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Weight Loss

Information about losing weight safely with exercise and prescription medication

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Dr Hilary Jones discusses weight loss and the treatments available at HealthExpress

Obesity figures in the UK have trebled since 1980, with a survey conducted in recent years indicating that more than a quarter of all adults (26%) are now obese with an additional growing number categorised as overweight. Being overweight or obese has been proven to trigger long-term health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Fortunately, there is a wealth of help and advise available from the NHS and charities such as the BOS (British Obesity Society) [1] that can help you get on the right track to leading a healthier and happier lifestyle.

If you are committed to lose weight safely and effectively, then a diet plan coupled with exercise and proven prescription medication can provide the required assistance needed to achieve your weight loss goals. Taking our free online consultation below can help our doctor decide whether the medication is suitable for you or if you would prefer more information about losing weight, then you can read below.

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What is obesity?

Obesity cannot be categorised by sight alone, although that is often a good indicator. Due to the varying methods of measurement it may not always be an accurate gauge of how healthy an individual is. The NHS described obesity as simply a term used to described someone who is very overweight, with a lot of body fat. [2] The main reason this condition is stressed so highly is due to the various health complications that could occur as a result of excess fat in the body especially in regards to cardiovascular health and liver function.

Obesity is a gradual process that you may often be aware of in terms of your clothes getting tighter and fitness levels deteriorating, but it can still feel like you have a lack of control. Obesity can affect a person's self-confidence as well as posing serious risks to your health - often a vicious circle with a lack of self-esteem leading to binge eating and additional weight gain - luckily there is help readily available for those looking to change to a healthier lifestyle with support from medical professionals and prescribed medication.

How do I know if I am obese or overweight?

Most people can tell by looking at themselves in the mirror to have a vague indication whether they are overweight or obese. Coupled with this, there are other techniques that can be used to assess the amount of body fat or weight that you have in relation to your height the most popular method being your BMI (Body Mass Index) score.

Your body mass index is the primary indicator for medical professionals to check your weight in comparison to your height. Your GP can also calculate your body mass index accurately and swiftly. The algorithm determines whether you are within a healthy ratio. Whilst this is very important, other factors should be considered, and should be considered by your doctor before any real figure is given. The standard scale suggests that your BMI score should be between 18.5 and 24.9 which is deemed an acceptable 'health' range, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO)[3]. If it is over 25, the individual is classed as overweight and if over 28 then the individual may fall into the 'obese' category.

Body Mass Index The classification is the same for both sexes, however these figures can be age dependant.

BMI Men & Women

A BMI score over 30 is clinically classed as obese, and individuals are liable for additional help in the form of weight loss medication, to be taken in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle. If you are unsure, you can calculate using the calculator below before seeking further medical help.

Calculate Your BMI

Causes of obesity

There can be many causes of obesity that will vary from person-to-person dependant on lifestyle choices and possible hereditary links. It all comes down a healthy balance of calorie intake and energy eluded over a long period of time. The two most significant factors are poor eating habits – a diet consisting of low nutrients and high calorie intake – as well as a lack of exercise but there are other contributing influences too.

Obesity is a long-term - or chronic - condition, and any one or a number of these factors could be contributing:

Binge eating - overeating is one of the most common causes for obesity. Those that tend to binge eat frequently, and especially on a daily basis, do so with fatty, sugar foods that give the individual a sugary high, but then a sudden low that needs refilling with more of the same.
Food frequency - there has been much debate about how many times you eat a day being linked to obesity. Studies have shown that eating smaller meals more frequently will reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, however there is no concrete proof your food frequency rate has a significant affect on your size.
Psychological factors - do you tend to eat when sad, angry or stressed? Just like smoking or alcohol, your relationship with food can become an addiction often leading to obesity.
Lack of exercise - this can include the smaller aspects such as walking up the stairs instead of taking the escalator as well as more physical exercise such as heading to the gym or playing sports. The majority of us have jobs with minimal movement required meaning it can be difficult to find the time to exercise our calorie intake away.
Hereditary -it is not 100% proven that obesity runs through genetics or if it is just a lifestyle factor, but research has shown that children of obese parents tend to develop the same condition. This can be due to genetic deficiency such as a lack of the hormone leptin that controls your weight by telling you when you are full.
Social factors - in particular, if your parents or close family members are overweight or obese, the likelihood that you are is much higher. The influence of your peers filters through to many aspects of your life, including your dietary habits.
Medication - certain medications such as antidepressants can cause weight gain that, when teamed with other weight gain causes, can lead to obesity.
Hormones - an underactive thyroid and polycystic ovarian syndrome can both contribute to your weight gain.

Obesity in the UK?

Obesity is a growing problem in the UK, with statistics showing an almost quadrupled rate in the last 25 years alone, with the Midlands having the highest rate of overweight people in the country. But why is there such a boom in increasing obesity? There are various suggestions and reasons as to why this is the case, some being[4]:

  • the majority of adults do not eat the recommended minimum of five portions fruit and vegetables per day
  • 'Amercianisation' and globalisation of easily accessible fast foods
  • sedentary lifestyles
  • the average proportion of food energy obtained from saturated fat is higher than the maximum recommended
  • increased sugar intake

Obesity can often run in families suggesting a hereditary link, however a lack of physical exercise and lifestyle habits results in a similar attitude running through families, so there has been no concrete evidence to prove it is hereditary. If parents have poor dietary and exercise habits, this has been recorded to seep through the younger generations.

