Shape-Up Workbook

Shape-Up is a self-help weight management programme.

The Shape-Up workbook was written by psychologists, dietitians and physical activity experts to provide individuals with the information and skills they need to make long term changes to their eating and activity behaviours.

Click the section title for more information.

This section aims to:

  • give an introduction to weight problems
  • outline the Shape-Up approach, and
  • help you to plan carefully the changes you want to make.

It will help you to:

  • examine your level of motivation
  • consider the difficulties you may have in making changes
  • set the stage for the rest of the programme, and
  • learn some new skills that will enable you to manage your eating and activity better.

The section is divided into three parts:

  1. WEIGHT CONCERN talks about why overweight is so common in the UK and how it can affect health. It also explains how to check whether you're overweight.
  2. THE SHAPE-UP APPROACH TO WEIGHT MANAGEMENT explains how knowledge, skills and motivation to change will help you to make permanent changes to your eating and activity habits.
  3. PAVING THE WAY describes a way to help you analyse your eating and physical activity problems, and teaches you some useful skills including self-monitoring (keeping a careful record of what you do), setting realistic goals and rewarding yourself for your achievements.

This section aims to:

  • offer you the current scientific information about food and nutrition, and
  • guide you through a 3-step plan that will help you control your weight.

The section will help you to:

  • increase your understanding of the link between nutrition, health and weight
  • keep to a regular eating pattern
  • get a healthier balance of foods
  • gradually adjust the quality of food you eat

The section takes you through the three steps of changing your eating. It's important to work through these steps in this order:

Step 1 is about getting into a regular eating pattern.

Step 2 is about getting a healthier balance.

Step 3 helps you to maintain your motivation and, if you do lapse, to learn from your lapses. Only when you get to Step 3 do you start thinking about cutting down on the quantity of food that you eat.

This section aims to:

  • increase your knowledge about physical activity and how it relates to your weight and your overall health
  • help you decide what kind of activity is the most appropriate for you, and
  • help you to get started, and to keep going.

The section is divided into three parts:

  1. PREPARING YOURSELF FOR GETTING MORE ACTIVE looks at all the reasons for becoming more physically active.
  2. THE SHAPE-UP ACTIVITY PLAN takes you through three steps to build up to a more active lifestyle.

    Step 1 is about reducing the amount of time you spend sitting down.
    Step 2 is about increasing lifestyle activity.
    Step 3 is about doing more organised activity and sports.

    The section also talks through safety tips and setting some personal goals.

This section aims to:

  • help you put into practice your knowledge of eating well.

It will help you to:

  • look at your shopping pattern
  • read food labels more critically
  • choose healthier snacks
  • make healthier meals and packed lunches
  • make the most of eating out and social occasions.

The section is divided into four parts:

  1. SHOPPING gives you some tips for when you're shopping for food.
  2. LABELS explains what the nutritional labels mean and how to make good use of them. It also explains what nutritional claims such as 'low in cholesterol' or 'low calorie' really mean.
  3. MAKING HEALTHIER MEALS AND PACKED LUNCHES gives you some guidelines on how to adapt the meals you prepare yourself, to give them a healthier balance.
  4. EATING OUT AND TAKEAWAYS offers some advice on choosing where to go and what to have from the menu. It also gives some specific ideas for choosing the healthiest options.

This section aims to:

provide you with information and advice to help you keep going with the changes you have made to your lifestyle.

It will help you to:

  • understand and deal with the different sorts of 'triggers' for unhealthy behaviour
  • think your way out of difficult situations
  • practise 'damage limitation' during the tempting times and
  • turn your lifestyle changes into long-term healthy habits

The section is divided into five parts:

  1. DEALING WITH EXTERNAL TRIGGERS talks about how to resist things like the sight and smell of tempting but unhealthy food
  2. DEALING WITH INTERNAL TRIGGERS suggests how to combat hunger, cravings and unhelpful thoughts
  3. LAPSES AND RELAPSES looks at how to manage times when you stray away from your healthy eating or activity plan
  4. PLANNING shows how being prepared can help you succeed
  5. GETTING SUPPORT FROM OTHERS suggests ways you can try to ensure your family, friends and health professionals are as supportive as possible.

How to use the Shape-Up Workbook

We recommend that everyone should work through Sections 1, 2 and 3. It is best to start with Section 1 as this will help you with all the other sections too. It is up to you how long you spend on each one but you might want to aim to get through your sections within about 20 weeks. This is the time you'll need to learn the new skills. After that you will need to carry on applying those skills.

The Shape-Up workbook costs £16.99. Click here to order your copy.

Important Information

To check whether the Shape-Up programme is suitable for you, please click here.

2016 Edition of the Shape-Up Manual

Occasionally the material in Shape-Up is updated to reflect changes in nutrition or physical activity guidance. It was last updated in October 2016. The following changes were made: nutritional guidance was updated in line with the new Eatwell Guide; the alcohol guidance was updated; the guidance regarding fish consumption was updated; the information regarding interpreting claims on food labels was updated.

Shape-Up Programme

For more information about the Shape-Up programme, click here.

Download extra Shape-Up diaries, goalsheets and weight record sheets here