The Healthy Food Guide team believe that making small diet and lifestyle changes brings the best long-term gains. We look at the science behind the headlines and promote a balanced way of eating.

Meet the six HFG readers who have accepted the Get Waisted challenge. Every month you can read about their progress, their weight-loss dilemmas and the advice experts have given to help them on their way.


Month 1 update

Month 2 update

Month 3 update

Month 4 update

Month 5 update


Louise Trenwith

❛I couldn’t lose my baby weight – and I lost my motivation❜
Age 27
Height 5ft 7in (1.7m)
Waist 41in (104cm)
Starting weight 15st 11lb (100kg)


Even as a child, I was bigger than all my friends. I’ve tried diets over the years, but I gained around 4–5st with my second pregnancy and never lost it. My motivation went and my confidence, too. Sometimes I skip breakfast because I’m always on the go juggling two children and work. I snack in the evening when I’m watching TV – chocolate is my downfall. I think this challenge will get me back on track. I’m looking forward to losing inches and feeling good about myself again, fitting into my old clothes – and going out to buy new ones!

Jennifer Low, consultant dietitian, has this advice:
Take fruit for the school run As Louise has no time for a sit-down breakfast, eating something healthy on the go is her best option – it’s been proved breakfast aids weight loss.
Plan your meals Write a weekly menu and shop accordingly – that way tempting treats don’t make it into your trolley. Make low-fat yogurt your sweet snack.
Focus on becoming healthier rather than ‘being on a diet’ If you eat anything other than what your diet allows, it’s easy to feel guilty, and this can lead to comfort eating.


Christine Wilkinson

❛I choose the wrong foods and fall into the trap of treating myself❜
Age 56
Height 5ft 3in (1.6m)
Waist 40in (101cm)
Starting weight 12st 6lb (79kg)


My weight and lifestyle choices are affecting my health, and this became clear when a routine blood test highlighted some high readings. I have an underactive thyroid, too, for which I take medication. I carry my weight around my middle, and I don’t want to develop type 2 diabetes on top of everything else. Meal planning isn’t at the top of my to-do list, so sometimes it’s easier to grab a ‘ping’ meal or a takeaway. Not only do I eat the wrong things quite a bit, but I have large portions, too. I like to treat myself – a nice slice of cake, a chocolate bar, packet of crisps, a few glasses of wine… I’ve been dieting since 1986, but nothing has worked long term. My weight fluctuates, especially after high-days, holidays and weekends of fun! My weight has steadily increased once again to well over 12st. It’s time to take action – I definitely do not want to reach 13st plus.

Dr Dawn Harper, GP and HFG expert, has this advice:
Watch your fat intake An underactive thyroid (or hypothyroidism) can also be linked to high cholesterol levels, so it’s important Christine limits the amount of fat in her diet – it should make up no more than a third of her total daily calories. Of her total fat intake, saturates (found in cheese, fatty meats and baked goods), should make up a third or less.

Cook simple meals from scratch This will give Christine more control over what she’s eating – and she has the option to fill her plate with veg. When she wants a ready meal, she should look for the latest healthier ranges and stick to the portion sizes indicated.


Gary Hunter

❛I’m a foodaholic – why have one slice when I can have two?❜
Age 44
Height 6ft 1in (1.85m)
Waist 42in (107cm)
Starting weight 15st 6lb (98kg)


This challenge strikes a chord because I want to be healthy. I’m fed up trying to squeeze into my jeans and covering up on holiday. Every day I say ‘today is the day’, and I start off with good intentions. But as the day goes on I snack on junk, even while I’m cooking dinner. I’ll be buying as much fruit and veg as I can from my local market. I want to be able to go into a café for a normal black coffee and know that I don’t need the sandwich or muffin as well. Resisting these ‘extras’ will be key – I don’t need to be eating for five…

Juliette Kellow, HFG nutrition consultant, has this advice:
Tune in to hunger I doubt Gary ever feels hungry, simply because he’s constantly nibbling out of habit and a love of food. I’d like him to rate his hunger on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is absolutely starving and 10 is totally stuffed. My guess is a lot of the time he’ll find he’s already scoring 7 or more before he starts nibbling.

Keep a food photo diary Gary would benefit from keeping a food diary, outlining every single mouthful of food and drink he consumes. But I’d like him to take this one step further and take a photo of every single thing he eats and drinks, too. Then, at the end of the week, I’d like him to print out all the photos and lay them out on the floor, separating them into meals and snacks/extras. Seeing just how much he is eating on top of his normal meals in full colour should be enough to get him motivated to cut most of them out of his diet.


