How To Achieve Weight Loss Goals In 2024

Our experts detail everything you need to know to achieve weight loss goals in 2024 in this complete guide.

Published: Tuesday 02 January 2024


weight loss goals

The start of 2024 presents the perfect opportunity to embark on a transformative journey towards reaching a healthy weight. Whether the goal is to make small lifestyle adjustments or undergo a complete transformation with the help of weight loss treatments, it’s vital to have a clear plan - and that’s precisely what our experts discuss in this comprehensive guide.

Continue reading to discover how to lose weight in 2024 using scientifically proven methods that promise to turn your weight loss aspirations into tangible achievements.

Understand the key metrics required to set weight loss goals

A recent study[1] on the weight loss journeys of more than 35,000 people in the UK found that the probability of reaching a healthy weight increases dramatically if clear weight loss goals are set. This requires an understanding of what factors determine how fast an individual can lose weight safely based on their daily food intake and activity levels.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) refers to the number of calories the body requires for vital functions such as breathing and circulating blood around the body. The BMR of each individual varies because it depends on their weight, height, age and sex. While there are various ways to calculate BMR, one of the most common formulas is the Harris-Benedict Equation:

  • BMR for males = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) − (5.677 x age in years).
  • BMR for females = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) − (4.330 x age in years).

In this guide, we’ll use the example of a 5-foot tall (152cm) woman named Lucy who is 27 years old and weighs 90kg.

Using the formula above for BMR for females, Lucy’s BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x 90) + (3.098 x 152) - (4.330 x 27) = 1633.81. In other words, Lucy must consume approximately 1634 calories per day to maintain key physiological functions like breathing and muscle movement.

Calculating BMR is important for weight loss because it determines an individual’s daily caloric requirement (DCR) which subsequently determines the size of the caloric deficit needed for them to lose weight.

Daily Caloric Requirement (DCR)

Daily Caloric Requirement (DCR) refers to the total number of calories an individual must consume per day to stay at their current weight. Consuming fewer calories than the DCR results in weight loss.

The DCR of an individual depends on their daily activity level. For instance, someone who drives to and from work each day will have a different activity level to someone who walks and takes public transport to and from work. Each activity level corresponds with an ‘activity factor’:

  • Activity Factor of 1.2 - this implies little to no exercise per day, e.g. sitting and spending most of the day at a desk during the week.
  • Activity Factor of 1.38 - this implies light exercise per day, e.g. walking a few times each week in addition to sitting at a desk while working.
  • Activity Factor of 1.55 - this implies moderate exercise per day, e.g. going for a run or cycling a few times a week.
  • Activity Factor of 1.725 - this implies engaging in hard exercise every day, e.g. working in a physically demanding job or exercising at the gym 3-4 times a week.
  • Activity Factor of 1.9 - this implies engaging in very hard exercise per day, e.g. having multiple gym sessions in a day in addition to having a physically demanding job.

DCR is calculated by multiplying BMR by the activity factor that corresponds with your activity level.

Continuing the example from the previous section, let’s assume Lucy walks a few times each week and has a desk job. This means her activity level corresponds to an activity factor of 1.38.

Therefore, Lucy’s DCR = 1.38 x 1633.81, which implies that she must consume approximately 2255 calories per day to remain at 90kg. We will discuss how many calories she should consume per day to lose weight at a healthy rate later in this guide.

Note: Losing weight and/or changing daily activity changes the individual’s BMR, which can change DCR.

Macronutrient ratio

Calculating the ratio

The foods and drinks we consume have two types of nutrients - micronutrients and macronutrients. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals in foods and drinks; For example, citrus fruits are high in the micronutrient Vitamin C.

On the other hand, macronutrients are the main types of nutrients that provide energy to the body and brain in the form of calories. There are three types of macronutrients:

  • Protein - This macronutrient contributes to the healthy growth of body tissues such as muscles. It also creates enzymes and hormones that contribute to immune functions.
  • Carbohydrate - This macronutrient is broken down into glucose which is used to power cells in the body and any excess glucose is stored as body fat.
  • Fat - This macronutrient helps the body absorb crucial micronutrients and protects the organs by cushioning them within the body.

