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How to Lose Weight Healthily Without Surgery

Published on: 21 Nov 2019

Mr Debashis Ghosh

NHS Consultant
GMC Number: 4657664

Medically reviewed by a licensed NHS consultant
Last updated: 15/08/2019

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When deciding how to lose weight, it is crucial that you set yourself achievable goals and approach it in a healthy way. It’s so easy to get sucked in by fad diets and plans that promote quick weight loss, but these are often unrealistic, unhealthy and unsustainable, and often result in people regaining weight at the end. As a result, a healthy and effective weight loss plan should be about making daily lifestyle changes to your diet and exercise that you can stick to.

By losing 5% of your body weight can improve all kinds of health problems and make you feel better too. It has a plethora of benefits, including helping to ease joints, cut your chances of cancer, prevent type 2 diabetes, lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol, bring down triglycerides, ease high blood pressure, prevent sleep apnea and make you feel better all-round.

According to a study by researchers in the US, just losing 5% of your body weight is all it takes to see major health benefits in obese people. It also helps that hitting smaller and more achievable targets provide significant improvements to metabolic health and opens up the possibility of continued weight loss too.

Samuel Klein, director of Washington University’s Centre for Human Nutrition, said:

“Our findings demonstrate that you get the biggest bang for your buck with 5 percent weight loss. The current guidelines for treating obesity recommend a 5 to 10 percent weight loss but losing 5 percent of your body weight is much easier than losing 10 percent. So it may make sense for patients to aim at the easier target.”

If you are obese, you may be wondering “is weight loss surgery my only hope?” This isn’t necessarily the case as with a lot of will-power and dedication, anyone can lose weight. Read on to find out our top tips on how to lose weight healthily – and quickly.

Follow these top tips to lose weight healthily:

Photo credit: JPC-PROD / Shutterstock

There’s not one perfect diet to help you slim down fast, but if you are wondering how to lose weight healthily, there is one key thing to remember: a balanced diet is key to a healthy body. Every time you eat, try to visualise the balanced “Eatwell Plate” from the NHS, to help you ensure that you are eating the best things for your body to avoid piling on the pounds whilst trying to lose weight. 

As a general rule, ensure that just under half of your plate contains fruit and vegetables, and remember to eat your 5-a-day. When it comes to protein, ensure that it is lean and unprocessed – choose meats trimmed of fat, seafood, beans, nuts and seeds. Try making simple swaps too, such as replacing refined grains like white bread and white rice with wholegrains such as multigrain bread, brown rice and oatmeal.

To ensure you are eating the right things, it is a good idea to create weekly food plans. This not only can make your weekly food shop stress-free, it also reduces the chance of food wastage because you are only buying for the meals you will be creating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It may also help prepping food ahead of time if you have a demanding schedule, as this can significantly save time and reduce the likelihood of ordering a take-away for convenience too.

It is worth noting that it is perfectly fine to have a cheat day every now and again, it’s always important to treat yourself and not take losing weight too seriously. However, the key thing to remember is to ensure you are eating stereotypically “bad” foods in moderation.

Evidence shows that there is a clear link between physical inactivity and obesity. As a result, all adults should be getting around 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week to stay in good health according to Public Health England. This includes taking a bike ride, walking, hiking, dancing, swimming or active recreation (i.e. football). These 150 minutes can be accumulated in bouts of any length, such as 35 minutes, and achieved in just one of two sessions per week to reap a range of physical and mental health benefits.

In addition, adults should also get undertake activities than help to increase or maintain muscle strength (resistance training) at least twice a week. These activities should use major muscle groups in the upper and lower body, including using bodyweight, free weights, resistance machines or elastic bands, as well as daily activities such as stair climbing, carrying shopping bags, lifting/carrying children and gardening.

By doing this, you can significantly improve your health, as seen in this infographic by Gov.uk/Public Health England:

To ensure you are getting enough physical activity, it is a good idea to join your local gym. However, if you have a busy schedule and struggle to find time for exercise, there are simple alternative ways of working out that can be slotted in alongside your daily routine.

For example, one way to do this is by getting off the train or bus one or two stops earlier or getting up and about during your lunch break, to name a few. You can also undertake short bouts of exercise in the comfort of your own home or at your local park through using free resources, such as watching keep fit YouTube videos.

However, to lose weight and keep it off, you will most likely have to do more than 150 minutes of physical activity alongside dietary restriction.


It is important to be realistic when making long-term weight loss goals and what it is that you want to achieve. If you would like to improve or avoid health issues, you should consult your local GP for advice and to ensure that you are losing the appropriate amount of weight safely.

Another important thing to consider is that there is no quick fix – losing weight isn’t easy and takes a great deal of commitment. This is why it is a good idea to make small and realistic changes and stick to them for three months. By getting over the three-month threshold, you are more likely to form new habits and maintain a healthy lifestyle in the long-run.


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Consider Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG)

Standard obese surgeries, such as a gastric bypass, are generally only used by people classed in two groups: Those with a BMI of at least 40 (which equates to more than 100 pounds overweight) and those with a BMI of 35 or more plus an obesity-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

According to new preliminary research, it is entirely possible to lose weight without surgery. Unlike standard weight loss surgeries, endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) requires no incision or a hospital stay. The procedure entails a doctor threading a scope down the throat and into the stomach, and then use a suturing device attached to the scope to cinch in the stomach.

 According to studies, in the short term ESG can create a significant weight loss. At the one-year mark, patients have typically shed around 15% of their starting weight. The study reported that after five years, patients were still carrying 15% fewer pounds on average. However, as it is a fairly new procedure, there is very little information about patient results in the longer-term.