Lisa Woodruff

❛I reward myself with food and organise my day around mealtimes❜
Age 49
Height 5ft 5in (1.65m)
Waist 41in (104cm)
Starting weight 14st 11lb (94kg)


I was raised to provide hearty hot food in the evening, and lots of it! I think a lot about food and I organise my day by mealtimes. I love eating out, reward myself with food and comfort eat. I also have a sweet tooth, particularly at night. If anyone brings biscuits in to work I can’t resist eating them. I enjoy a glass of wine occasionally – probably only two a week unless I’m entertaining. I usually have three or four cups of tea with sugar a day, and I know I don’t drink enough water. I feel tired, though, and as I’m turning 50 this year I’m mindful of reducing my risk of health concerns such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. I want to lose weight now because I feel I need to give myself a head start to be as healthy as I can be as I enter my next decade. I also want to look and feel great for my wedding in July!

Sarah Stanner, science director at the British Nutrition Foundation, has this advice:
Control portion sizes Weighing out ingredients, using tall/narrow glasses for drinks and checking the recommended serving sizes on packs will all help Lisa to cut down on her portion sizes.
Fill your plate with vegetables or salad and bulk out meals with high-fibre foods (eg add extra beans to chilli and vegetables to curries). This will fill Lisa up and leave less room for higher-calorie ingredients.
Choose sweet treats wisely If Lisa feels she needs a sweet treat, a sugar-free jelly, low-fat, sugar-free yogurt or low-calorie hot chocolate should hit the spot. And she needs to wean herself off the sugar in her tea!


Wendy Moore

❛I find it hard to stick to healthy eating❜
Age 50
Height 5ft 7in (1.7m)
Waist 43.5in (110cm)
Current weight 15st 1lb (96kg)


In 2013 I was diagnosed with hypertension and type 2 diabetes. I manage these conditions with exercise and diet, but find it difficult to maintain an eating plan I can enjoy long term. I don’t like being overweight and the effect it’s having on my heart and joints. I’ve also been told I may have to start medication for my diabetes, which I don’t want to do. I need to get my weight and diet under control. I find it easy to stick to a diet at work; usually I’m so busy there isn’t time to eat – although if there are sweets or biscuits at work I find it difficult to say no (I have a sweet tooth). But when I get home I feel so hungry I end up eating crisps, chocolate, biscuits and crackers. By the time dinner is ready, I don’t particularly want to eat but I feel I have to. I’m going to a fitness class, which I love, but I also need to find a plan to help me make diet changes that last.

Tracy Kelly, clinical adviser at Diabetes UK, has this advice:
Reassess portions We often end up eating more than we need because portion sizes have grown over the years. So has the energy density (calorie content) of food. Wendy could try using a smaller plate and having a glass of water before going for seconds. Healthy living is central to managing Wendy’s type 2 diabetes well. Many people with the condition may need to take medication as well. Wendy has made a good start by joining a fitness class – and it has the added benefit of stimulating feelgood hormones. Research suggests that people have the best weight-loss outcome when they combine healthy eating with regular exercise.


Sarah Alcock

❛Watching a film doesn’t feel right without chocolate and a glass of wine❜
Age 30
Height 5ft 4in (1.63m)
Waist 40in (102cm)
Starting weight 12st 12lb (82kg)


Since the age of 15, I’ve been a yo-yo dieter and I’ve previously lost 4st. I put my weight gain down to snacking. My downfall is in the evening when I get bored – watching a film doesn’t seem right without chocolate and a glass of wine. I love snacking, but it’s on the wrong foods. My husband and I love to cook together – he likes to eat healthily. We cook a wide variety of dinners such as curries, roasts, pasta and big salads. I’ll eat fruit or yogurt as snacks during the day, but when the kids go to bed my mind wanders to all the other less healthy foods in the fridge. I suffered gestational diabetes with my second child in 2013, which has left me at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It’s important for me to get down to a healthy weight to help reduce my risk.

Tracy Kelly, clinical adviser at Diabetes UK, has this advice:
Keep the fridge stocked with healthier low-calorie snacks Instead of trying to resist the temptation to nibble after dinner, make healthy snacking easier to achieve than unhealthy snacking by leaving calorific treats at the supermarket!

Challenge hunger pangs If Sarah makes sure she’s full after dinner, she’ll be less likely to give into the desire to snack. Or if she can’t resist the urge, she could savour a small piece of chocolate OR a small glass of wine instead of having both.
Visualise what success looks like I’d suggest Sarah thinks back to some of the things that worked for her previously, when she lost 4st, as they will be helpful in getting her to her goal now.

Month 1 update

*Weight-loss results will vary and are down to your individual circumstances and the amount of weight you have to lose.