Can anyone follow Ideal Weight?
Ideal Weight takes the health and wellbeing of our members very seriously. Please carefully read the information found in these FAQ's to ensure that you are eligible to participate in an Ideal Weight Plan. Your suitability for each of our weight loss plans depends on your age, BMI and medical history. Whatever your history, or situation, there's a plan that's right for you.
What are the medical exclusions which may prevent me from participating in an Ideal Weight plan?
Prior to participating in an Ideal Weight Plan, it's important that you read the following information to see if there are any obvious reasons why you should not proceed. If you can answer yes to any of the medical exclusions found below, there are restrictions regarding which plans you can follow.
To be able to participate in the Ideal Weight 4, 3 or 2 Plans you must not have any of the following medical conditions:
- Epilepsy, seizures or convulsions
- Serious heart condition including arrhythmia
- Psychiatric disorder
- Kidney or Liver disease
- Alcohol or drug dependency
- Type 1 diabetes
- Pregnant, breastfeeding or given birth in the last 3 months
- Total lactose intolerance
- Taking anti-coagulants in the treatment of Thrombosis
- Ever taken MAOI drugs
To be able to participate in an Ideal Weight plan you must also:
- Be over the age of 16
- Have a Body Mass Index above 20
If you are able to answer yes to any of the questions below, then you are unable to participate in the Ideal Weight 4 Plan however, you will be able to participate in any of our other plans. You are required to consult with your GP before starting on the plan and continue to be monitored by your GP.
- Have you had radiotherapy or chemotherapy in the last 6 months?
- Have you had a stroke or TIA in last 6 months?
- Have you suffered from physical trauma, accident or had surgery in the last 6 months?
- Have you had a serious heart condition including angina or heart attack in the last 6 months?
- Do you have hypertension?
- Do you have hypoglycaemia?
- Are you Type 2 Diabetic?
- Do you suffer from Gout?
- Are you on diuretic medication?
Why do you recommend consulting my GP before starting the programme?
Before you start any weight loss programme we recommend you check with your doctor. They will be able to offer advise on whether you are suited to follow one of our plans based on your medical history
Which plan should I follow?
At Ideal Weight, we want to make your journey as simple as possible. So, we've created five plans to suit your individual needs.
If your BMI is 28+ then you may consider starting on the 4 plan. The 4 plan is not suitable for everyone due to the very low calorie content of this plan. We only allow members to follow this plan for a maximum of 8 consecutive weeks to give a quick boost before moving onto a different plan, where you are able to introduce nutritional meals as part of your daily diet.
The 4 plan includes 4 Ideal Weight nutrition packs per day, one of which can be a bar, plus a daily milk allowance.
The plan requires 28 packs a week and approx 600 kcal per day.
If your BMI is 25+ then we recommend starting your Ideal Weight journey with the 3 plan. The 3 plan consists of three nutrition packs per day, one of which can be a bar, alongside a healthy meal created using our 3 plan meal matrix. The matrix guides you to pick a source of protein, oils/fats, dairy/alternatives and vegetables to create 1 low GI meal per day. The 3 plan also includes a milk allowance and fruit option.
The plan requires 21 packs a week and a kcal daily intake of 800 -1000.
The 2 plan is recommended for anyone with a BMI of 22+. The 2 plan consists of 2 Ideal Weight nutrition packs and 2 low GI meals per day, which you can create from the relevant meal matrix.
The plan requires 14 packs a week and a kcal daily intake of 1100 - 1300.
If you are at your ideal weight or your BMI is 20+, you may still wish to keep some control over your eating to avoid gaining weight in the future. If so, the 1 plan is a great way to make sure you keep on track even when you have reached your goal weight.
At Ideal Weight, we know that even though it can be hard to lose weight, it is the keeping it off which is the tricky bit. The 1 plan (or maintenance plan) consists of 1 Ideal Weight nutrition pack per day with 3 low GI meals per day, which you can create from the relevant meal matrix.
The plan requires 7 packs per week and a kcal daily intake of 1400 - 1600.
