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The remission weight loss programme

Smiling woman pours a pink coloured shake into a glass

One of the biggest research studies into type 2 remission showed that a low-calorie weight management approach offers most people living with type 2 diabetes the best chance putting their diabetes into remission. 

This low-calorie weight management approach is more than just a diet. The programme is specifically designed to help people put their blood sugar levels into a non-diabetes range long-term, without the need for diabetes medication.

A team of specialists support you to lose weight quickly and safely through a low-calorie diet and then help you to maintain the weight loss. They’ll give you personalised advice on food, physical activity, and wellbeing. And you’ll learn what the best way is to eat and move for you, to help put your type 2 remission for as long as possible. 

Where to find a type 2 remission weight management programme

In some areas of the UK, the NHS offers remission weight loss programmes to help more people with type 2 go into remission.

The programme is not offered everywhere though so check our support for remission information to find you what support is available where you live.

The three steps of the remission weight management programme

The remission weight management programme is a 12-month long programme made up of three steps. You get specialist support from a healthcare team every step of the way. This team can include GPs, diabetes specialists, dietitians, health psychologists, and exercise specialists.  

Step 1: Replace all food with soups and shakes 

For the first 12 weeks you will replace all meals with low-calorie soups and shakes. This is called a total diet replacement plan. You replace all your ordinary meals with total diet replacement products, including soups and shakes. The soups and shakes will make up around 800-900 calories a day and provide all the nutrients your body needs.  

Step 2: Reintroduce healthy meals of around 1200 calories a day. 

After the 12 weeks ‘soups and shakes’, you’ll slowly reintroduce nutritious food into your diet. This step lasts around 6 weeks. Your healthcare team will give you personalised advice and meal plans to ensure your diet is healthy, well balanced and supports your weight loss journey. You’ll also be supported to increase your physical activity levels, to help improve your all-round health. 

Step 3: Weight Maintenance 

By this stage of the programme, many people have found they have lost weight and are already seeing benefits. People tell us they have more energy and find it easier to move around, whether that’s going up the stairs or when exercising. The next step is to keep off the weight you’ve lost during the programme. You’ll learn more about building activity into your lifestyle, how to get a good night’s sleep, how to deal with stress, how to build positive habits, and what to do if you find you are regaining the weight you have lost. 

“I think being part of the programme and in a team environment was really worked really well for me. I’ve been in remission since the programme ended in 2022.

Losing all that weight and being in remission is great and I can only describe my initial feelings as a positive regret that I didn’t address my weight years ago.”

Read more about Peter's experience of a remission weight-loss programme 

Is a remission weight management programme right for me?

There are certain criteria that you need to meet to be eligible for a remission weight-loss programme. This criteria includes: 

  • where you live. Not all health boards or trusts offer a remission programme. 
  • your current weight and BMI.
  • your age. Most programmes are open to 18-65 year olds. 

There are some health conditions which mean it’s not safe for you to try the programme too.

Your GP will be able to give you more information on this but some of the conditions include:

  • if you are using insulin
  • if you have cancer which is being treated
  • if you have had a heart attack or stroke in last six months
  • if you have severe heart failure or kidney problems
  • if you have an active eating disorder
  • if you have known retinopathy – a form of diabetes related-eye disease – that is not being treated.


Doing a total diet replacement can be really challenging for some people. You may find that you feel hungry at the start of the 12 weeks programme. This often goes away after a few days but does take some getting used to.

People sometimes find it difficult to replace meals with soups and shakes when they’re around friends and family who are eating. They feel like this affects their enjoyment of meal times or makes socialising hard. Others have told us that having the soups and shakes ready-made and not having to think about what to eat is really helpful.

For many people, it’s maintaining the weight loss that is the hardest part of the programme. Developing healthy habits around food and physical activity so you don’t put the weight back on and come out of remission means making lifelong changes.

You’ll be supported to do this in the third step of the programme but carrying it on after the programme has finished can take a lot of effort so having ongoing support can be really important here. This support could be from a healthcare professional, your friends and family, or support from others with experience of remission. Our online remission forum can be a great place find support.

Where can I find more information?

  • We have information on the remission programmes available in each of the nations of the UK on our type 2 remission support page. 
  • Your GP or healthcare team should be able to tell you if there are programmes available in your local area. They'll be able to discuss your individual circumstances and the options open to you too. 
  • Some people find it hard to access a remission weight programme or just want to try losing weight themselves. So, meal replacements products available in supermarkets and pharmacies are an option if your healthcare team agree that it's safe for you to try. A general low-calorie diet might suit you too. But is it incredibly important you speak to your GP or diabetes team first for advice and information on what is most suitable and safe for you. 
  • For support and guidance from other people with experience of type 2 remission, visit the remission board on our online forum
Next Review Date
Content last reviewed
29 January 2024
Next review due
29 January 2027
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