Counterweight journey

After 6 months of no weight loss under NHS dietitian on a 1200 cal diet and swimming 4 times per week... was placed on a counterweight trial which I started last Monday 27th March 2017

Weigh ins

Week 1 Tuesday 4.4.17 Lost 7.5 lb waist 1inch


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  • Lavendergirl please could you explain what a counterweight trial is. apologies if it is a dumb question and everyone else but me knows what it is.

    Your week one result are amazing, well done!

  • Counterweight is run by NHS to provide a non surgical alternative to bariatric patients that have tried conventional dieting without results and would otherwise qualify for bariatric surgery, that is BMI greater than 40, or greater than 35 with another chronic disease such as diabetes.

    The NHS is currently trialling it and 3 places for my NHS were available and I was lucky enough to be selected.

    I had to have an assessment inc blood test and due to my hypothyroidism I met with endocrinologist as my blood tests every 12 months were out of range and the endocrinologist had to confirm that my thyroid shouldn't be stopping me from losing even though it will be slower.

    The programme uses the Cambridge Diet shakes and soups only and must be supervised by a NHS specialist dietitian- you both sign a contract to commit to the agreed package.

    Week 1-12 (800 cals only)

    Fortnightly dietitian appt

    4 shakes/soups only, 50ml skimmed milk & 2.25lites of water

    (Expected weight loss through this stage is 15kg)

    Week 13 -24

    2-3 weekly appointments

    Gradual and guided transfer from shakes/soups to real food


    Monthly appointments

    Maintenance programme to ensure maintaining or increasing weight loss


    It's really important to stick to the plan and not cheat. First 3 days were tough as I found the shaker you use to make it up didn't blend well enough and it was a little powdery. I now use my smoothie blender with couple of ice cubes in and the shakes are great... and soup smooth and blended.

    Day 3 had stinking headache but drank plenty of water and day 4 onwards feel great 😊

  • Wow! Thank you for explaining all that to me, it clearly took you ages and I appreciate it.

    I do hope your result continue to be great as you are clearly very dedicated to doing it, you have to be.

    I really look forward to hearing about your progress. thank you so much for sharing.

  • Hi wich shakes wich soups? How To make is that 4 shakes and 4 soups is this ok For 165kg person

  • The diet is called Counterweight 800 Pro Plus.

    The diet used the Cambridge Diet soup and shake products.

    As it is only 800 calories you have to have medical authorisation before counterweight will distribute.

    Cambridge Diet is available but they start at 1000 cals per day I believe.

    The shakes and soups are very easy to make but I recommend using a blender.

    Pour 200ml water into blender

    Add 2 ice cubes

    Add contents of sachet and blend for 30 secs

    Enjoy! I always use nice glass/container and straw for shakes.

    My start weight was 166.8kg so yes suitable for 165kg.

    I was advised that once your BMI goes over 50 it is very difficult to lose weight and that this diet is good as it will shock the metabolism and get it functioning again.

    I was telling my friend all about the diet yesterday as we waited to go into the cinema, a lady behind said "sorry to intrude but are you talking about the Cambridge Diet? I have just lost 4 1/2 stone and it's changed my life" gave me a boost 😊

  • Sorry, should have scrolled down before asking the same question. This is great, but must require a lot of willpower. Well done for not cheating! All the best.

  • If you go further back on thread there is fuller explanation

    Thank you for best wishes

  • Amazing do you know which areas are trialling this and which pct are you in if you don't mind me asking. I've been trying to work with the NHS on projects like this through the use of product support whether Cambridge herbal life Atkins life support system lighter life or other support plans and they have been very negative with regards to working with me ie the bus does not support the use of shakes supplements and prepared foods to lose weight lol...

    Am still knocking on the door and refuse to give up as bariatric surgery should only be a last resort and explores only if my type of suggested intervention programme is either explored and not successful or is not a viable option...

  • I am with Bedford Hospital.

  • Thank you for sharing will do some research

  • have you tried the Prodimed Treatment Programme? You don't get hungry on that at all, and you get personal support from a nutrition expert all the way through.