If your BMI is 20+ you may be interested in trying our 5:2 plan. For two non-consecutive days a week, you will fast by eating 4 Ideal Weight nutrition packs and no conventional food. On the other 5 days of the week, you will eat conventional food and no nutrition packs. The 5:2 plan should be treated like any other calorie restricted plan and to achieve results, we insist that even on a day where you are eating conventional meals, you do not eat excessively otherwise you are likely to experience an overall weight gain.
The plan requires 8 packs per week and a kcal daily intake of approx 600 kcal on fast days.
What is BMI and why do you use it as a measure?
The Body Mass Index calculation is a basic and widely accepted way to measure if you're overweight or obese.
Your Body Mass Index is calculated using your height and weight and will give you an estimate of your body fat and help you assess if that could mean you are at risk from any health concerns. Don't worry if you don't know what your BMI is, it is simple to work out using the BMI calculator on our website.
Medical professionals use BMI to assess health risks. For example, the higher your BMI, the higher your risk of certain diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems and some cancers.
We use it to help determine the plan that's most suited to you.
What is the minimum BMI to be able to participate in an Ideal Weight Plan?
If you have a BMI of 18.5 or less, you are not eligible to purchase Ideal Weight nutrition Packs or bars.
Adults with a BMI of 18.5 or less, are considered to be an unhealthy weight according to NICE and the World Health Organisation. Ideal Weight nutrition Packs or bars may not be supplied to anyone with a BMI of 18.5 or less.
Can 16 or 17 year olds participate in an Ideal Weight plan?
Children between the ages of 14 and 18 should be encouraged to follow the healthy eating advice given in the Balance of Good Health (Health Education Authority) and increase their levels of activity. If this is unsuccessful, 16 or 17 year olds are able to join the 3 plan or the 2 plan but we recommend that you gain parental consent first.
Why can't I do the 4 Plan for longer than 8 weeks?
We're proud to help you achieve your ideal weight from both a physical viewpoint and by focusing on your emotional wellbeing. We follow the guidelines laid out by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) around Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCDs). The guidelines say VLCD's may be used for a maximum of 12 weeks continuously or intermittently. As your health is of the utmost importance to us, we've decided to set the Ideal Weight 4 Plan maximum at 8 weeks. The 4 Plan aims to kick start your weight loss journey but it's not a long term solution. To give you the best possible chance to maintain your weight loss, you need to learn how to deal with 'real' food, which is why we advise you to move onto the 3 Plan after 8 weeks. You'll have lost an impressive amount of weight but will also have a more balanced approach to eating.
What is a very low calorie diet? (VLCD)
A Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) or Low Calorie Diet (LCD) consists of food designed to give you all the vitamins, nutrients, trace elements, protein and essential fats your body needs to be healthy. This means you're getting at least 100% of the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) and between 400 and 800kcal per day.
If you're eating conventional meals, the recommended number of calories is around 2,000 for women, and 2,500 for men. Ideal Weight products contain about 600 to 1100kcal per day (depending on whether you have 2, 3 or 4 nutrition packs). The limited number of calories in a (V)LCD forces your body to turn to its store of fat for extra energy. This fat burning, which is a natural process, enables you to lose weight quickly, simply and safely.
A (V)LCD is not a fad or diet craze. They've been used in the UK for more than 30 years, and there's been a great deal of medical research into the safety and effectiveness of their use.
Ideal Weight encourages our members to combine the use of nutrition packs as an effective weight loss tool, along with healthy food from a list of low GI foods.
What foods can I eat when I'm on the 3 Plan, 2 Plan or 1 Plan?
Your meals will follow a flexible structure. We've worked with a leading nutritionist to create an easy-to-use meal matrix that will help you make the right food choices. By following our meal matrix you will be able to create health, well balanced and delicious meals at home. We've also made sure that all your meals are easy to put together, high in protein and have a low GI; everything you need to help you reach and maintain your ideal weight. You also have an optional daily fruit range to choose from.
What are low GI foods?
GI stands for Glycemic Index and is a measure of the impact of certain conventional foods on your blood sugar. By eating meals that have a low GI you will feel less hungry and your desire to snack or over eat should be greatly reduced, helping control your weight.