In addition to maintaining a caloric deficit, healthy weight loss depends on maintaining a healthy macronutrient ratio. The ideal macronutrient ratio for a diet that results in healthy weight loss is 40% of total calories from proteins, 40% from carbohydrates and 20% from fats.

This macronutrient ratio helps to reduce health risks during the weight loss process so that the body can continue growing vital tissues, powering cells and absorbing micronutrients for healthy functioning while the individual loses weight.

Calories per macronutrient

The final piece of the puzzle to establishing a diet for healthy weight loss is understanding the number of calories in each macronutrient (known as ‘caloric density’).

There are 4 calories per gram of protein and carbohydrate respectively - but there are 9 calories per gram of fat. This means that consuming 1 gram of fat is numerically equivalent to consuming 2 grams of protein.

But healthy weight loss isn’t just about eating less fats and more proteins and/or carbohydrates. As we mentioned previously, the healthy functioning of vital organs requires the adequate consumption of fats. Additionally, research shows that proteins are more satiating and require more energy to metabolise compared to fats and carbohydrates.[2] Therefore, following the macronutrient ratio discussed above is recommended to lose weight while staying healthy.

Understand how many calories are required to lose weight safely

Weight loss requires individuals to maintain a caloric deficit, defined as the consumption of fewer calories than the individual’s daily caloric requirement.

Research shows that the ideal caloric deficit for healthy and sustainable weight loss is 500 calories per day.[3] This deficit results in a loss of 1 kg of body weight every 2 weeks (equivalent to losing approximately 1 pound of body weight per week).

Earlier we calculated Lucy’s DCR as being approximately 2255 calories per day. If Lucy wants to lose weight safely, she would be required to consume 500 calories less than her DCR per day, which equates to 1755 calories per day. This will help her to lose 1 kg every 2 weeks (the recommended healthy rate of weight loss).

Determine daily macronutrient intake for healthy weight loss

Determining how much of each macronutrient to eat per day for healthy weight loss requires 2 steps:

  1. Allocate 40% of the total number of calories to eat per day to proteins, 40% to carbohydrates and 20% to fats respectively.
  2. Divide the total number of calories per macronutrient calculated in the step above by either 4 (proteins and carbohydrates) or 9 (fats) to determine the number of grams of each macronutrient to eat per day.

We understand this may be confusing, so here’s an example to illustrate.

Earlier we calculated that Lucy must eat 1755 calories per day for healthy weight loss. This means that for the first step:

  • 40% of 1755 = 702 calories from proteins.
  • 40% of 1755 = 702 calories from carbohydrates.
  • 20% of 1755 = 351 calories from fats.

For the second step:

  • 702 calories from proteins divided by 4 calories per gram of protein = 175.5 grams of proteins.
  • 702 calories from carbohydrates divided by 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates = 175.5 grams of carbohydrates.
  • 351 calories from fats divided by 9 calories per gram of fats = 39 grams of fats.

Therefore, Lucy must eat 1755 calories per day for healthy weight loss, consisting of 175.5g of protein, 175.5g of carbohydrates and 39g of fat.

It is important to note that the values above are to be used as a guide. It is recommended to follow the above values as closely as possible as opposed to trying to be exact.

Create a personalised weight loss diet

With the information you now have on hand, all that’s left to do is to count calories and grams of each macronutrient.

According to the NHS,[4] this can be done by checking the food labels on shop-bought ingredients. Alternatively, you might wish to use online calorie counters[5] that act as search engines where the name of the food/ingredient can be inputted into a search box to view how many calories and grams of each macronutrient are present within it.

Here are some examples of foods Lucy might wish to incorporate into her daily meals to lose weight based on her requirements to consume 1755 calories, 175.5g of protein, 175.5g of carbohydrates and 39g of fats per day.

Note: the figures below have been taken from online calorie counters and/or nutritional labels on various food products.