Effects of obesity

Other than certain psychological effects, such as a severe dip in your self-esteem and confidence levels, obesity can have a significant and serious effect on your health that shouldn't be left untreated:

  • symptoms Breathlessness
  • symptoms Chest pain
  • symptoms Tiredness
  • symptoms Increased sweating
  • symptoms Difficulty sleeping
  • symptoms Back and joint pains

Benefits of losing excess weight

Successfully losing weight can lead to a number of benefits, both physical and psychological. If you maintain a healthy weight after your initial weight loss, all of these benefits can be achieved and will help you accomplish a better quality of life.

  • Breathing is eased
  • Sleep patterns improved
  • Blood pressure decreases
  • Confidence improved
  • Improvements in body image / self esteem
  • Immune system improved

Methods to lose weight

When deciding to fully commit to losing weight, it is important to weigh up the available options and decide which option is the most effective. Below are some weight loss options that are available.

Over-the-counter medicines and mental therapies

There are over-the-counter medicines, pills and herbal remedies that can help with your weight loss. However, there hasn't been much conclusive research to prove that they are sufficient in achieving weight loss. Over-the-counter medicines are not proven to be effective, therefor money could be spent on medication that has little-to-no effect on weight loss. Similarly, mental therapies, such as hypnotherapy, haven't been studied enough to definitively state that they can help people to successfully lose weight. Therefore, these treatments and therapies (e.g. hypnosis) aren't the most reliable treatment for obesity, and could turn out to be a waste of money.

Weight loss surgery

Surgery is always an extreme measure when it comes to your body, however if your obesity is causing you health complications then it could be an option for you. For weight loss surgery, a gastric band can be fitted to restrict the amount of food you eat. Other common weight loss surgery includes gastric bypass, bilopancreatic diversion and sleeve gastrectomy that do exactly the same thing. Be prepared for a hefty bill though – private operations can cost as much as £20,000 – as well as a few risks and side effects to consider including scarring, bruising and swelling. This should be considered as your last port of call. For more information and resources on surgery options for obesity, check out the NHS.

Prescription weight loss treatment

Yes, you can order prescription weight loss treatment online. The only prescription medication for treating obesity that has been clinically proven to work is Xenical, available at HealthExpress. Xenical is the most reliable weight loss pill for patients with a BMI over 27. It is also clinically proven to be the most effective obesity treatment. To be supported with a healthy lifestyle, this oral medication works in the digestive system by blocking the absorption of fats in the body. Using Xenical tablets alongside effective diet and exercise plans will give you the best chance possible in treating obesity and successfully achieving weight loss.

Further help for obesity

The best way to lose weight is to follow a balanced, nutritious diet and lifestyle, with regular exercise and smaller portions. It is important to create a plan that thinks long-term, rather than a quick fix that will never last.

Here are some additional exercise and diet tips:


  • Drink plenty of calorie free drinks - when your stomach starts grumbling, this could be a call for water, not food.
  • Snack wisely - swap the sugary chocolates, fatty crisps and other alternatives with tasty low calorie options that don't rely on carbs. Nut butters mixed with fruit, or whole grain bread, or raw carrots with hummus are delicious substitutes.
  • Pack up on protein and fibre - create a balanced diet plan full of recipes that aim for these two categories, as well as eating your five-a-day.

Balanced diet


  • Don't deny yourself the little pleasures - cutting out chocolate when you're the ultimate sweet tooth will have your sugar cravings hitting the roof. Allowing yourself time to enjoy your vices within moderation will help you to maintain your motivation for weight loss in the long run.
  • Spring clean your cupboards - clear all fatty, sugary foods from your cupboard for a fresh start.
  • Pace yourself - there is no quick fix to losing weight, and rapid weight loss simply isn't achievable. It takes time and determination. You will start to see the difference soon enough.
  • Adjust your portion sizes - get savvy and reduce your portion sizes to up to half your original diet. With the right exercise plan, you'll find your stomach will get used to less food resulting in you being fuller for longer.
  • Increase your physical exercise - the recommended amount of exercise for adults is 30 minutes every day to help speed up your metabolism and lose weight – adjust depending on your calorie intake.
  • Create a relatable exercise plan - the majority of us claim we don't like the gym or exercising, but there is bound to be a workout regime out there best suited to you. Grab your personal trainer to tailor fit a plan best suited to your needs and objectives.

What options do we offer for weight loss?

Trying to lose weight can be a frustrating experience. Diets and exercising can prove ineffective, so it's easy to become disheartened. Over-the-counter slimming pills, and herbal supplements are easily available, however their weight loss credentials are uncertain. It's always best to discuss your weight issues with a licensed medical professional who will be able to give you all the information and tips you need about weight loss medications like Xenical. This prescription treatment has been clinically proven to be more effective in weight loss than over-the-counter treatments and less invasive than surgery.

HealthExpress offer a fast, confidential service tailored for your lifestyle; just complete our free no obligation consultation that will be sent to our registered doctors. Your prescription will then be sent directly to our UK-based pharmacy. All deliveries are free and available the next day, or same day for London postcodes.

Dr Hilary Jones, HealthExpress Medical Advisor

How can I get help with my weight loss?

Trying to lose weight can be a frustrating experience. The dieting and exercising can prove ineffective – it's easy to become disheartened. Over-the-counter slimming pills, and herbal supplements are easily available, however their weight loss credentials are uncertain. It's always best to discuss your weight issues with a licensed medical professional who will be able to give you all the information you need about weight loss medications like Xenical. This prescription treatment has been clinically proven to be more effective in weight loss than over-the-counter treatments and less invasive than surgery. Obtaining Xenical is a simple process - complete our short, no-obligation online consultation where one of our registered doctors can see if this treatment is right for you.

Click here to get prescription weight loss treatment