Overweight/Obesity: Weight Management

You may have been directed to this page because you would like some support in weight loss.  Broadly speaking, we use BMI and waist circumference as markers of being overweight or obese.  We know that these don't tell the whole story and there are clearly other factors involved, but it can be a helpful marker of RISK of disease, underlying health problems and metabolic syndrome.  They are easy factors to measure and compare against your own previous markers, which is why we use them: 

High Risk Group:

Overweight BMI > 25

94cm (37 inches) for men 

80cm (31.5inches) for women 

Very High Risk Group:

Obese BMI > 30

102cm (40inches) for men 

88cm (34.5 inches) for women 

Trying to lose weight if you are overweight or obese is not easy.  We know from many studies including those in patients following surgery for weight loss, that there is a complex interplay of hormones involved and losing weight can be even harder if you have more weight to lose. Although finding a way to have a deficit in calories is important, how we choose to do this means it is not always as simple as "calories in versus calories out".    In addition, changing behaviour is incredibly difficult for all of us.  It is important to acknowledge that stressors, work, family, home, finances, previous life experiences will all play a role in how we currently live our lives and will create challenges and barriers to any changes we would like to see: it is not just about 'willpower'! 


Good science continues to teach us more about metabolic health, the role of hormones and different types of nutrition in weight loss.  The great news is, that no matter your genetic make up or background in life, there may be an area of your life that with some different changes or switches, could help  improve your physical health, mental health, general wellbeing and in some cases reverse the condition you have been diagnosed with! 

What Role Do Hormones Play?

  • Insulin is the master hormone.  Insulin both stores glucose in the liver as both a 'glucose store' (glycogen) but also stores it as fat.  Importantly, we cannot burn fat when insulin is ciculating. 
  • Cortisol (stress hormone) releases glucose from stores for the 'fight or flight' response 
  • Thyroid hormones alter your metabolism 
  • Leptin  in the gut can impact satiety (feeling hungry) - can be affected by sleep


 See Dr Dan Maggs' video to the right.

Dieting and exercising but struggling to lose weight?  Dr Dan Maggs (GP) expains why looking at INSULIN might help with long term sustainable weight loss and its not  just calories in vs calories out. 

So where is the good news? 

What can I do about it?

These hormone interactions teach us that we can influence how our body's function.  Avoiding crash 'diets' and making lifestyle changes that work for you, in your specific life circumstances, can help with more sustainable weight loss and improve your overwell wellbeing.  The following areas are all important: 


  • Nutrition: Eat ‘real food’, avoid processed foods, lower sugary foods and starchy carbohydrates.   Include essential 'healthy' natural fats.  Our lower carbohydrate page gives some helpful information on different aspects of healthy eating and drinking.  There are links to some alternative switches too.     
  • Physical Activity: Move more, be less sedentary 
  • StressReduce stressors on mental and physical health
  • Sleep:  Optimise sleep.  Check out our website  sleep resource as well as the Sleepstation information on sleep and weight management.


Dr Dan Maggs (GP) discusses some of the medical problems that could contribute to difficulty losing weight 

This flow chart shows how high blood glucose causes more insulin release, storing glucose in the body as fat, including in the liver and pancreas ( a normal physiological process).  In some people this system is overloaded, which can lead to insulin resistance and increased body fat..  

Want more information?

  • Check out the Metabolic Health and Low Carb sections on the website as well as the other links below.
  • Speak to your Social Prescriber, GP, or Nurse 


Sometimes, despite looking at all these areas, it can be difficult or weight loss plateaus.  You can talk about any of this in more detail and get more support through your New Forest Social Prescribers, Lee Rand and Helen Clarke or speak to a member of your own general practice team.  


The New Forest Primary Care Network will also be running remote group lifestyle focused sessions.  


For some people, medications and weight loss surgery are options and you can discuss this further with your GP. 

Positive Online Weight Reduction: "The POWeR programme will help you to learn about scientifically proven tools that will helpyou to lose weight long-term." For those with a BMI of 25 or over.

This website does not provide personal medical advice.

New Forest PCN take no responsibility for the content of external links.