Advice for a newbie please

Hi all, sorry if this has been asked before but looking for some help and advice, I also apologise for the lengthy story so will understand if people “TLDR” me.

Last night I finally came to the realisation I’m not happy with my body and I want to change this. Me and my wife are expecting a baby in November and we currently have a 12 year old and 5 year old.

I’m looking into losing some weight and found this website through Google, been reading the forums and reviews and although it seems like an amazing product I want to make sure it will help me.

Exercise (running, jogging,press ups, sit-ups etc) is hard for me as I’ve had operations on my back and knees, I have a broken collarbone and floating kneecaps but I am buying an exercise bike as that isn’t too straining on my aforementioned operated areas.

After doing calculations online, in order to lose 0.5kg a week I need to drop down to 1600 calories a day, I struggle with eating a lot of junk at work and evenings, have not had breakfast since I was 14/15 and it’s now got to a stage I am close to depression with my body image.

I have decided to set goals of cutting down and then stop smoking, take less lunch to work, leave my wallet at home to stop buying extra food, stop drinking relentless and cut down dinner sizes and stop evening snacks of crisps and biscuits, along with aiming to do 45 minutes of walking with my dog every day after work until I get my exercise bike, which I am then aiming to fit in hopefully before work.

I want to do this all because I am overweight and struggle to do activities with my children for too long, because I get out of breath quickly and it’s clear to me it is not all down to having had the surgeries that have not helped.

Would I see a benefit with using Huel as my breakfast meal on my commute to work, along with changes to my eating habits and exercise that has been lacking severely since my last operation in 2018. I am only 30 and I want my children to be able to do things with me, instead of me worrying I am letting them down by my current state.

I am open to any advice, tips and criticisms you all may have (hopefully some of you made it this far) as I am a complete beginner to healthy eating and looking after myself, but as I said I don’t want to be an embarrassment to my children whilst I still have the time to change this.

Thank you all in advance and again I am sorry for the essay.


You’re in the right place :wave:

I do no exercise, I’m 65 now and this is how Huel helped me:

I’m stable at 75kg now.

Start slowly with Huel to get used to it by replacing one meal at first - breakfast was easiest for me. Then maybe after a week try upping it to two.

I started with one bag of Unflavoured / Unsweetened (U/U) and one bag of Vanilla. This allowed me to add any flavours to the U/U - frozen fruits worked well as did coffee. I even used Baileys at Christmas :christmas_tree:

I bought a NutriBullet Ninja for the mixing - got mine off eBay. Thought if I’d spent money on it I’d have to persevere with Huel. :wink:

Made mine the night before and kept it in the fridge. Made breakfast easier as I didn’t have to do anything except drink, wash, and go.

These are some of the things I’ve put in U/U:
:green_apple::apple::banana::strawberry::cherries::pineapple::coconut::pie: (mince pie at Xmas) :chocolate_bar::honey_pot: (Black Forest gateaux- frozen dark cherries, chocolate and a drizzle of honey) :chestnut::peanuts::milk_glass:(you can make it with milk as well as water) :coffee:

TLDR Hope this is enough to get you started!


Sounds good to me Norton. Having Huel for breakfast depends on what you’re breakfast was before.If it was a shop bought pastry, for example, then you’re on the right track. Remember a calorie calculator is just a guide so tracing your progress is the best way to allow you to make any tweaks to your diet.

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I don’t eat breakfast currently, think that’s been adding to the problem as I’d rather stay in bed 20 minutes longer. Something needs to change and it’s only me that can do it, instead of using my knees, back etc as excuses I need to work around them and do things I can (exercise bike isn’t stressful on the knees).

I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work, and some days I will want to quit but my children deserve the best version of me and so does my wife.

Would adding this in as my breakfast (replacing a cup of tea on my morning commute) with a smaller portion for lunch and dinner, along with exercise and tracking as you say help start getting the weight off? I don’t want to be a ripped gym but, but I need to lose 3 stone ideally

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I can’t overstate how fundamental a change having a huel shake in the morning is going to be for you.

Mix it the night before, pop it in the fridge and pick it up on your way out and drink during your commute.

You then won’t be starving come 10am, will snack less, and end up making better food choices. It’s going to be massive for you.

Dude you’ve got to kick the smoking in as well - now. Get a vape instead, it’s an easy switch and totally life changing. You’ll be able to taste your food again and won’t smell of smoke.


Yeap that will work! As you lose weight you will need to reduce your calorie intake again to continue to lose weight. Also watch out as nicotine suppresses appetite so you may gain weight when you quit smoking.

Check out the Huel bars, they may work as a substitute for your none existent breakfast.

Honestly I will take anything that will work! It’s my fault I’ve ended up like this (doesn’t help with covid severely cutting down my walking at work) and just had enough of it. Moving house this weekend so Monday morning my order will be going in and I’ll be starting on the long road to look a lot less like Mr Bobby before my daughter arrives in November.