Breakfast

  • 1 medium-sized ripe banana, chopped:
    • 1 gram of protein
    • 28 grams of carbohydrates
    • No fat
    • 116 calories in total
  • 100g of rolled oats
    • 10.9 grams of protein
    • 70.7 grams of carbohydrates
    • 8.1 grams of fat
    • 381 calories in total
  • 125g of full-fat greek yoghurt:
    • 7.1 grams of protein
    • 6 grams of carbohydrates
    • 12.8 grams of fat
    • 166 calories in total
  • 2 boiled egg
    • 15 grams of protein
    • No carbohydrates
    • 10 grams of fat
    • 150 calories in total

Totals: approximately 34g of protein, 105g of carbohydrates, 31g of fat, 810 calories.

Daily supplement

  • 1 daily complete multivitamin
    • Negligible macronutrient and calorie content

Lunch

  • 120g cooked pasta:
    • 5.3 grams of protein
    • 37.8 grams of carbohydrates
    • 0.7 grams of fat
    • 169 calories in total
  • 125g pasta sauce
    • 1.6 grams of protein
    • 10.5 grams of carbohydrates
    • 0.8 grams of fat
    • 59 calories in total
  • 260g of diced oven-baked chicken breast:
    • 39.3 grams of protein
    • No carbohydrates
    • 4.7 grams of fat
    • 199 calories in total
  • 1 medium-sized Royal Gala apple:
    • 0.6 grams of protein
    • 11.8g carbohydrates
    • 0.5 grams of fat
    • 51 calories in total

Totals: approximately 47g of protein, 60g of carbohydrates, 7g of fat, 470 calories.

Dinner

  • 100g cooked white rice:
    • 2.8 grams of protein
    • 28 grams of carbohydrates
    • 0.4 grams of fat
    • 120 calories in total
  • 300g beef mince:
    • 65 grams of protein
    • 0 grams of carbohydrates
    • 12 grams of fat
    • 360 calories in total
  • 100g mixed salad:
    • 1 gram of protein
    • 2g carbohydrates
    • 0.2 grams of fat
    • 17 calories in total

Totals: approximately 69g of protein, 30g of carbohydrates, 12g of fat, 497 calories.

Grand totals for Lucy’s meal plan:

  • 150 grams of protein
  • 195 grams of carbohydrates
  • 50 grams of fat
  • 1777 calories in total

Following the meal plan above would help Lucy lose approximately 1 kg of body weight every 2 weeks while ensuring she gets a good balance of macronutrients and micronutrients.

Consider treatments that aid weight loss

Weight loss medication

Generic Orlistat

Generic Orlistat contains the active ingredient Orlistat which helps to reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the body from food. It works by inhibiting enzymes in the body called lipases from breaking down fats, increasing the portion of fat that is passed through the body as stool.[6] This reduces the total caloric intake, helping to maintain the calorie deficit required for weight loss.

Generic Orlistat contains 120 mg of Orlistat per tablet, which is why it is only suitable for adults with a body mass index (BMI) above 30 or those with a BMI above 28 who are also at risk of or have diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and/or high cholesterol.

It is important to note that Orlistat is a prescription medication that requires the completion of an online consultation prior to purchase.

Alli

Alli is a branded version of generic Orlistat. Alli contains 60 mg of Orlistat per tablet and is recommended for adults with a BMI above 28. It works in the same way as generic Orlistat but is generally priced higher as it is a branded weight loss treatment.

Orlos

Orlos is also a branded version of generic Orlistat. Like Alli, Orlos contains 60 mg of Orlistat per tablet, is prescribed for adults with a BMI above 28 and is usually priced higher than generic Orlistat as it is a branded weight loss treatment.

Xenical

Xenical contains 120 mg of Orlistat per tablet, which is why it is recommended for those with a BMI above 30. It is also recommended for adults with a BMI above 28 who are also at risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and/or high cholesterol.

Recommended reading: Xenical, Alli and Orlistat - The differences

XLS-Medical Max Strength

XLS-Medical Max Strength is a weight loss aid for adults with a BMI between 25 and 30. It contains a compound called Clavitanol that helps to inhibit the metabolisation and absorption of carbohydrates, sugars and fats, reducing overall calorie intake and aiding weight loss.

