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The Choose to Change programme is delivered by ABL Health. Bringing significant experience and skills in specialist weight management, they have developed an evidence-based, bespoke programme to meet the needs of the populations of Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Salford, St Helens, Stockport, Tameside and Glossop.

ABL Health

The founders of ABL Health are practicing GPs in Greater Manchester, with 28 years experience of delivering NHS Healthcare. ABL Health has a deep understanding of the pressures on primary care, their local communities and the important role that primary care plays in coordinating patient care. ABL Health has successfully delivered NHS and Public Health commissioned specialist weight management services around the North West. Further information can be found at


Once you have been successfully referred by your GP or health professional, the Choose to Change team will support you on every step of your journey. They will help you to change your lifestyle, lose weight and become fitter, healthier and happier.

What can YOU expect from the programme?

  • A two hour consultation to assess your needs
  • 12 fortnightly sessions over six months
  • Support from a range of specialists in weight management
  • Follow up sessions, newsletters and continuing support

What can YOU expect from each session?

  • A supportive and caring environment
  • Review of eating habits and updating of a monitoring diary
  • Tips on healthy eating
  • Guided weight loss advice
  • Information on how to maintain weight loss
  • Physical activity adapted for all abilities
  • Guidance on lifelong lifestyle and behavioural changes
  • Personal activity and nutrition goal setting at the end of each session

Are YOU eligible?

Standard Choose to Change Programme

Bury** Manchester, Oldham & Salford St Helens Stockport Tameside and Glossop
Adult (18yrs+) Adult (18yrs+) Adult (18yrs+) Adult (18yrs+) Adult (18yrs+)
Registered with an NHS Bury GP Registered with an NHS Manchester, Oldham, or Salford GP Registered with a St Helens GP Referred by either their GP or secondary care clinician Registered with an NHS Tameside or Glossop GP
A BMI of 35+ with certain health conditions* or BMI 40+ A BMI 35+ A BMI of 30+ with diabetes or pregnant.

A BMI of 35+ with certain medical conditions.

A BMI of 40+  

A BMI of 35+ with 2 or more co-morbidities.

A BMI of 40+

A BMI of over 50 where stabilisation and assessment prior to bariatric surgery is needed   

A BMI 35+ with certain health conditions* or a BMI 40+
**ONLY eligible if referred on the bariatric pathway       Must have completed 8 weeks of a level 2 weight management service within the last 12 months unless the GP decides it is clinically inappropriate
Obesity present for the last five years        

* Please discuss qualifying health conditions with your GP

**Please note Bury patients are only eligible if referred on the bariatric pathway

Where and when will the sessions be held?

Venues and times vary across the areas. Click here for a list of current venues. Your initial letter will outline the venue for your assessment. Suitable venues and times for your sessions will be discussed after your assessment. Please remember Ring and Ride services may be available for eligible people.

Any further questions?

Ring the team at Choose to Change on 01204 570999
or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For St Helens: ring 01744 778359 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Further details on Ring and Ride can be found as follows:

Greater Manchester: including Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Salford and Tameside
Tel: 0845 688 4933 or visit

Glossop Community Transport: Tel: 01457 861635 or visit

Meet the staff at Choose to Change:

Please click on the locations below to look at our assessment venues:

Regular sessions will take place at a range of additional venues which will be discussed at your initial assessment.

Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Salford, Stockport, Tameside & Glossop

ABL Health Ltd, 71 Redgate Way, Bolton, BL4 0JL

Information about the Service:
01204 570999 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Referrals: Safe Haven Fax: 01204 570965

St Helens

ABL Health Ltd, Alexandra Business Park, 1st Floor Court, Prescot Road, St Helens, WA10 3TP

Call 01744 778359 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


If you would like to volunteer or are looking to gain experience in weight management various opportunities are available. Please contact 01204 570999 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


"I dread to think where I would be now if I had not started the Choose to Change programme when I did. I was deteriorating fast as a person. Never underestimate the help and ideas you can give and receive from other members of a Choose to Change group."

Anthony’s weight loss difficulties started when he suffered a heart attack and was put on medication which caused him to gain weight rapidly, taking him from 13 and a half stone to 21 and a half stone.

Anthony was initially referred to a calorie counting weight loss programme by his GP and whilst he did manage to lose 2 stone the weight soon came back on when he stopped the programme. Nothing seemed to work for Anthony until he joined the Choose to Change programme and he is now delighted that he has lost six and a half stone and maintained his weight loss.

The information given to Anthony on healthy eating and portion size were the key ingredients to his success.

"I nearly gave up at first because I wasn’t losing weight but then at session four everything just clicked; controlling my portion size, using a food diary and taking up walking set me on the right road. I now walk 5k three times a week. This approach has worked well for me and is still working."

One of the hardest things about the programme for Anthony was going through a weight maintenance stage as he just wanted to keep losing weight. However, he found that this was a really valuable skill to learn.