  • Thank you for info will have a look at that I am a health and Wellness consultant and I support my clients with coaching and the Vida Divina system where they would like it however am looking to add other programmes for those who would like something different

  • No I've never heard of it!

    I am on counterweight , a year long programme.

    First 12 weeks on shake/soup 800 calories with fortnightly sessions with senior dietitian

    Month 3-6 is food reintroduced with 2-3 weekly appts

    Month 6-12 - maintenance with monthly appts with emails in between

  • That's good news, Lavendergirl, long may it last! :)

  • Thank you, so do I.

    After 6 months on 1200 cals (NHS eating plan) and swimming 4 times per week with no weight loss it feels great to finally have movement on the scales

  • It's unfortunate, because 1200 calories is way too few and probably the reason you didn't lose anything.

  • But I'm now losing on 800 calories?

    My thyroid 'flipped out' (my GP's description πŸ˜‚ Over last 3 months and is now hyperthyroid levels which may also be helping with weight loss... all I know is long may it continue πŸ˜‚ Got a long, long journey ahead

  • Hi, glad to hear you are doing so well. On your previous post you said you were starting 12 weeks of soups and shakes of 800 calories. Is this what you are doing it is has it been upped to 1200? When do you move on to other food? I wish you luck and well done for sticking to it 🀞

  • I am on 800 cal (4 shakes/soups) for 12 weeks - today is day 3 of week 2 and it's easy now not having to think what I'm going to have

  • I am 800 cals shakes and soups for 12 weeks

    Today is day 3 of week 2

  • Sounds tough, hope it works for you!

  • The first 3 days were! I didn't like the product particularly and struggled with drinking the water but Day 4 it all came together and in a way it is easy because I no longer have to think of food... something I did for most of my waking hours!

    Using smoothie blender makes products more appetising ... just got to keep up the water consumption

  • Good luck with the counterweight diet sounds tough I hope you get fantastic results after the 12 weeks.

    Keep us informed how you are doing and if you need support

    Well done on getting better from your illness nows the time for you to help yourself have the healthiest life possible. Here for support when you need it best wishes Bev🌷

  • Thank you Bev x really appreciate that.

    Yes after the cancer I knew I had to turn myself around. Been swimming since last May and feel so much fitter, now to get less fat too.

  • Well I wish you all the luck in the world and as for swimming it's something I love and haven't done for years. I bought myself a costume about 5 weeks ago but still building up the courage to go lol. Going to have to grab the bull by the horns and just go I think. Hope you have a fab dayπŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

  • Yes do it! 😊🏊🏊 I find it so therapeutic

    I had surgery last Thursday and can't go for 2 weeks and hate it!! Can't wait for my first swim back

  • Crikey I hope you recover asap, time you had some good luck I think.πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

  • Oh bless you x thank you very much.

    I do feel very lucky πŸ€

    Following the chemotherapy and mastectomy I gave up my full time job as Autism coordinator which I loved but it was full time and some!

    I now work part time each morning in the log cabin in the garden, I have a little robin which visits me each day and swim and catch up with friends in the afternoon- less stress, getting fitter...wonderful life now x

  • How lovely to have a Robin visit they do like to attach themselves to people don't they?

    I know how awful the disease is my mum had a mastectomy years ago and I lost my sisiter to breast cancer in 2012. You enjoy every minute and also those ladies who lunch times in the afternoon you have certainly earnt that right.πŸ’

  • Thank you - I do love having time to look after me and get myself physically and mentally fitter.

    I lost my mum to. Secondary breast cancer when she was only 33 and I was 12.

    I also lost my gran with breast cancer.

    Teaches you life is for living x

  • So sorry to hear that, my sisiter was 45.

    It's true when you hit the bottom in life it makes you realise what's important and you can be a millionaire but if you haven't got your health you are poor.

    Take care hope you enjoy the new lifestyle journey. 😊

  • You should go swimming Itsbab you will love it and once you are in no one can see you!

  • Oh I know you are right EllaπŸ‘ I am hoping that if I go swimming the skin on my legs might tone up.