Recommended reading: Getting the most out of your weight loss treatment

Vitamin and supplements

The daily caloric deficit required for weight loss can often result in the insufficient intake of micronutrients. Therefore, it is recommended to take the following vitamin supplements whether you’re losing weight by creating a meal plan as discussed earlier in this article or through the use of weight loss aids.

  • Vitamin D3: Enhances bone health and immune functions by contributing to the absorption of calcium.
  • Omega-3: Supports cardiovascular health and brain functions.
  • Zinc: Contributes to the body’s ability to heal wounds.
  • Vitamin E: Helps protect various cells in the body from becoming damaged.
  • Vitamin B6: Contributes to the creation of neurotransmitters that aid brain activity.
  • Vitamin C: Supports the body’s defences against viruses.
  • Vitamin E: Helps protect cells from oxidative stress.
  • Calcium: Helps improve bone health.
  • Magnesium: Aids enzyme reactions in the body that are necessary for muscle and nerve functioning.

If taking individual vitamins is inconvenient, you might wish to consider a complete daily multivitamin to supply the body with essential micronutrients during weight loss through a one-a-day tablet.

Recommended reading: Everything you need to know about vitamins

Exercise to speed up weight loss

The methods we’ve discussed thus far can help individuals maintain a caloric deficit by reducing the number of calories consumed per day. The alternative method to maintain a caloric deficit is by exercising to increase the number of calories that are expended by the body.

Cycling, running or even walking can help increase the body’s metabolism, accelerating the weight loss process. Strength training exercises such as lifting weights can also speed up weight loss because they help build muscles. Research shows[7] that muscle is the primary thermogenic organ in vertebrates, which means it regulates energy expenditure by burning calories. Therefore, building muscle mass is thought to increase overall energy expenditure by the body.

With that said, we understand that exercising may not be suitable for all individuals. If this is the case, it is recommended to follow the other methods outlined in this guide after speaking with a pharmacist or doctor.

Popular questions about weight loss

The basics of weight loss

How long does it take to start losing weight?

It takes 2 weeks for noticeable weight loss. This is the point at which 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of body weight is lost, provided a deficit of 500 calories below the daily caloric requirement is maintained.

What’s the easiest way to lose weight?

The easiest way to lose weight is by considering making changes to your daily diet in line with the recommendations and calculations in this guide. If your BMI is above 28, it may be worth consulting a medical professional about weight loss treatment.

How many calories do I need to lose weight?

It depends on your daily caloric requirement, which in turn depends on your basal metabolic rate and daily activity levels. Please refer to the earlier sections in this guide for more information.

Can you lose weight without exercise?

Yes, it is possible to lose weight without exercise by maintaining a caloric deficit through dietary changes and/or the use of weight loss treatments after consulting a pharmacist or doctor.

What do great weight loss foods have in common?

Great weight loss foods vary from person to person. Foods that provide you with a healthy balance of micro- and macronutrients are ideal for weight loss. It is recommended to avoid foods that are high in calories but which do not provide nourishment, such as alcohol and refined carbohydrates such as sugar.

What are some examples of healthy foods to eat every day to lose weight?

Examples of healthy foods to eat every day to lose weight include leafy greens, starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, lean cuts of meat, yoghurt and fresh fruits.

Weight loss timelines

How long does it take to lose weight?

Generally, it takes 2 weeks to lose 1 kg of body weight provided a 500-calorie deficit is maintained. However, the exact time it takes for an individual to lose weight can depend on the individual’s basal metabolic rate, daily caloric requirement and body composition (consisting of their total muscle mass).

How much weight can you lose in 3 weeks?

Assuming you maintain a deficit of 500 calories per day (the recommended caloric deficit for healthy weight loss), you can lose approximately 1.5 kg in 3 weeks.

How much weight can you lose in a month?

Assuming you maintain a deficit of 500 calories per day (the recommended caloric deficit for healthy weight loss), you can lose approximately 2 kg in a month.

How much weight can you lose in 6 weeks?

Assuming you maintain a deficit of 500 calories per day (the recommended caloric deficit for healthy weight loss), you can lose approximately 3 kg in 6 weeks.