Thank you everybody for replying, I’m honestly a complete amateur with healthy eating, food substitutes etc and was prepared for a roasting for getting this bad before finally seeing sense


Booze and fags need to go. No ifs, no buts ( should be butts when talking about cigs!)

Take a look at the calories in alcohol just for a start. If you want to kick start your healthy living you absolutely must consider vaping. Nothing is risk free but it’s a fair assumption that using a vape is going to be much better for you. If you want to completely eliminate nicotine from your body this also represents a quick win because you can start off at the high levels of nicotine and then lower the %s every few weeks and gradually control it in a way that you can’t with cigs.

It’s a completely different topic but one with which I am incredibly familiar, I have been deeply involved with this industry for a very long time so feel free to message me directly and I can give you some pointers as to how to get started.

In terms of exercise, I think given your medical history, especially around your back, I would strongly recommend you speak to a qualified post operative physiotherapist about where to get started to rebuild your core muscles. Your GP can probably refer you, although there is often a waiting list but at least get on that list in the meantime!

As far as Huel and weight loss goes, it definitely can be used for that and is really conveniently parcelled from the perspective of calories. As you don’t eat breakfast ordinarily anyway, you might want to consider intermittent fasting. I’m not 100% confident in all of the benefits but having a specific “eating window” works really well for me in cutting out the snacks.

I eat only between 12:30pm and 7:30pm. I put my huel or other calories only within that window, if it’s too late at night, I just can’t eat it so it works as a really good psychological aid for me as well as being very useful for getting a better night of sleep.

Unlike many who balance it, I’m only using huel for my nutrients at present, unless I’m having a new out with a friend or something - and I just started dating someone new so that is happening a bit more than it used to! But when I’m at home alone I stick to the huel, because a bit like Apple, it just works.

Quit the fags, cut out then booze for a bit and start taking small steps with a few other things and you’ll be fine. Remember it has to be sustainable for you in order to succeed so if you mess up, shrug and move on, back to normal the next day. Weight loss is like 80% diet, 5% exercise and 15% power of will. I’ve lost over two stone and still going, Huel just works so well for me. Now, to buy shares in it…! :joy:

You can do this, keep us informed!


Another thing with vaping is the flavours. I had a really sweet tooth in the past but now barely touch any junk food. Instead of vape dessert flavours.

Hello! I’ll chime in with quite a lot on this as there’s a lot of crossover with myself. In January I was over 20 Stone, smoked heavily and didn’t take any exercise at all. I’ve personally done all of the below this year:

  1. Download the NHS SmokeFree app and fully commit to the 30 day program. I promise you when you’ve done that you won’t want to smoke a cigarette again. If you struggle with willpower alone a vape (shouldn’t cost more than £20) is probably* much better than relapsing to tobacco but remember they’re still really not good for you.

  2. Use an app such as MyFitnessPal or FitBit (both free) to track everything you eat (as accurately as possible). I used the FitBit app and tracked everything for three months. Yes, this was arduous but I don’t even need to do it anymore as I’ve taught myself to eat properly.

  3. Yes, you have some existing challenges but seriously - Stop making excuses for not exercising. Make a sensible plan and stick to it. Whatever works for your situation (there will be something). For example, you mention that the pandemic didn’t help because you lost your walk to work but what stopped you walking the same distance just around the block? Resistance bands (c. £20) might help if you can’t do body weight strength training. There are Men and Women in Headley Court with life changing injuries and missing limbs etc who keep themselves in shape so there’s no excuse for any of us - it’s just about finding what you can do and sticking to it. I’ve gone from nothing to running 5-6km 4 time’s a week and believe me, if my lazy ass can do that anybody can do something similar.

  4. Track your progress. I bought a set of scales (£15) and a tape measure (£6) to do this. Weigh yourself every week and record the result, measure yourself every four weeks and keep a track. I had a note on my phone that was just a weekly log of all these numbers along with what went well and what failed over the week - might help.

Important to note - Huel (whilst fantastic) is ‘just’ food. If you don’t make significant and lasting changes to your lifestyle it won’t miraculously change your life.

Sorry if I sound a bit blunt in the above but I wanted to keep it very factual based on my own experiences. This isn’t really about me but, for the record, to date I’ve lost more than 30kg, haven’t touched a cigarette since February and every conceivable health metric (that I’m aware of) has improved.


In case it’s useful, when I gave up smoking 16 years ago I did it with the nicotine tablets that you slowly dissolve in your mouth. Two reasons I’d recommend this over switching to a vape. Firstly I found it reduced snacking as the whole time you have a nicotine tablet in your mouth you aren’t eating and the small dose of nicotine which you gradually reduce helps with appetite suppression. Secondly, vaping is a lot more antisocial. It’s pretty grim walking behind someone to suddenly be hit by a cloud of vapour. The volume seems to be higher than someone smoking and some of the flavours are pretty strong.