    It's lovely loosing the weight but it has a knock on effect on the skin. Hope you don't get it as I am not going in for skin surgery lol.

  • I am not having skin surgery either. I am sure I will have some in legs and stomach by the time I have finished but as long as i feel ok with clothes on naked is less important!

  • True lots of spandex etc to help fit into a lovely dress or rather I am hoping that lol.

    Hope you are enjoying the school holidays the weather is brill at the moment just hope it lasts.

  • Just do it!! Not only do I squeeze myself into a costume every week, I have to walk round the pool, in full sight of the viewing area to take my son to lessons before I walk back and get in the pool. I have realised over time that no one is even bothered!!

  • Thankfully you are under constant supervision on this diet. I undertook this same kind of diet and for 3 months only had shakes and soups.

    It was great, your body achieves ketosis and the weight does come off quickly.The bad side is that the weight doesn't stay off as you have to start introducing food back into your diet. Of course this kind of diet didn't teach me the importance of dealing with the issues that made me turn to food for comfort in the first place.

    I think a program that includes talking to a therapist would have helped me more during the shake to food transitional period.

    Another drawback to having lost so much weight in a short period of time is gallstones. This is due to the protein in the shakes which is quite high. Constipation also was a pain in the bum tooπŸ˜‚ sorry if too much detail but ended having a few enemas to clear me out during the 3 months πŸ’©πŸ’©

    Plus was minus 15 kg after 3 months, minus was that gained it all back 😭

    I hope that yours is a success and that you get the results you are wanting.

    Keep up the good work


  • Yes the point of counterweight is that you complete a programme of advice and instruction from a specialist dietitian along the way- this is seen as being crucial to its success. I will get minimum of 20 appointments over the 12 month trial which is the NHS input to the trial. The cost is high Β£167.00 for 3 week supply inc 2 x starter shakers but not buying food or lunching out so hopefully be worth it 😊

    My dietitian has got GP to prescribe me Fybogel to keep my bowels active but so far so good.

  • That is great. The 15 weeks will fly by and as the weight drops off you will get more active and energetic.

    Good luck and keep us informed of your progress


  • Thank you x

  • Janpesi also did this, lost 4 stone in 4 months, put it all on again in under a year, now weigh a lot more than when I did it, 20 odd years ago. Messed up my metabolism and I lost a lot of hair. But there was no help with introducing food again, that might have helped. Hope it works better for you Lavendergirl

  • Same for me, totally messed my body up. Needed gallstone surgery which set me up for 5 years of hell after that.

  • Blimey, I didn't have that problem, that must have been horrific. Haemorrhoids on the other hand, they're bad enough. I really worry when I see people doing this diet, I thought it would be a magic answer for me, but like you, it didn't address why I overate and comfort ate to start with. I still have those same issues, I probably always will. The inside of my head can be a vicious place sometimes!

  • When you say 'this diet' do I take it you did Counterweight OR Cambridge Diet

    The main objective with the Counterweight Diet is the strong support and dietitian counselling support to educate you on a new way of eating- the Cambridge Diet sachets they use are just a means of kickstarting the metabolism and taking normal food out of the equation- breaking eating habits.

    The trial I'm on is 12mths... only 3-4 months are on the shakes/soups... the rest of the time is supported food engagement.


  • I think we are generalising as we have been on the same kind of diet but with the lack of support. Mine was called extravaganza diet, same principles than the Cambridge diet. I think the gym that organised it just wanted gym membership fees as there were no kind of contact support after the first few weeks.

    I am glad that you are taking the trial. Hopefully it works for you and the results show that these diets do work if the effort is put into supporting the dieter. Too many are left on their own to deal with issues and questions relating to "what now"

    Keep is updated I am interested in your progress


  • I did the Cambridge Diet with counselled support.

  • I did the Cambridge Diet with counselled support.

  • Much more holistic

  • Yeah but Lavender girl has the support and I think that as this is a trial they will be really careful of the results. Remember to Demand help or answers to your questions if you need to and I would be asking for some therapy to talk about issues related to food.

