Weight Loss Treatment

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Weight Loss

We are currently undergoing system upgrades and therefore you will be unable to start an assessment. We will be back in July and will post an update in due course.

We are sorry for the inconvenience. If you require urgent medical advice, please contact NHS 111.



Overweight and obesity are terms that refer to an excess of body fat. The most common method of deciding whether you have a healthy weight is the body mass index (BMI). It takes your height into account.

Calculate your BMI here

Government figures show that about 1 in 4 adults are classed as being obese. There is an increased risk of developing health problems if you are overweight or obese such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and heartburn.

Improving lifestyle factors such as increasing your cardiovascular activity and eating healthily, are the most important and effective ways to improve your health and lose any excess weight.

Some people may choose to use medication, but alone they are not an effective way to lose weight. They need to be combined with lifestyle changes.

Common Symptoms

Common symptoms of being overweight

  • tiredness and lethargy
  • joint pains
  • excessive sweating
  • breathless on exertion
  • snoring
Common Treatments

The most important factors in losing weight are increasing the amount of physical activity and eating a healthy balanced, low-fat diet. Please see the NHS Weight Loss Plan below for a sustainable way to lose weight.

Tablets such as Orlistat may sometimes be used as an aid in addition to lifestyle changes in some people. You must remember, however, that there is no 'quick fix' for weight loss, it will require discipline and determination.

Possible treatment we may prescribe if clinically appropriate:

  • Generic Orlistat 120mg: 84 capsules. Take one tablet three times a day (£13.46*)

*Prices shown are cost price of the medication, taken from the British National Formulary 2018, and are given as a guideline. Pharmacies will add a dispensing fee to this which will vary considerably, so it is worthwhile phoning around to compare prices. The medication is paid for at your chosen pharmacy. 

Please click on the medication above to read the Patient Information Leaflet for important information about the drug.

Start the NHS Weight Loss Plan

The NHS has introduced a 12-week weight loss plan which has been designed to help you lose weight safely. It teaches healthier food choices and exercise plans to guide you. It provides a weekly progress chart so you can keep track of your progress.

The guide is delivered through 12 weekly information packs full of diet, healthy eating and physical activity advice, including weekly challenges. Download it from here.

You can also download the NHS Weight Loss Plan App from the App store

More information about Orlistat

Before you start any treatment, you should read the manufacturers leaflet contained with the medication. This has further information and lists all the potential side effects.

Orlistat reduces the amount of fat absorbed by the gut. It does this by blocking certain chemicals that normally digest the fat into smaller particles for absorption. Orlistat will block about a third of the fat you eat. 

Before taking Orlistat, it is important to reduce your dietary fat to 30% of your total dietary intake of calories. Otherwise, you may suffer from side effects such as loose stools, increased urgency of bowel movements, flatulence and oil spotting of faecal matter in your underwear.

Orlistat should be used in combination with exercise and a healthy weight reducing diet. On its own, it will not be effective as it only blocks some of the fat from being absorbed in the gut, not all. 

Orlistat is only recommended in people with a Body Mass Index of greater than 30.

How to take Orlistat

Take one capsule three times a day with your meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Do not take a dose if you miss a meal or have no fat in your meal. 

If you have not lost more than 5% of your initial weight 3 months after treatment, then Orlistat has not been beneficial and should be stopped.

Never give your medication to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.  

Possible side effects from Orlistat

Most types of medicines can cause potential side effects. However, not everyone will experience them. The side effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but if any of them continue or become troublesome then speak with your doctor or pharmacist. 

Common side effects for Orlistat include:

  • fatty offensive stools
  • increased urgency to open your bowels
  • oily spotting on your underwear and excess wind.
  • flatulence (excess wind)

The side effects are less likely to occur if you stick to a low-fat diet.

Allergic reactions to medications

An itchy rash, swollen face or mouth, or difficulty in breathing, may be signs that you are allergic to the medication. 

Please note that i-GP DOES NOT TREAT Medical Emergencies. 

If you develop a sudden onset of any of the symptoms below then you must STOP the medication immediately and seek urgent medical advice. This could be from your GP, Out of Hours Service, Urgent Care Centre or NHS 111. Call an ambulance or go to A&E if the symptoms are severe.

  • Wheeze
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Swelling of the eyelids, face or lips
  • A rash particularly if affecting your entire body
Healthy eating

Fruit and vegetables

Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. This section should make up just over a third of the food you eat each day.

Reduce salt and sugar intake

Most of us eat too much sugar. Some foods, such as fresh fruit, contain some natural sugars. But sugars are also added to many foods such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolates and fizzy drinks. These additional sugars are called free sugars. Fruit juices are also high in free sugars. Foods and drinks high in sugar are usually high in calories, so eating or drinking them too frequently can make you gain weight. Regularly having sugary foods and drinks also puts you at risk of tooth decay. Guidelines recommend that you don’t eat more than 30g of free sugars a day – this is around the same as seven sugar cubes.


Fats are a really concentrated source of energy and they also have other roles, such as helping to transport essential vitamins around your body. They are an important part of your diet but you don’t need very much – most of us need to eat less. The type of fat you eat is also important.

Saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. It's found in foods such as fatty or processed meats, butter, cheese, cream, chocolate, cakes, pastries and biscuits.

It's best not to have too much saturated fat in your diet. Try to swap saturated fats with foods rich in unsaturated (good) fats when you can. Unsaturated fats are found in oils such as olive oil and rapeseed oil. They can help to lower your cholesterol levels. Include small amounts of these in your diet and swap butter for lower-fat spreads.

Trans fats are another type of fat that can raise your cholesterol levels, increasing your risk of heart disease. They're potentially even worse for your health than saturated fats. Food manufacturers have now reduced the amount of trans fats in many foods, but they may still be present in certain foods. These include biscuits, pies, cakes and fried foods, as well as takeaway foods. Limiting these types of food will help keep your intake of both saturated and trans fats to a minimum.


Meat, fish, beans, pulses, eggs and nuts are all important non-dairy sources of protein– and we should aim to include moderate amounts in our diet. Proteins are essential to grow and repair tissues in your body, as well as being a source of energy.

Aim to eat two portions of fish a week. One of these should be an oily fish such as mackerel, salmon or pilchards. If you don't eat fish, you can get some omega-3 fatty acids from nuts, seeds and their oils. You may also want to consider taking a supplement containing omega-3 fats.

Limit the amount of red and processed meat you eat (such as sausages and beef burgers) as these foods often contain lots of fat and salt. They may also increase your risk of bowel cancer. Some types of meat are high in fat, so always cut off any extra fat and skin. Grill, bake or poach meat and fish rather than fry it.

Beans, peas and lentils are a great alternative to meat because they're low in fat while being high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Other Support

Are you worried you may have an eating disorder? Eating disorders can be very isolating for the people affected by them. Beat is a free UK support service for eating disorders that offer information, guidance, and support. They run phone and email helplines 365 days a year for anyone who needs them. They offer one to one web chat, telephone helplines, and online support groups.

Find out more and how to access their help here.

For help with finding Eating Disorder Services near you go to the NHS website.

Sometimes, your feelings about your weight may make you feel down. Dieting can affect your mental wellbeing. If you think that you have not been feeling yourself, you can take a simple quiz to check your mood and get advice on what may help. 

If you feel that you need further support on how you are feeling, then you can find local services that can help you with depression here



We are currently undergoing system upgrades and therefore you will be unable to start an assessment. We will be back in July and will post an update in due course.

We are sorry for the inconvenience. If you require urgent medical advice, please contact NHS 111.