Healthy living

Healthy weight loss

  • The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to make small, achievable changes to your lifestyle.
  • Even small amounts of weight loss can have a range of health benefits.

Healthy weight loss is not about a ‘diet’. It’s about making changes to your lifestyle by adopting healthy eating patterns and having a more active lifestyle (and sitting less). You are more likely to be successful at keeping the weight off when the changes you make to your lifestyle are healthy, realistic and sustainable.

If a person is overweight or obese, even small amounts of weight loss (5 per cent of bodyweight, for example 5kg for someone that weighs 100kg) can have a range of health benefits such as improved blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars.

Making changes to your diet and physical activity can also have health benefits that are independent of weight loss including increased energy, better sleep and reduced risk of depression.

Every day we see new diets, programs and books telling us how to lose weight. It can be very confusing to know where to start. The tips below can help to make some small changes to your lifestyle which can make a big difference.

Healthy eating tips
  • Choose foods from the five food groups and avoiding foods high in added sugar, salt and fat will help you get the nutrients you need without the extra energy. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (external site) recommends we:
    • eat plenty of vegetables and fruit (including different types and colours)
    • enjoy reduced fat varieties of milk, yoghurt and cheese
    • eat mainly wholegrain cereal foods and breads
    • eat lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
    • drink plenty water instead of sugary drinks like soft drinks.
  • Watch the amount of food you eat to make sure you aren’t eating too much. To help reduce portions to a healthy size, use a smaller plate and don’t go back for seconds.
  • Cut back on foods high in added sugar, salt and fat (such as potato chips, biscuits, chocolates and cakes). To make it easier, keep these foods out of the house. Instead, have healthy snacks on hand like a container of chopped up fruit and yoghurt in the fridge.
  • Planning is key to successful weight loss. Plan interesting meals and snacks ahead of time to help avoid unplanned eating. Planning ahead also makes food shopping easier and can help you avoid buying foods you don’t need.
  • Reflect on your own eating habits, keep a food diary for a few days. It may help you to discover habits which lead you to overeat (e.g. eating too fast) or times when you are eat for reasons other than hunger (e.g. when you are stressed).
How to be more physically active
  • Start by making small changes, simply move more throughout the day.
  • Leave the car at home and take public transport to work, or get off the bus one or two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. Be physically active every day.
  • Decrease your sedentary activities – sit less, move more.
  • Pick an activity that you love. You are more likely to keep it up if you are having fun.
  • Be active to music. If you’re washing the car or vacuuming the house, listen to some upbeat music and try and keep in time.
  • If you have kids, participate in physical activities with them.
Things to avoid when you are trying to lose weight
  • Do not skip meals – you may end up eating more when you do eat.
  • Steer clear of crash diets – these are short term solutions that will not help you to maintain a healthy body weight in the long run.
  • Fads diets – they usually promise a quick fix, a ‘magic’ food or severely restrict certain nutrients or food groups.

Where to get help

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.