What support does an Ideal Weight coach give?
Our Ideal Weight coaches and the support they give are what sets us apart from other weight loss plans. Your Ideal Weight coach supports you every step of the way to make sure you reach your ideal weight. They do this by helping you to identify your behaviours around food and give you strategies to help you change any unhelpful ones. For more information on our coaches please click here.
I don't want to attend the coaching, I just want to buy nutrition packs
I don't want to buy the nutrition packs, I just want to attend the coaching sessions
We understand that there may be another programme you are following which is working for you and you may not want to change your current eating plan and that's fine. However, we know that what you are eating is actually only part of the issue. You also need to change the way you think about it if you want to learn how to keep the weight off for good. We welcome anyone to our coaching who would like to benefit from working with a professionally trained coach to learn new skills for life.
What happens in a coaching session?
During weekly sessions, our coaches help you think and feel differently about yourself and your relationship with food. They'll also help you understand why you've put weight on in the past. Most importantly your coach will give you a whole host of tools to empower you to lose weight and then manage your ideal weight. Each week you will get weighed and have your BMI checked. After this there will be a quick check-in with any insights from the previous week that anybody wants to share. This gives you a great opportunity to share your highs and lows from the week with others in the same boat. It also enables you to offer motivation to other members if they have had a hard week and congratulate them when they meet their targets. During a coaching session, you will work through a structured coaching activity which focuses on coping mechanisms and skills that are not just a useful key to losing weight and keeping it off but are transferable to all aspects of life.
What is the benefit of the coaching?
If you haven't changed the way you think about food whilst following a weight loss programme, there's a very high chance you will end up returning to old eating habits which results in the old weight coming back. This is why coaching is so important. On-going successful weight-management requires a long-term change to eating behaviours.
At Ideal Weight, we understand why people gain weight, so our coaches work with you to alter the way you think about food by supporting you through proven coaching techniques. Our highly trained coaches help you to create a new relationship with food so that you can break the pattern of yo-yo dieting. They will support you during your weight loss journey and help you focus on the changes you need to make on a day to day basis to help you manage your weight long term.
Do I have to consume all the nutrition packs?
Yes – this is really important. The nutrition packs are carefully formulated to help you get all the vitamins and minerals you need in a day to stay healthy. We've worked closely with qualified nutritionists to make sure that the meals you have (if you're following The 3 Plan or The 2 Plan) contain exactly the right balance for your body's needs. If you miss taking a nutrition pack, it won't help you lose weight more quickly. In reality this could actually hamper your success.
When should I eat the nutrition packs?
It's up to you. There are no hard and fast rules around this. We recommend that you space them out regularly throughout the day. However, we also appreciate that your lifestyle may mean it's difficult for you to eat regularly every 3 hours, especially if you work shifts or unsociable hours. If you're also having coaching then we'll be working with you to form positive habits for the future so we recommend that you plan time aside to have your nutrition packs. This will help you when you start to reduce the number of nutrition packs you're eating and begin to plan conventional meals.
What are the side effects?
You may suffer temporary side effects while on a VLCD. These are normal and will disappear when they return to conventional food. Most side effects are experienced in the first few days – carbohydrate and caffeine withdrawal for example. Simple pain killers and drinking extra water will help.
Some people experience feelings of nausea or an upset tummy as they're not used to the high level of vitamins and minerals they're now consuming. Again, drinking a glass of water, while you're having a nutrition pack may help as you get used to them.
You may get bad breath and a metallic taste in your mouth as a result of fat burning (ketosis). Staying hydrated, and brushing your teeth more often, will help as will mouth wash or sugar free breath fresheners.
Some people report feeling cold or having cold hands or feet. This is a natural side effect while you're in ketosis and is temporary. Wearing socks at night or gloves during the day will help.
Constipation is a common symptom of VLCDs. This happens because you've changed the way you're eating, which can result in a feeling that you need to 'go' less often. If you're constipated for more than a few days seek advice from your GP, however in most cases staying hydrated will help you avoid this condition.
