Healthy Weight

This page offers some simple behaviour changes based on the Change4Life campaign that can be implemented to help to maintain a healthy weight, aid weight loss or to develop a healthy balanced diet.

Modern life and increasing levels of inactivity makes it all too easy to put on weight, even a couple of pounds here and there add up over time.

Traffic light

Being overweight isn't just about the way we look. It can lead to aches and pains, problems sleeping and even a loss of energy and confidence. It also increases our chances of suffering a stroke or getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. 

However by making just a few small lifestyle changes, like moving around a bit more and eating more healthily, you can lose a bit of weight and start to feel better, sleep better, have more energy and reduce the likelihood of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart attack, strokes and angina. 

That's why the Healthy Lifestyles Team at South Somerset District Council is supporting Change4Life. It's a nationwide movement, which aims to help us all eat well, move more and live longer. Research findings suggest that losing weight steadily and gradually is the safest way meaning that weight loss is more likely to be maintained. This information is designed to offer simple weight loss advice to help you to take a step in the right direction to achieving a healthy weight.


Portion Control

Lots of us were bought up to finish the food on our plate. The problem is portions are getting larger and are readily available.  As a result we are eating more foods that are high in fat or added sugar, this means we often end up eating too much energy and not burning it off without even realising that we are doing it. This can eventually lead to a weight gain. 

There are lots of swaps you can make to make sure you aren't accidentally eating too much. In fact, making portion swaps is one of the easiest things you can do to be healthy. 

The advice below offers some simple behaviour changes based on the change for life campaign that can be implemented to help to maintain a healthy weight, aid weight loss or to develop a healthy balanced diet.


Swaps you could make

Swap bigger plates for smaller plates and you'll have a smaller portion while it looks like you have more food. 

Fill up on healthier food like fruit and veg instead of food that's high in fat or added sugar. Could you swap a large meal for a smaller meal with fruit for dessert?


Snack Swap

Its great to feel healthy and trim but no one wants to deprive themselves of all the things they like to eat and drink. In actual fact it's when we cut out these things we love that we don't keep up the changes we make for very long.

One of the best ways to develop a healthier diet is to make some swaps, this way you don't have to say no to everything and the more you do the better you will feel. When we are busy or bored we often look for a snack and its easy to loose track of how many snacks we have eaten. The problem is that our bodies are designed to store fat, so by eating fatty and sugary snacks we quickly build up our fat stores. That doesn't mean we have to stop eating snacks all together, but instead try to swap some unhealthy snacks for a healthier snack option.



Eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is important for our health, but you might be surprised how easy it can be. You don't have to radically change your diet, just add a portion of vegetables here, sprinkle a portion of fruit there and you'll get your 5 before you know it. One adult portion of fruit or vegetables is 80 grams. For more information visit the NHS website 

Swaps you could make include
  • Add fruit to your cereal or porridge and a banana to your yoghurt.
  • Swapping pepperoni pizza topping to vegetable ones such as mushroom, tomato, pepper or onion.
  • Swap one of your daily cups of tea or coffee for a glass of 100% unsweetened fruit juice.


Drink Swap 

Having the odd drink isn't bad for us but we often forget that many of the drinks we have, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, contain calories and these can really add up. Making some drinks swaps means we can cut down on some of the calories in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks without having to say 'no'.

Which of these swaps could you make?

  • Coffee swap: Swap high calorie coffee drinks like whole milk latte and frappe for drinks made with skimmed milk. A black or skimmed milk Americano is one way to get a caffeine hit without piling on the calories.
  • Spritzer swap: A good way to cut down on alcohol calories is to have a smaller glass of wine topped up with soda water.
  • Pop swap: Swap sugary fizzy drinks for sparkling water with a slice of lemon or a dash of fruit juice or even diet versions. Energy and sports drinks can also contain a lot of calories so make sure you check the label.


Fibre Swap

We've all heard of fibre and know it helps to keep us regular but most of us don't really know why it's important or where to find it.

Fibre is only found in foods that come from plants e.g. fruit and vegetables, seeds and pulses. Fibre helps with the digestive system and can also help to reduce blood cholesterol. And because foods containing fibre fill us up for longer they make us much less likely to overeat and this helps us to control our weight.

Examples of swaps you could make:
Toast swap, white bread has very little fibre, so swap your white toast for wholemeal or wholegrain toast.

Plate swap, fibre is found in vegetables so try swapping some of the other things on your plate for more veg. At meal times aim for half your plate to be veg.


Many of us struggle with the idea of doing exercise. It might be that we are too busy, feeling tired and achy, or simply can't face the thought of it. The good news is that building activity into your day actually gives you more energy, strengthens joints so you don't feel so achy, can be fun and can also help you feel better about yourself. All movement counts - sit less, move more and gradually build up to doing 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, 5 times a week. The name of the game is to try to get your heart beating faster and your lungs working a bit harder for at least 10 minutes at a time.
Which of these swaps could you make?

Travel swap: Think feet first. Swapping your usual bus or car journey for cycling is a great way to build up to 5 x 30 minutes of moderate activity a week.

Sitting down swap: If you spend a lot of time sitting down during the day, try to reduce it. It might seem like a small change but getting up and about on a regular basis does make a difference. You could try walking to the local shops instead of taking the car.

Hobby swap: Get an active hobby, something that will give you some 'me time' and help you build up to being more active in your leisure time. Dancing, cycling or gardening maybe?Visit our health walks page for more information on activity near you.



Useful weight loss websites



British Heart Foundation


NHS Live Well

Cancer Research

BBC Health