Further information and frequently asked questions about blood tests at Willows Health

How do I know I should lose weight?

  • Use the NHS BMI calculator to calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index), this will give you an indicator as to whether you are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese (This does not take into account muscle mass). If you are overweight or obese, it is recommended to lose weight as this will have multiple health benefits for you in the future.

  • Your waist size is an indicator of the amount of fat you are carrying around your stomach and can also indicate you need to lose weight

    • Having too much fat around your waist can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer

    • You should lose weight if your waist is:

      • 102 cm or more and you are male

      • 88cm or more and you are female

  • A clinician involved in your care may recommend weight loss to help you manage medical conditions you have, such as Type 2 Diabetes.

How do I know what my ideal weight should be?

  • When you input your weight and height into the NHS BMI calculator, it will give the healthy weight range for your height that you can aim for when you are losing weight.

Why should I lose weight?

  • Losing weight will reduce your risks of medical conditions such as

    • High blood pressure

    • Heart disease (e.g. heart attacks)

    • Stroke

    • Type 2 diabetes

    • Cancer e.g. oesophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer

    • Osteoarthritis and back pain

  • It can also have other health benefits, such as reduced heartburn and can help with self-esteem.

Why do people find it difficult to lose weight?

  • They may lack the knowledge about healthy food options and how diet and exercise affect health

    • This web page aims to combat this and educate the public about weight loss

  • Cost and availability of healthy foods

    • You may qualify for Healthy Start vouchers to help with the cost of healthy food

    • If you feel that you are eligible for more help with the cost of food, get in touch with your local authority

  • Opportunity for exercise

    • Try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine by making simple lifestyle changes, for example walking to work rather than taking the car/bus.

    • Click here for exercise ideas

  • Safety concerns

    • By making dietary changes and increasing exercise levels, losing weight slowly (0.5-1kg a week) is safe. If at any point you do have concerns e.g. unexplained weight loss, then speak to your GP.

    • Ensure you make small and realistic changes to your diet and exercise

    • The amount of exercise you should be doing depends on your age (see the section below)

    • For more information about safe weight loss click here

  • Lack of time

    • Making healthy food does not have to take long- use the Easy Meals app to look at quick and healthy recipes

  • Medical conditions

    • Some medical conditions e.g. hypothyroidism, can make it more difficult to lose weight/ easier to gain weight. If you think this may be the case for you then consult with your GP for management options.

  • Not sleeping enough

    • If you are having troubles sleeping at night, have a read of this page on sleep hygiene to help you get a better nights sleep

    • If you are struggling with sleep then contact your GP

  • High stress levels

How can I motivate myself to lose weight?

  • Think about the realistic goals you want to reach as well as your reasons for wanting to lose weight and write them somewhere where you will see them everyday e.g. the fridge door.

    • Set SMART goals for your weight loss. SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based which can make you more likely to achieve them.

  • Involve family and friends so you can check in on each other’s progress and motivate each other

  • Join a local weight loss group so you have support throughout your weight loss journey as well as resources/products to help you lose weight e.g. Slimming World

  • When making changes to your diet and activity levels, make sure these changes are sustainable in the long run to prevent loss of motivation and weight gain.

    • For example, rather than completely cutting out sugary foods, eat sugary foods once in a while as this means you can still enjoy them and means you are less likely to have cravings.


How can I lose weight?


  • Making dietary changes is one of the best ways to lose weight

  • Eating a healthy balanced diet is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight- the Eatwell Guide is a resource you can use to learn about the correct portions of each food you should be having

  • Eating healthy is also important to help reduce your risk of health conditions like heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

How much should I eat in a day?

  • It is recommended that men have 2500 calories per day and that women have 2000 calories per day

    • You can track the calories you are taking in everyday by using apps and resources, such as MyFitnessPal which is a free app

    • To lose weight you have to burn more calories (e.g. through exercise) than you are eating, so using a fitness and calorie tracker can be helpful for you to be able to look at the difference between your intake and how much you are burning through exercise

Should I be following a specific diet regime (e.g. Atkin’s diet, 5:2 diet)?

  • You do not need to follow any specific diet regimes in order to lose weight, weight loss is possible by using the Eatwell Guide to have a healthy balanced diet.

  • If you would like more information about different types of diets with the pros and cons of each click here

What should I do if I am struggling to make dietary changes/ I am not sure how I should go about making these changes with my medical conditions (e.g. diabetes)?

  • You can self-refer yourself to the Leicestershire Nutrition and Dietetics service, click here for information on the self-referral process


How much should I aim to exercise?

  • Aim to be physically active every day

  • Do at one of:

    •  150 minutes of moderate intensity activity (e.g. brisk walking)

      • You should be breathing faster so you are able to talk but not sing

    • 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (e.g. running) a week

      • You should be breathing so hard that you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath

  • In your exercise regimes you should also try to incorporate muscle strengthening exercises

  • If you are younger than 19 years or older than 64 years old then click here to find the appropriate physical activity recommendations for you

  • If you are just starting out exercising, do not feel you have to jump right into high intensity physical activity for long periods of time as you may be more likely to injure yourself. Start slowly and build it up over time.

  • If you feel you do not have enough time to engage in physical activity try to utilise every opportunity you have to be active, for example trying to walk to work or the shops, or if it is not a walkable distance then parking a little further from your destination so you can walk or getting off the public transport a stop or 2 early.

  • Some people may decide to use services such as gyms to keep fit however you do not have to pay for physical activity- here are some ideas on how to keep Fit for Free


How can I maintain a healthy weight?

  • Continue to follow the above advice by eating a healthy balanced diet and meeting the physical activity recommendations for your age group.

Where can I go for extra support?

  • Look at the further resources below to get more information and support in your weight loss journey

  • If you have any questions, concerns or feel you need more help to lose weight, call your GP surgery to book an appointment with the appropriate healthcare professional.

Further resources - External Resources available to help you lose weight:



Resources to increase activity levels


Resources to improve diet




Created by Sudiksha Devendra Kumar (3rd Year Medical Student)