With a survey finding that the average Briton will embark upon and abandon 189 diets in their lifetime*, achieving sustainable and long-term weight loss can seem like an impossible task.
There is conflicting guidance regarding nutrition, exercise and metabolism, and an array of eating plans that aren’t sustainable long-term, leaving the individual trapped in a never-ending cycle without results.
But if you’ve been unsuccessful in losing weight through lifestyle changes alone, a pioneering new programme could offer the solution. Juniper is not a crash diet, detox or workout plan, but a new model for lasting weight loss designed by doctors and dietitians with long-term, sustainable success as the goal.
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Juniper’s primary treatment is the Weight Reset Programme, available to those with a BMI over 30 or over 27 with an associated medical condition. It includes consultations with doctors who will prescribe suitable medication with ongoing support, follow-up sessions and nurturing expertise from health coaches and dietitians.
We spoke to Doctor Sohere Roked, a General Practitioner with a specialist interest in integrative medicine to bust common diet myths and discover more about the treatment…
What are the most common reasons people abandon a diet or fail to lose weight on one?
“People don’t abandon diets, diets fail people. The reason diets don’t work is that they are quick fixes. On a reduced calorie diet your body will lower its basal metabolic rate to keep energy stores, which makes it harder to lose weight long term.
“A strict diet is not tailored to the individual and rarely accounts for the reality of life, which includes working, travelling, raising children and natural changes in your body and hormones as you age.
“There’s a lot of misinformation about diets and they can be extremely hard to adhere to. When you diet, the hunger you feel when isn’t an indication that you’re lacking willpower – it’s a biological signal that makes it very difficult for you to stick to your diet in the long term.”
Do you agree that weight loss is best achieved through a ratio of 80% diet and 20% exercise?
“When you lose weight, you begin by losing fat. But when you have less fat, you burn fewer calories: it’s a vicious cycle. A healthy diet and moderate exercise are great tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but diet and exercise alone is rarely enough for people trying to lose weight.
“Your ability to lose weight is more accurately determined by biological factors like your resting metabolism, which can’t be reset through diet and exercise. It’s not just calories in: calories out. 100% of your calories taken in is based on what you eat, while exercise only accounts for around 10% of calories out. The 80:20 theory excludes the biggest piece of the weight loss puzzle: your biology.”
What are the medically-proven ways to reset or regulate your metabolism?
“Research suggests that every body has a weight range that it is genetically predisposed to maintain. This natural weight range is your “set point”. In set point theory, our bodies will try to defend us from losing weight in an attempt to protect us from starvation.
“Your body will work to keep your weight at its higher set point. For people living with obesity, it does not just affect weight: it changes the way your body functions, how you metabolise food, and your hormonal functions.
“Medication like semaglutide (under brand names Wegovy and Ozempic) can help to reset your metabolism. These medications mimic the hormone produced by your digestive system in response to eating food and act on both the brain and the digestive system to regulate how full you feel after a meal.
“Medication can also regulate insulin secretion in response to eating meals so that your blood sugar is better controlled, reducing your appetite by signalling to your brain that you’ve eaten a meal. It acts like a natural hormone to make you feel fuller for longer and reduces your cravings for more food. Enhancing the way your body regulates blood sugar levels and the storage of fat can help patients lose weight.”
Which patients would fit the criteria for Juniper treatments?
“For the Weight Reset Programme, a key criterion would be patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more (classed as clinically obese); or 27 or more (significantly overweight) with a medical condition that is often caused, or made worse, by excess body weight.
“At Juniper, your prescriber assesses your eligibility in consultations, so medical history, lifestyle and any contraindications are also considered.”
Which long-term measures or habits would a patient need to maintain once finishing Juniper’s Weight Reset treatment?
“Beyond a maximum two years on the programme, research suggests that tailored diet and exercise plans including meal replacement shakes, as well as behavioural and psychological techniques will improve weight-loss maintenance. One study found that health coaching obese adults improved weight loss by 13.2% (a 15.7% loss with health coaching versus a 2.5% loss in controls**).”
How do you find the support and guidance of Juniper dieticians and coaches bolsters the chance of successful weight loss?
“Juniper is more than just medication in a box – you get one-on-one support from a dedicated health coach who is an accredited practising dietitian. They will develop your personalised health plan to support you to implement behavioural changes that are sustainable and suit your lifestyle.”
Patients can also benefit from community-based support in a supportive, judgement-free environment, and be able to track their progress and stay accountable via the handy Juniper app.
The Weight Reset Programme starts at £195 a month, with patients typically losing up to 15% of their body weight in a year, with almost 80% saying it is more effective than any other weight loss method they have tried before.**
*Study of 2,000 Britons commissioned by The Laughing Cow in 2018. **As per Sage Journals: The impact of health coaching on weight and physical activity in obese adults: a randomized control trial. ***Lifestyle survey of 215 current patients, undertaken by Juniper in February 2023.