Weight management and healthy eating

Many people find it difficult to maintain a healthy weight and eat a sensible diet.

Cases of obesity in the UK have increased in recent years, mainly due to changes in diet and lifestyle. Unhealthy, high calorie food is cheap and readily available, and it is easier to order a takeaway than cook a healthy, homemade meal. Being constantly busy, having limited free time, and not doing enough physical activity, has meant that more and more of us are struggling with our weight.

Being overweight increases the risk of health problems, such as diabetes, bowel cancer, high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke. It can also lead to arthritis, breathing problems and trouble sleeping.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

If you want to change your lifestyle, a good place to start is to understand your body mass index (BMI) and find out if you are a healthy weight for your height.

Your BMI is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. Use the NHS BMI Calculator to identify your BMI. 

  • Underweight - less than 18.5. Some people in this category are naturally lean and healthy, but being underweight is also bad for your health. If you are finding it difficult to put on weight, you should speak to your GP
  • Healthy weight – 18.5 – 25. You are deemed normal in this category and this is what we should all be aiming for
  • Overweight - 25 – 30. You should try not to gain any further weight if you fall into this category. You could try cutting down on sugar and fat in your diet and increasing your level of physical activity
  • Obese - 30 – 40. Being obese or morbidly obese (BMI of over 40) means that you are significantly more at risk of health problems. If you are having issues losing weight you should speak to your GP

If you want to lose weight, the key is burning more calories than you consume. If you eat healthier foods in the right quantities and move more, you should see the benefits. You may want to follow a diet programme - look for one that promotes healthy weight loss of 0.5 – 1kg a week, any more than this and you will be losing water and muscle rather than fat. You should also make sure your diet is realistic so you are less likely to want to give up. There are various slimming clubs and fitness classes to support and encourage you on your weight loss journey.

Top tips for controlling calories

  • Keep a food diary and write down everything you eat and drink during the day, for a week. You may not have realised how much you are consuming and this will highlight this
  • Use your food diary to find ways of reducing your calorie intake e.g. you could cut 500 calories per day just by swapping your snack for a piece of fruit
  • Reduce alcohol consumption, as well as sugary drinks as these are high in calories
  • Aim for 20 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Try a brisk walk at lunchtime, walk up the stairs rather than taking the lift, and consider walking or cycling to work (even if only for part of the journey)

Resources to support weight management and healthy eating

Find a class or fitness centre near you:


Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

Staff can use the Vivup EAP service to speak to a trained counsellor 24/7, 365 days a year. To access the support line, call 0330 380 0658 and mention you are LJMU staff or visit the website.