"I maintained my weight for 6 months, which was the hardest bit, but then I continued to lose weight and I have now lost the same amount again."

It is not just Anthony’s weight that has changed on the programme; his mental and physical health has also significantly improved. Anthony’s medication has been significantly reduced, falling from 9 to 2 tablets, he has lower blood pressure and he is now considering studying to set up his own business, something he never would have thought of before the programme.

Participating in the programme has given Anthony a new lease of life and he feels he is a completely different person because of it.

"People always comment that I am now a completely different person and approach things in a different way. I am now a Peer supporter and help others on the Choose to Change programme. I do this because I firmly believe in the programme and want others to see how it has worked for me."


“My weight is no longer ruling my life. I have much more energy and can go out without having to consider how much walking will be involved beforehand.”

David enjoys cooking and didn’t want to give up the variety of food that he cooks by joining one of the high profile slimming organisations.

“The eating advice on Choose to Change is easy to understand and does not involve a radical change; it’s more about including healthy options and eating more vegetables.”

Choose to Change showed David how to eat well with healthy options and the balance of food groups that he needed in each meal.

“Losing weight does not mean giving up everything you enjoy eating. In fact, the pleasure of eating something like a cream dessert or a chip is better when they are an occasional treat rather than a regular and ignored part of eating.”

The daily food diary that David was asked to complete was something that really helped him along his weight loss journey as it gave him the knowledge he needed to know what and how much he should be eating.

“The programme is now part of my daily life without me being obsessed with it and by what I can and can’t be eating.”

David now has more energy and finds moving much easier and less of an effort. Before joining the programme, his activity levels were low and he would have to consider how much walking would be involved before going out; now the amount of walking is no longer an issue and he doesn’t have to stop for rest breaks as often. He has also benefitted in his periods of inactivity as well, as he can now sit still comfortably for long periods of time.

“My weight used to affect me quite badly when sitting for a long time. I would often feel uncomfortable and would get agitated because of this. Being able to sit still for longer without discomfort is a massive advantage for me because I enjoy visiting the theatre.”


“This is a fantastic programme, if I can do it anyone can! The classes are fun and you learn so much about nutrition and exercise. There is great support and I can see my goals are achievable.”

Giovanna, a hotel and restaurant inspector from Manchester was feeling very unfit and quite scared that her health was deteriorating when she fell and broke a bone in her knee. She decided to ask her doctor if he could advise something to help. He referred her to Choose to Change.

Giovanna was worried that her job as a hotel and restaurant inspector would mean it was impossible for her to lose weight, however, as soon as she started on the programme she was convinced that Choose to Change could help her. It quickly taught her that losing weight is about understanding food and the effects of various ingredients in food. It is about ensuring you don’t deprive yourself but you take a regular, balanced approach.  She discovered that slow and steady weight loss is far better than crash dieting. She was delighted to realise that the programme was 'NOT' a diet.

"It’s engaging, it’s achievable, it’s a way of life and it fits round pretty much any lifestyle....even mine where part of my job is to go out and eat.”

After 8 weeks on the programme Giovanna had lost 8.2 kilograms and was starting to feel much more confident again.

“I can walk up stairs without feeling so out of breath. I have more energy and my body aches less.”

Giovanna has started to feel more confident in her job standing up in front of delegates and delivering training. She has been able to buy smaller clothes and wear things she wouldn’t previously have dreamed of.


“I genuinely feel more alive. I don’t feel as sluggish or as inactive as I did before starting the programme.”

Roy has been on the programme 6 weeks and has currently lost 12.6kg. After a visit to the doctor on an unrelated medical matter, he was advised of the Choose to Change programme. He was initially very sceptical about this type of programme but thought he would give it a go. He was encouraged by the lack of pressure to lose weight and motivated by the sound and encouraging advice given.

“Choose to Change has taught me that losing weight does not mean that you have to give up eating food or starving yourself. I have done it by thinking about what I eat and when I eat and by adding in a little exercise, every pound lost is a step nearer to my goal.”

Roy now understands that sensible changes to diet, exercise and health are not just for gym obsessed people as he first thought. He knows there is no magic wand to losing weight, but has seen that with help and support it is achievable.

“My advice would be if you genuinely want to help yourself then do not hide behind a mask or think that you cannot lose any weight. Find suitable help such as Choose to Change and stay positive and focused. Miracles don’t happen overnight, but one day your goals and dreams will be realised.”


“I feel like a new person and I can now look in the mirror. I feel generally healthier and able to move much faster than I did previously.”

Teresa had tried numerous diets but none of them had worked. Her GP persuaded her to join the Choose to Change programme. She was amazed at the difference with this programme.

“Other diets I have been on teach you how to diet, this isn’t a diet.  Choose to Change teaches you to eat normal but healthy food, it retrains you on how you should eat. I now feel I am eating correctly like normal people.”

