I'm in my 40s, less than a pound away from losing 6 stone since January. At the moment I'm eating around 1800-1900 calories a day and I get close to 20,000 steps most days. Some of those steps are now running, but I'm only in the second week of couch 2 5k, so it's mostly been through walking. I don't do much exercise other than walking (and now running).

I signed up to Lose It! in January and ate the calories it suggested for 2 pound per week weight loss. As I lost weight, I lowered the weekly weight loss target (you can get weight loss through exercise above the amount it budgets for, not just from eating fewer calories). I hooked up a Fitbit with a Heart Rate monitor, which tells Lose It! how many calories I'm burning. Lose It makes adjustments based on that and reduces the calorie budget as you lose weight. I have increased my calorie allocation each time it got too low by reducing my target weight loss.

I think counting calories and using an app are a great way to lose. But you have to be careful about measuring everything -- it's very easy to overestimate if you try to guess how much food you have, particularly high calorie foods. I used Lose It!, other people use MyFitnessPal. I think there's a thread somewhere that shows the different ones people use -- they're all good, it's just personal preference.

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Hi Mrs LP,

I am 51 and have been dieted and on diets faddish and otherwise since I was 6 years old. As you can imagine, they must all have been very effective...

Recently, I found the Low Carb High Fat diet very good for me - it involves eating "real" food, ie, meat, fish, vegetables that are not sugar packed root veg, nuts, seeds, cooking using butter, cream, cheese - no sugar, no processed carbs like bread and pasta, no starchy carbs like rice and potatoes. Food is flavoursome and filling, and you don't count calories as your body feels sated from the fat in the diet and doesn't get into that empty carb spiral. It does not suit everyone but I lost 21kg between July last year and March this year, making my weight a mere 100kg (from 19.5 stone to 15 st 10 lb), so still quite a bit to go. I found I was only eating 1 or 2 meals a day and never felt hungry. As a Type 2 diabetic my blood sugar readings done by the doctor sank from mid-40s (controlled diabetic) to 35 (non-diabetic), which has to be good. If you are interested in looking at it, have a look at dietdoctor.com.

Another thing that really helped me was doing the Couch to 5K running programme - once again, not everyone's cup of tea, but I have actually found that I enjoy running and have continued to try to fit in 3 runs a week since completing the programme (http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/couch-to-5k-plan.aspx). I also try to swim twice a week, walk on the days I am not running and do some gardening. My husband (who hates any sort of phyical activity he can't do lying down) has joined me attending a Tai Chi class once a week. It is 2 hours long, and that's 2 hours I can't be sitting around and wondering what would taste nice, etc. I found that exercising is a double boon - it burns extra calories, but it also takes your mind off cheating! I try to go for a walk if I get the nibbles, as I see things that distract me/take my mind off food.

Due to life getting in the way I put 7kgs back on, but have now almost got back to where I was in March. To kick-start myself I have been doing the Michael Mosely's "8-Week Blood Sugar Diet", which is a very low calorie diet - 800 a day, but focusses on "real" food and "Mediterraneanising" you diet; similar to the LCHF, but with less cream and butter, more olive oil, and more pulses. I have not stuck rigidly to the 800 a day, so I can have a Starbucks coffee at the cinema or a coffee with cream at home, or a handful of nuts if I'm peckish or squeeze in the odd meal out (Wagamamas is good as their website gives you the calories of everything). I probably have between 900 and 1200 calories a day and have lost 10lbs in 5 weeks or so. I could probably have done better if I had been prepared to stick to the 800 calories. Testing my blood sugar daily I have dropped from the 8mmols (outside of the controlled diabetic range) down to always under 7mmol, mostly under 6.5, and some readings in the 5s. It's not perfect yet, but much improved and I feel much better for it.

Sorry - wittered on there, rather. Good luck with your dieting journey. You can and will do this. This site provides lots of inspiration, good ideas, fellow feeling, understanding and, if requested, the odd kick up the backside. All the best.


hi mrslp and welcome! i am 49 and have been doing the "right" thing for about 2 months now. i hit a plateau also but i have increased my exercise some and that kicked me off. i lost 16 pounds (1 stone 2lbs?) and gained 5 back. but i have lost the 5 again and feel much better about myself. you cannot starve yourself or the body will know it and your metabolism will go way down. it will happen for you. as long as you stick to around 1600 calories (depending on your bmi) and exercise. i found that when i increase my exercise if even for only a little bit, it will help me. i hope this helps you. good look and chin up!

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