    We all have something that made us overeat and we have all tried numerous ways to conquer the flab. When it comes down to it there is only one proven way. Eat less, exercise more. I have started to treat my body like a car. A car needs petrol to go forward just like the body needs energy. Earlier I used to fill my car even though it already had petrol in the tank just so that it never ran out.

    Same for my body, ate even though I was full or ate even though I ate an hour earlier.

    Now I am waiting, letting my body tell me when it needs fuel. Right now it seems metabolism has kicked in and it is roughly every 4 hours. I don't fill it up I just give it a little to keep me going to the next stop.

    This is working for me so far. Some days I need to fill it a little more and some days a little less but I don't fill it until I need to.

    Exercise has become my life right now. Crazy it seems but 5 weeks ago I exercised every few days but then had lazy days too. These days I exercise everyday. It is a need that needs to be filled just like my car with the petrol.


  • Love this, it's funny how the exercise bug sneaks up on you... I started swimming g last May 20 lengths 4 times per week... I now do 40 lengths x2, 64 x 2 and have joined their gym under the gp referral which means I only go once per week for 19 weeks... I'm up to 7 sessions so once I have breast surgeon approval to return I can finish my 3 gp sessions and then go as I wish... planning to go 2-3 times per week

    Me ... in a gym... seriously πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ didn't see that coming but I love it

  • Good advice yes dietician nutritionist exercise or physio as well psychotherapist and coaching appointments need to go side by side with the Cambridge lighter life Atkins or whatever programme part of it as has to be holistic and even include some healthier cooking sessions as well ....

    And needs to be relevant to the different communities too Asians Africans Europeans etc...

  • Hi Janpes sorry that diet didn't work for you. Can you think of anything for Lavendergirl to avoid so that she doesn't put weight back on. I would feel sad for her to go to all this trouble for no benefit. Thanks in advance! X

  • I think for me the most difficult part was the transition between food and shakes.

    I found that after the 15 weeks and the possibility to actually eat food again was the failing point. Not at any point during the 15 weeks had I addressed the issue of why I gained weight. So when coming off the shakes felt as though I could just go back to my old way of eating.

    I think if I had spoken about my depression and feelings then I may have been able to conquer the next stage. I found too that also that there was a lack of support from the gym offering this diet option.

    I think if you yourself feel good and are enjoying the process then that should help you better get through the transitional period. Just be careful with carbs straight away. They should be added slowly back into your diet to avoid weight gain. Huge amounts of cards so early in will slow you down and make you tired.

    Good luck


  • Thanks for this Janpes i often wondered why people put weight back on so quickly after following a diet like that. What you say makes sense, we do all need to address the wider issues. I hope Lavendergirl that you get lots of support to be able to do this. Good luck 🀞

  • If you use food as a crutch Lavendergirl, you need a back-up plan, such as exercise and relaxation to cope with stress, or you will stumble and fall.

    There is also the physiological element. The body will slow its metabolism, reducing non-essential functions, faced with what it perceives to be starvation. For that reason, it pays to eat enough to maintain your new weight for at least a week or two each month. I would recommend that this increased intake to attain maintenance is mainly natural fat (approximately 60:40 mono-unsaturated to saturated), to replace the calories you were obtaining from body fat, topping up your fat soluble vitamin and mineral stores.

  • Can I add an answer too, like janpes says, the transition back to food is the hard part, take all the support you can get for that. Doing the shakes is easy once you're in ketosis, but as soon as you start eating again, that process stops. Try and exercise more to keep your metabolism working, as it messed mine up. I do wish you well lavendergirl, please let us know how you're getting on, I'd love it to work for you.

  • Thank you Sarah

    The support is definitely in place 😊 My dietitian has already booked all my appointments in till End of July in first instance and I have her phone number/email for any queries... she has already picked up on our first follow up appt on Tuesday where I said I was concerned at only one choice of soup ( Cambridge Diet had only supplied the Counterweight with choice of 2) but call made and I have 2 new boxes arriving tomorrow with oriental chilli and tomato & Basil πŸ˜€ Quite excited πŸ˜‚

    I currently exercise 4 days per week swimming and gym - currently unable to do for 2 weeks whilst recovering from breast surgery 😬 Getting frustrated as I want to get back in the pool.