Teresa also found that small amounts of exercise really helped and realised that this was just as important as what you eat. In 9 weeks Teresa has lost 8.7 Kg and she now feels she is able to do much more around the house and garden and has even taken up swimming, something she would never have done previously. Her advice is to “never give up, if you make a mistake one week don’t worry about it because mistakes can be corrected.”

Teresa has discovered a whole new way of life which makes her feel much better about herself.


“The thing that I found most refreshing about Choose to Change was that the programme was not about dieting but about making lifelong adjustments to my lifestyle.”

Yasmeen had struggled with body and self-confidence issues for many years before being referred to the Choose to Change programme. Spending most of her time with family, she had been out of work since the birth of her second son, but after 12 years at home, Choose to Change has finally given her the confidence she needed to go back to work.

“I learned that I can be very motivated when I wanted to be and I’m also quite determined about changing things.”

The programme helped Yasmeen begin her weight loss journey by setting herself small goals every 2 weeks and she soon found she was able to achieve each one and build upon them. Her lifestyle coach worked with her to ensure the goals were stretching but achievable.

So far, Yasmeen has lost over 30kg and uses her own weight loss as a tool to spur herself on.

“Even though I was only losing a few pounds every week or so it was great to get on the scales and realise how much I had lost overall and that made me want to carry on!”

The maintenance stage of the programme where Yasmeen learned to maintain a steady weight over a number of months was the part Yasmeen found most difficult but she soon realised how important it was to enabling her to manage her weight in the longer term.

“Choose to Change has taught me that weigh loss isn't a great mystery. If you eat sensibly and take regular exercise you will lose weight and if you have made maintainable changes to your life the weight will stay off.”

Yasmeen is such a convert to the goals and outcomes of the programme that she introduced her sister to the programme and is now a Peer Supporter helping to motivate others along their weight loss journeys.

“I wanted to give something back to the programme. It has really helped me and I’m so grateful, it’s great to see others achieving their goals as well.”

Available in Manchester, Oldham, Salford, Tameside, and Glossop

Choose to Change runs a specialised weight management programme for pregnant women with a BMI of 30+. This FREE service is aimed at helping keep you fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy and beyond.

What can YOU expect from the programme?

  • An initial telephone consultation
  • Six sessions of advice and support
  • Support from a range of specialists in weight management
  • The opportunity to transfer to the standard Choose to Change programme, which provides support for up to two years, after you have given birth.

What can YOU expect from the sessions?

  • An explanation of expected and appropriate weight gain
  • The removal of the myth of eating for two during pregnancy
  • An introduction to exercises to do during pregnancy and after birth
  • An exploration of the psychological challenges of giving birth
  • A discussion of nutritional needs pre and post birth
  • Tips for eating healthily on a budget
  • Advice on dealing with stress and time management

Where and when will the sessions be held?

Venues and times vary across the different areas but sessions are often held in children’s centres and maternity clinics. Your initial letter will outline the venue for your first consultation. Suitable venues and times for your sessions will be discussed after your consultation.

Are YOU eligible?

To be eligible for the programme you must be:

  • An adult over 18yrs
  • Registered with an NHS GP in Manchester, Oldham, Salford or Tameside and Glossop
  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30+ (Midwife or GP will help you work this out or calculate your own)
  • In the 12th week or more of your pregnancy and have had a 12 week scan

How can I be referred?

You can be referred by your Midwife, Obstetrician or GP.

Self Referral

You can also self-refer by downloading the self-referral form and posting to: ABL Health, 71 Redgate Way, Farnworth, Bolton, BL4 0JL. Alternatively Call: 01204 570 999 or Text: 'BABY' and 'Your Name' to 66777.

GPs, Midwives & Health Professionals

GPs, Midwives and Health Professionals should download a referral form and submit by Safe Haven Fax: 01204 570965 or post to: ABL Health, 71 Redgate Way, Farnworth, Bolton, BL4 0JL.

Welcome to Choose to Change

Choose to Change is a specialist weight management service that helps adults make lifestyle changes that will enable them to lose weight and improve their health.

The Choose to Change programme is totally different to traditional weight loss programmes. It encourages lifelong changes to eating habits rather than short term diets. It helps people to overcome their barriers to weight loss, make sensible food choices and become more active. It has produced many successful results.

Access to the service is via a health professional referral such as a GP, nurse or a dietitian. The service is free to all adults over 18 years old and has been commissioned by the following areas:

Bury*, Manchester, Oldham, Salford, St Helens, Stockport, Tameside and Glossop 

*In Bury the service is only available to those on the bariatric pathway. Further information on the eligibility criteria can be found on the How It Works page.

Choose To Change | © ABL Health Ltd | 71 Redgate Way | Bolton | BL4 0JL