Drug treatment to help with weight loss

Medication to help with weight loss may be an option for some people who want to lose weight. However, there are no wonder drugs available. Lifestyle changes to improve diet and increase physical activity are still important. 

The drug orlistat is available on prescription from your doctor and low-dose orlistat is also available to buy over-the-counter in pharmacies. Doctors and pharmacists are given specific guidelines on when orlistat should be used.

Surgery to help with weight loss

This may be an option if you are very obese. However, surgery is usually only offered if you have already tried other ways to lose weight which have not worked (including diet, increasing your physical activity levels and orlistat). Surgery usually has very good results and most people do lose a lot of weight. However, this is specialist surgery and it is a major undertaking. Surgery to help weight loss is called bariatric surgery.

Keeping the weight off

Many people lose weight but at the end of their diet, the weight goes back on. The main reason this happens is because their weight-reducing diet was only a temporary change to their unhealthy diet and lifestyle. To keep your weight off, it is important that you make permanent changes. This usually means:

  • Keeping to a healthy diet.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • A change for the whole household. It is difficult for one member of a household to shop and eat differently to the rest. It is best that the whole household should eat a healthy diet.

It does not mean less enjoyment of food. However, it may take a while to learn to enjoy different foods, meals, and recipes. Some people need more support to keep to their new weight than when they were actually dieting and losing weight. A local support group may be able to help.

Can overweight and obesity be prevented?

Yes. You can help to prevent becoming overweight or obese by:

  • Following the healthy eating guidelines outlined above.
  • Doing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on at least 5 days of the week.
  • Spending less time being sedentary (for example, less time in front of your computer or watching TV).
  • Weighing yourself from time-to-time so that you become more aware of your weight and you can do something about your weight if you start to put some on.
  • Encouraging a healthy lifestyle for your whole family.

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