Should you lose weight fast?

NHS

When you're trying to lose weight, it's tempting to want results as fast as possible.

But losing weight fast is unlikely to help you keep the weight off – and it also comes with health risks.

If you're trying to lose weight, you're probably keen to see, and feel, a difference quickly.

It can be tempting to put your trust in one of the countless plans that promise rapid, easy weight loss.

Unfortunately, even if these diets do help you lose weight, you're unlikely to maintain a healthy weight in the months and years afterwards.

The most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is to lose it gradually.

This can involve following a weight loss plan, but it also should involve making changes to your diet and activity levels that you can stick to over the long term.

Weight loss tends to plateau after a while, and you may need to make further changes.

If after six to nine months you haven't achieved a healthy weight, talk to your GP for advice on the next steps.

Safe rates of weight loss

If you're trying to lose weight, the safe weekly rate of weight loss is between 0.5kg and 1kg. That's between around 1lb and 2lb a week.

Lose weight faster than this and you're at risk of health problems that include malnutrition and gallstones, as well as feeling tired and unwell.

Fad diets associated with very rapid weight loss, which involve simply changing your diet for a few weeks, are also unlikely to lead you to a healthy weight in the long term.

Work out how much weight you need to lose and get a personal daily calorie range to keep to with our healthy weight calculator.

Try our free weight loss plan below, a 12-week diet and exercise programme designed to help you lose weight the healthy way and develop healthier habits.

Beware of buying fake or unlicensed medical products sold as slimming products. Get informed and know what you're buying.

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Find out if you're a healthy weight
The plan is designed to help you lose weight at a safe rate of 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) each week by sticking to a daily calorie allowance. For most men, this means sticking to a calorie limit of no more than 1,900kcal a day, and 1,400kcal for most women. The weight loss plan is broken down into 12 weeks. It is full of healthy eating, diet and physical activity advice, including weekly challenges. Each week contains a food and activity chart to help you record your calories, exercise and weight loss so you can see how well you're doing at a glance. If you're using the downloadable PDFs, print the chart out at the start of your week. Stick it somewhere you can see it, such as the fridge or a kitchen cupboard, and update it at the end of each day.