How much weight can you lose in 2 months?

Assuming you maintain a deficit of 500 calories per day (the recommended caloric deficit for healthy weight loss), you can lose approximately 4 kg in 2 months.

How much weight can you lose in 3 months?

Assuming you maintain a deficit of 500 calories per day (the recommended caloric deficit for healthy weight loss), you will lose approximately 6 kg in 3 months.

Rate of weight loss

What’s the best way to lose weight fast?

It is possible to lose weight fast by maintaining a deficit of more than 500 calories per day, but this is not recommended due to the negative effects it can have on vital functions in the body.

What’s the best diet to lose weight quickly?

There is no single best diet to lose weight quickly. If you are considering a diet that promises fast weight loss, it is highly recommended to discuss it with your doctor or a pharmacist before embarking on it. Diets that guarantee quick weight loss can damage organs in the body.

Is losing 1kg a week healthy?

Losing 1kg a week is generally considered unhealthy. It is recommended to try losing 1kg every 2 weeks to give the body time to adjust to caloric deficits and ensure adequate micro- and macronutrient intake.

Complete a free online consultation to determine weight loss treatment eligibility with Pharmica

Pharmica is one of the best online pharmacies in the UK with over 1.2 million patients helped and a 4.9 out of 5 rating from over 175,000 independent reviews. We always strive to offer the highest standards of service, offering convenient online consultations for an array of clinically proven treatments with discreet delivery. In addition, we regularly provide comprehensive health guides featuring information and advice based on the latest medical research via our Health Hub and through our popular email newsletter.

Explore our full range of treatments today.

  1. Avery et al. (2016). ‘Setting targets leads to greater long‐term weight losses and ‘unrealistic’ targets increase the effect in a large community‐based commercial weight management group’, Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 29(6), pp. 687–696. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12390
  2. Moon & Koh. (2020). ‘Clinical evidence and mechanisms of high-protein diet-induced weight loss’, Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome, 29(3), pp. 166–173. doi: https://doi.org/10.7570/jomes20028
  3. Healthline. (2019). What is a calorie deficit and how much of one is healthy? Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/calorie-deficit#:~:text=A%20calorie%20deficit%20of%20500%20calories%20per%20day%20is%20effective,calorie%20deficit%20without%20calorie%20counting. [Accessed 2nd January 2024].
  4. NHS. (n.d.). Calorie counting. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/lose-weight/calorie-counting/. [Accessed 2nd January 2024].
  5. Nutracheck. (n.d.). Calorie counter. Available at: https://www.nutracheck.co.uk/CaloriesIn/. [Accessed 2nd January 2024].
  6. Bansal & Khalili. (2022). Orlistat. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK542202/. [Accessed 2nd January 2024].
  7. Periasamy et al. (2017). ‘Skeletal Muscle thermogenesis and its role in whole body energy metabolism’, Diabetes & Metabolism Journal, 41(5), pp. 327–336. doi: https://doi.org/10.4093/dmj.2017.41.5.327
Rehma Gill

Written by: Rehma Gill

Pharmacy Manager・GPHC Number 2225869

Rehma completed her pharmacy degree at the University of Portsmouth in 2019 and went on to complete her internship in community pharmacy. As a pharmacy manager and a responsible pharmacist here at Pharmica, Rehma’s responsibilities include managing day-to-day operations at the pharmacy and ensuring we provide outstanding service to our patients.


Carolina Goncalves

Medically Reviewed by: Carolina Goncalves

Superintendent Pharmacist・GPHC Number 2088658

Carolina Goncalves is the Superintendent Pharmacist at Pharmica, where she ensures patients receive exceptional healthcare and support, as part of a seamless online pharmacy service.

With a comprehensive professional background spanning more than 13 years, Carolina has extensive experience supporting Men’s and Women’s health. Carolina is responsible for providing expert treatment advice to thousands of patients in areas such as Sexual Health, Erectile Dysfunction, Hair Loss, Weight Loss and Asthma.


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Eat Well and Lose Weight: Alli/Orlistat Diet Plan
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