A couple of other things to add. There still isn’t much evidence on the safety or long term effects of vaping, so I’d be wary there. Plus in terms of physical habit it’s still very similar to smoking so doesn’t break the physical habit of holding and smoking a cigarette. Makes it far easier to relapse and cadge a cigarette off a friend.

I’d also suggest looking at your trigger times for smoking, by which I mean the times you spark up without even thinking about it. For me it was the cigarettes after meals and the one with a coffee first thing in the morning. If you are struggling with going cold turkey some people find gradually cutting out the habit by cutting one trigger cigarette at a time can help. So maybe start by not having one after dinner for example.

Best of luck. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it. I went from 20 a day and I can’t imagine wanting to smoke at all now.

After a few abortive attempts I quit smoking 20 years ago. Gradually cut down in stages, then cold turkey. Wasn’t easy but determination finally got me through. No way would I ever smoke again. Vaping seems to me to be swapping one antisocial habit for another, so why not just quit? Good luck with everything @ItsNorton. You can do this :+1:

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I was heavily involved in vaping during its initial niche take-up through to mainstream acceptance and all of the science points to it being at least 95% safer than smoking. It’s been around heavily for ten years and there’s no peer reviewed science suggesting any problems. Quite the opposite. The best and most accurate comparison is with caffeine and you do yourself more damage just breathing whilst outside than whilst vaping.

All of the components of a vape have been used in different scenarios for decades and similarly have no issues around inhalation except with a few ingredients that aren’t used in any products.

I do agree Liath about inconsiderate use, but some people are just arseholes. Better to get a smell of cake in the street than a cigarette, fart, or overpowering perfume, no?

Anyway, off topic a bit. OP needs to quit smoking.

I used vaping to quit smoking. I intended to use it as my primary nicotine delivery system, but it was so much shitter than smoking that I just quit altogether a few weeks later.

I’m sure @Tristan could point me in the direction of some nice vape liquid, but the stuff I had was bollocks and I couldn’t be arsed to try others.

There seem to be some recent studies published late 2019 that indicate increased risks of respiratory disease. Not to the same extent as smoking, but still far from “safe”. Here’s one example.

For this reason I’d recommend cold turkey, behavioural support or patches/lozenges as a far safer way to quit. Switching to vaping seems to be replacing one bad habit with a moderately less bad one.

This is not the same as ‘safe’.

Not when you take the “at least” off the start of the sentence. PHE are excercising caution. Again though, you’re doing yourself more damage just by breathing outdoors.

I’ve read a few of them, including that one. What they fail to do is find people to study that use ecigs that aren’t former smokers. The COPD etc they’re finding is almost certainly due to tobacco and prior tobacco use inextricably influences results. There’s just no way to control for it without never smokers that vape - and interestingly long term take up after experimentation with vaping is far lower than with cigarettes.

I’d tend to agree though, vaping is clearly far better than smoking, but doing neither is likely better overall.

The problem is that it’s not nicotine smokers are addicted to, otherwise patches etc would work more often. It’s the habit of inhaling and exhaling something that we programme into ourselves and for that, vaping makes an utterly superb replacement for tobacco use and without doubt has led to unheard of levels of reductions in tobacco use.

Research paid for by big pharma company, I am inherently dubious of this, not because I believe it to be entirely without merit but because pharmaceutical companies want to smell their smoking cessation methods which are universally less effective than vaping for overall harm reduction and thus people keep returning to them.

It’s a bit like the diet industry, if a diet was actually effective for long term benefits then there wouldn’t be a diet industry at all. None of them work properly, well, no more than having a basic understanding of CICO.

It’s massively OT anyway lol, but there just hasn’t been enough genuinely independent research conducted to form any conclusion other than what appears to be harm reduction (not elimination) Is a great deal easier for many than total cessation. The sheer numbers and genera take up of vaping from ex smokers is testament to this.

For the avoidance of doubt, I do vape still because I enjoy it. I use 0% nicotine flavours but can assure you that you wouldn’t notice me doing it in a street because I don’t produce vast clouds, just little bursts of flavour. :innocent:

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Just because I’m curious, is there any reason not to be equally dubious of the recommendations from you and @Tristan that vaping is an effective way to quit smoking given you both have mentioned involvement with the vaping industry? And do you have any evidence to support your claim that nicotine replacement is less effective than vaping?

I can’t speak from anything other than my personal experience and for me the key was conscious breaking of unconscious habits, one step at a time. Firstly being aware of the times when I’d smoke without thinking (after meals, with a coffee, in the pub) and then consciously doing something different (chewing gum, picking up a pen or pencil so I had something in my hand). For me it was about substituting unconscious actions and breaking the link with having a cigarette. One of the things I did was have a nicotine lozenge, but I agree with @Tristan - most smokers don’t struggle with nicotine withdrawal (it passes after 9-11 days if I remember correctly). They struggle to break the habits around smoking and associated rituals.