Leg cramps can occur while on the 4 plan, particularly in the first few weeks when the diuretic phase is kicking in. The muscle spasms result from changes in your sodium levels as water shifts between cells. Staying hydrated will help, as will adding a little salt to soup nutrition packs.
Hair shedding can be a natural result of weight loss for some people who've been on a VLCD for a period of time. However as the maximum length of time somebody can stay on the 4 plan is only 8 weeks, the effect of hair shedding is minimal. When the hair does re-grow it's usually healthier and thicker than before.
Are your products suitable for vegetarians?
Yes, all of Ideal Weight's nutrition packs are suitable for vegetarians.
How do I mix the packs?
Always read the instructions on the back of each pack carefully as some mixing instructions will differ. You'll need to consume your pack within 15 minutes of mixing, before the nutrients start to break down.
Make sure you've got all the packs you'll need every day. Each pack gives you 25% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamins and minerals, so it's really important you don't miss any.
Don't use the shaker for hot drinks or soups as hot water can cause it to explode. Follow the instructions on the back of the pack.
I'm lactose intolerant, can I use your nutrition packs?
No. Ideal Weight nutrition packs aren't suitable for people who are lactose intolerant.
What allergens are in Ideal Weight products?
How much water should I drink?
A vital part of all our plans is making sure you drink enough fluids. Often people confuse thirst with hunger and will eat rather than giving the body what it really needs, which is fluid. Lack of fluid can cause problems like headaches, tiredness and fatigue, lack of concentration, irritability, constipation and urinary tract infections. So, you'll need to drink at least 2 litres each day to make sure your body is getting enough.
What can I drink?
• Water, either still or sparkling
• Ideal Weight Water flavourings
• Milk for use in teas and coffees (200ml semi skimmed milk or 300 ml skimmed milk)
• Tea and Coffee (any type)
Can I exercise?
If you're unused to exercising, starting a strenuous exercise programme as you start the Ideal Weight Plan is not advisable. If you're already following a vigorous exercise programme you can continue to exercise but slow down for the first couple of weeks of your plan. It can take a couple of weeks for you to get used to your new regime, so it's important to listen to your body. If you feel as though you're adapting well to your new eating plan you can begin to exercise more strenuously.
Taking regular exercise is an excellent habit to get into once you start to lose weight. But if you're new to exercising seek the advice of your GP, or staff at your local gym. Walking and swimming are excellent ways to exercise but start slowly and don't overdo it.
Make sure you drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Once the body is geared up to getting its energy from fat, most people report that they have a surge of energy and WANT to exercise.
I have diabetes and my condition is controlled by my diet. Do I need to be monitored?
Yes. Nobody with diabetes should attempt to lose weight without being supervised by his or her doctor. You'll need to consult your GP before starting any plan. If you are have Type 1 Diabetes then you are not able to participate in our plans.
Will losing weight on The 4 Plan damage my metabolic rate?
The major determinants of metabolic rate are the weight and amount of lean (muscle) tissue in the body. The human body evolved to be super efficient at conserving energy. When the amount of energy you get from food goes down the body adapts by reducing heat and energy loss – causing your metabolic rate to drop. After weight loss and the resulting lower energy needs, your metabolic rate should stabilise at a level appropriate for the new weight and amount of lean tissue.
Do I need to take supplements while on the Ideal Weight Plan?
All our nutrition packs provide you with a quarter of the recommended daily allowances of all vitamins, minerals and trace elements, so there's no need to take any further supplements. If you are being prescribed supplements by your GP, please consult with them before you start the plan.
I've been told that if I lose weight quickly I'll put it all back on again. Is this true?
Weight loss isn't a magic pill. You can lose the weight and feel fantastic but sadly all too often the weight goes back on. This is nothing to do with which weight loss plan you've followed but more about the fact that you haven't changed your unhelpful habits around food. So, if over time you go back to your old ways of eating, you run the risk of putting the weight back on. This is where our coaching is key. If you opt for weekly coaching, we'll work with you to plan for the future. We'll also help you put strategies in place to help you face difficult situations in a more positive way. As a result you're more likely to maintain your ideal weight.
How do I maintain my Ideal Weight?
