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Healthy weight

Advice and help for adults

How much we weigh is influenced by what and how much we eat, how physically active we are, our stress levels, how well we sleep and our genetics.

Weight gain can also be linked to a medical reason, find out about the nine medical reasons for putting on weight.

If you are overweight, and would like to make a change, there is a range of support available to help you on your journey to achieving a healthy weight.

Check your weight

Start by checking your Body Mass Index or BMI. This is a calculation that doctors use to see whether you are underweight, a healthy weight, or overweight. It takes into account both how tall you are as well as how much you weigh.

It's important to take weight into account: if three people all weighed 10 stone (63.5kg) but the first was 5ft (152cm), the second was 5ft 9 (175cm) and the was 6ft 2 (189cm); then the first person would be overweight, the second person would be a healthy weight and the third person would be underweight.

You can use this calculator to check your body mass index (BMI) and find out if you're a healthy weight.


Being underweight can be harmful to your health. If you're concerned about yourself or someone else, talk to your GP. Find advice for underweight adults.

Low mood or stress and anxiety

If you’re struggling with low mood or stress and anxiety, it can be hard to lose weight. This can be because we are more likely to reach for “comfort food” that tends to be unhealthy, and drink more alcohol.

Find information and support on improving your mental health and wellbeing.


Some evidence shows that if you are sleep deprived, it can impact on your weight. Adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. If you are not regularly getting 7 hours of sleep a night, you may be sleep deprived.

When you’re tired, you may reach for sugary foods and caffeine to keep going. It is harder to resist unhealthy choices, and being tired impacts on the amount of physical activity that you do.

Find more information and support on getting a good night’s sleep or if you're struggling with low mood, stress and anxiety, our local support services can help you .

Online weight loss support services

The NHS provide free online support. This includes:

You can get online information and support from the NHS’s One You service and you can check out the NHS’s 12 top tips to help you lose weight.

The NHS also approves the following online weight loss apps. Please note that there may be a cost to using some of these:

  • the Second Nature app is a 12 week health “reset” programme. Over the 12 weeks, you'll work with your dedicated health coach to increase activity levels, create balanced meals, tackle negative thought patterns and learn how to deal with setbacks. You'll also have the support of a peer group and will receive daily articles to help motivate you in different areas of lifestyle change
  • the Sugarmedown app offers an individual food plan which you can follow every day. It helps you to keep track of food and water as you eat and drink, suggests workouts and music streaming to encourage you to move more, and provides weekly shopping lists. You also have the support of the Sugarmedown team and access to a private community on Facebook to help you stay motivated

You can also find reviewed health apps.

Southwark’s weight management services

Healthy Lifestyle hub

This free service provides support to Southwark residents who would like to make positive changes but need a little bit of help to get going. They provide friendly support to motivate you, as well as access to a range of services.

If you need a bit of help with motivation, call the Healthy Lifestyle Hub and they can help you to become and stay physically active. This service is for Southwark residents only, or those registered with a Southwark GP. You need to be over the age of 18 and have one or more of the following: a low level of physical activity, smoking, obesity, or struggling with low mood, stress or anxiety.

For more information call 0333 005 0159 or email us.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these services are not providing their usual face-to-face service. However, all are providing telephone and online support

Slimming World and WeightWatchers

Slimming World and WeightWatchers are weight loss programmes that can help you to lose weight and move more.

If you're a Southwark resident, you may be eligible for 12 weeks’ free membership for either Slimming World or WeightWatchers.

For more information, call the Healthy Lifestyle Hub on 0333 005 0159 or send an email.

Exercise on referral

During the COVID-19 pandemic, exercise on referral services are not taking place. However, there's still some support available. If you're currently being supported on the exercise on referral programme, or would like to be, call 0333 005 0095 to find out more. Some support is online.

For more information, call the Healthy Lifestyle Hub on 0333 005 0159 or send an email.

NHS Healthy weight service

The NHS offers free healthy weight services to support you to lose weight. These are for people who are very overweight, based on your Body Mass Index. You can use this calculator to check your body mass index (BMI) and find out if you qualify for these free services.

BMI over 30?

There's a 12 week programme offering structured physical activity, nutritional education virtual group sessions and behaviour change techniques.

To be eligible, you must:

  • be registered with a GP in Southwark
  • be aged 18 or over
  • have BMI ≥30
  • have your GP’s clearance to do moderate physical exercise

Talk to your GP to discuss and request a referral to this weight management programme

BMI over 40?

There are two service options: Balance and Fast.

To be eligible, you must:

  • live in Southwark or be registered with a GP in Southwark
  • have BMI above 40 (or above 35 if you have type 2 diabetes)

Balance programme: Balance is a holistic approach that includes nutrition education alongside mindful eating, goal setting, psychology and physical activity. There are 12 group sessions over the course of a year, with follow-ups at 18 and 24 months.

Fast programme: Fast is a 12-month total meal replacement programme. Fast also includes nutrition education, mindful eating, setting goals, psychology and physical activity. There are 15 group sessions in the first year, with follow-ups at 18 and 24 months.

You can find out more from the Guys and St Thomas website or talk to your GP for a referral.

Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme

During the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme services are continuing with online and telephone support

Healthier You provides tailored, personalised support to help adults reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes. This includes education on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight, and physical exercise programmes. Together, these have been proven to reduce the risk of developing this condition. Find out more about the service.

If a blood test shows that you are at risk of type 2 diabetes, you should be referred to the service. You can self-refer or ask you GP for more information.

Walking Away From Diabetes

Walking Away From Diabetes is a half day workshop designed to help adults lower their blood sugar levels, improve their lifestyle, and stop them from developing Type 2 diabetes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Walking Away From Diabetes service is currently suspended. However, you can still receive support to improve your lifestyle and reduce your risk of diabetes. Contact 0333 005 0095 today to sign up for free weekly telephone calls from a trained health coach

Page last updated: 06 July 2021

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