    I can see the transition back to food being a challenge but I see this as a great opportunity to have support from specialist dietitian to help me do this and set up lifetime eating regimes. I do feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity.

    The alternative was /is bariatric surgery and I have been very strong in my belief and by saying that my body and I got to this position and we should get back... feeling very determined 😊

  • This thread shows the incredible advice and support which comes from helping each other on this forum. Thanks for sharing Lavendergirl and thanks for your input Ella and Janpes.

  • You're on quite a journey Lavendergirl, it's inspiring how positive and happy you are. Thank you for sharing and very, very best of luck to you.

  • It has been quite a journey so far but the light is shining bright at the end of the tunnel 😊

  • It is all very different to what do Lavendergirl but as you are doing it with medical guidance and support along the way, hopefully it really is going to work out for you. Week 1 and a 7.5lb loss must be so encouraging for you.

    You are truly sounding positive and focused on this. Well done to you. When do you next see your dietician?

    Just wondered if you wanted to be awarded a 7lb badge to wear on here with pride? If so, ask, and I'll find someone to award it to you.

  • Thank you MissisB

    I would love a 7 lb badge πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘πŸŽ‰

    My next weigh in and consultation with dietitian is 18/4/17...2 weeks to go

    I'm so spurred on from week 1

  • Hi there moreless

    Do you happen to have a polished 7lb badge ready to award Lavendergirl by any chance?

  • Of course, MissisB. Thank goodness you're on the ball! :)

  • moreless you are way too busy juggling with The Jugs, and weigh ins, and meets and greets, and ...... I just meander along from time to time and see if there are any frayed threads. :D

    I am loving that new badge on you Lavendergirl Hope that helps keep your spirits high. Hope to see you again even before the next meeting with your dietician. :)

  • LOL!!! :D

  • Rather you thanks good luck

  • Great result, but what is a counterweight diet, please?

  • If you look through this thread I have given full explanation further up 😊

  • Lavendergirl, I find your willpower and dedication quite incredible. It sounds like the support around transition will be key for you. Good luck with the process, keep us up to date with your progress!

  • Thank you Lismcl x

    I didn't think I had willpower but learning I have. I am feeling dedicated or more determined as I so desperately want this weight loss and I'm reading so many positive stories on the Cambridge Diet website ( they are the products used on Counterweight programme)

    I think it's quite funny that I'm so excited that my delivery of new flavour soups may arrive today - sachet soups!! Really?? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    I'm so easily pleased πŸ˜‚

  • Well after waiting patiently (almost bit the delivery mans hands off πŸ˜‚) I hurriedly opened up my new soup boxes

    After much debate I decided on Tomato & Basil soup for my tea last night... can't wait after 12 days of golden vegetable... and chilli flakes!!

    I sat at the table with the others who were all tucking into chicken and chorizo with potatoes Bravas, roasted veg and stone baked bread to mop up the juices... followed by hot choc fudge cake and ice cream... all cooked by myself πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

    So I sit, not jealous at all and tuck in... I am famous for my homemade roasted tomato and basil soup so I have standards ... sadly the soup came no where near πŸ˜’Definitely more basil with the merest hint if try hard of Tomato- so disappointed- thank goodness for my trustee chilli flakes!!! Oh well- keep going it's nearly week 2 done πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  • 1/2 way through Week 3 of Counterweight diet and still going strong.

    Really looking forward to weigh in No2 on Tuesday fingers crossed 🀞 For another good loss, really noticing it on clothes and getting lots of lovely comments about how well I look 😊😊

    Did have food on Wednesday night when group of friends met up for dinks and nibbles ... but whilst they tucked into pringles, nachos, mini sausages, tortilla crisps/dips and popcorn I had a small bowl of iceberg lettuce and 2in celery sticks with a tablespoon of sweet chilli dip! - I absolutely loved it (worked out to 40 calories). satisfied my two favourite things - crunchy food and spicy 🌢 😊😊😊

    Let you know Tuesday how it goes

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