If you reach your ideal weight but then go back to all your old habits and patterns of behaviour, you'll eventually end up the same pre-weight loss size. This is where the weekly ideal weight coaching sessions will help you. All the new skills and insights you've learned about yourself on the weight-loss part of your journey will be put into practice while your coach continues to support you, seeing you weekly throughout this crucial time to help you maintain your ideal weight. Our 1 Plan and Maintenance plans can help you stay on track once you have reached your goal. We have lots of members who still choose to continue using our nutrition packs on an on-going basis.
I have a holiday planned. Will I be able to eat 'normally'?
We've created five weight loss plans to fit around your lifestyle. This means that whatever situation you're in, there'll be a plan that suits you. If you're concerned about an impending social event or holiday, there are many support tools provided by Ideal Weight to guide you through. Our 2 Plan is ideally suited to anyone going on holiday. It means you can stay focused on your goals by having two nutrition packs per day and you'll also be able to eat two meals per day from our 'meal matrix'. The coaching sessions will also help you reassess your view of what 'normal' eating actually is as many overweight people often have a skewed view of this.
Will I have excess skin after I've lost the weight?
No. Not everyone will. If you need to lose a lot of weight (6st or more) you may have loose or excess skin once you've reached a normal, healthy weight.
The condition and elasticity of your skin before and during your weight loss, determines how much, if any, loose skin you're left with. Your chances of having excess skin is significantly affected by how much weight you have to lose.
The older you are when you lose weight, the less likely your skin will 'snap back' to its original shape. This is because your skin naturally becomes less elastic as it ages.
The length of time you've been overweight or obese can also have a bearing on your skin's ability to rebound. The less time you've spent overweight, the more likely it is that your skin will return to normal.
Drinking plenty of water can really help with the skin's elasticity. You can also reduce loose skin by adding the right kind of exercise to your fitness routine, which will help you feel confident in your body.
Will the weight loss effect my menstrual cycle?
Some key female hormones are found in the fat between the waist and knees. When you're losing weight the balance of these hormones can be affected. The vast majority of women don't report any changes, however some women find that their periods are heavier, some say theirs are lighter, some are more frequent and for some their periods stop altogether. Any changes are temporary and periods return to normal once you reach your ideal weight.
How long will it take for my order to be delivered?
Your order will be delivered NEXT WORKING DAY by courier when your order is placed before 12 midday (2 days to Argyll and Bute)
Can I amend my order?
Once your order has been dispatched, it is not possible to amend the order.
Where does Ideal Weight deliver to?
Ideal Weight deliver to all mainland UK addresses. There may be an extra charge for the following postal areas TWO DAY POSTCODES DPD. You will be notified of this before your order is dispatched. You will have the option to pay the excess delivery fee or we can refund your order.
What do I do if I have not received my order?
What happens if I am not at home to accept my delivery?
When you place your order, you are able to choose a delivery address which is convenient for you. You will be sent a text message prior to the order arriving which will give you an option to rearrange the delivery for a different day. If you leave a note for the driver, such as 'leave by gate', 'by the bin', or 'in greenhouse', this is fine but if the parcel is stolen or goes missing, this is not our responsibility.
How do I track my order after it has been dispatched?
Our delivery partner is Interlink/DPD/Hermes. Once your order has been placed you will be sent a confirmation and you will issued with a tracking number. Please note that once your order has left our distribution unit, it is your responsibility to track it.
How do I return or exchange an item?
If you want to return your order you must cancel the order prior to it being dispatched. If it has left the Ideal Weight Distribution centre it cannot be cancelled.
Ideal Weight products are a food item and thus our products are non-refundable unless there are exceptional circumstances. Any postage charges incurred when returning products to Ideal Weight must be paid by you. If we resend items, Ideal Weight will pay the postage. Any returns must be notified within two days of receipt of delivery.
What should I do if my order is wrong?
Our orders are picked and packed by hand and therefore very occasionally it is possible that a mistake may happen. We will always ensure that we rectify any mistakes quickly. Please contact us with your order number and we will investigate further.
How do I contact your Head Office?