With so many fad diets around these days it’s no wonder everyone’s so confused. Don’t get caught up in the hype, there’s so much marketing and misinformation around, it’s easy to get mislead. There’s a lot of information out there with little or no evidence to back it up. If you can stick to their restrictive diet plan you will probably lose some weight, but statistically most people are back to their starting weight or heavier within 2 years. The good thing is, all the information you need is free and available online in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating www.eatforhealth.gov.au
The guide gives you all the information you’ll need to build a healthy diet from the 5 food groups.
- Grains (cereal) Foods, mostly wholegrain and / or high cereal fibre varieties
- Lean Meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and legumes/beans
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese and / or their alternatives (mostly reduced fat)
- Vegetables and Legumes / Beans
Unlike fad diets, this is all backed up by a tonne of scientific evidence.
Your aim shouldn’t be to remove food groups as suggested by a lot of diets, but to add more variety to your diet. Don’t believe the hype on superfoods...but rather you should aim to have a super diet. That is, a diet that is made up of a variety of fresh produce from the 5 food groups (listed above).
My 10 tips for reaching a healthy body weight:
1.Try eliminating as much packaged food from your diet as you can.
- Most of the packaged foods available in the supermarket are highly processed. They can be high in kJ’s and low in fibre making them very energy dense. They also tend to have a lot of additives to increase shelf life and flavour. Fresh is best!!
2.Have a healthy breakfast every morning
- Skipping breakfast can lead to a day of snacking. It’s amazing how the kJ’s add up if you snack during the day. Foods like oats, fruit and yoghurt, wholemeal toast with a poached egg are a great way to start the day. They are not only nutritious and easy to prepare, but taste delicious too!
3.Try getting about 70% of your dietary intake from plant based foods
- Unprocessed plant based foods are loaded with nutrients and generally low in kJ’s. They are packed with fibre so they fill you up.
- Aim for your 5 severs of vegies, 4-6 serves of grains and 2 serves of fruit each day.
4.Shop around the outside of the supermarket. That’s where all the fresh food is!
- This one’s easy. Most supermarkets are laid out so that all the fresh produce is around the outside while the isles are full of packaged foods.
- Some exceptions to this rule are; Oats, rice, pasta, canned vegetables and canned fish like tuna, salmon and sardines.
5.Don’t make weight loss your main goal! Adopting a healthy lifestyle is key to your success.
- For most people focusing on weight loss instead of adopting a healthy lifestyle is a recipe for disaster. It can lead to a cycle of losing weight on one fad diet, only to put it all back on, then jumping to the next fad diet to get back under control. This is definitely not the way to maintain a healthy body weight.
- Most of these diets are far too restrictive to maintain for any length of time.
- Surround yourself with positive people who will support and encourage you all the way.
7.Keep it simple!
- If it’s complicated, you are setting yourself for failure. Eating healthy and keeping fit doesn’t need to be complicated! If you get advice that seems complicated and restrictive, look for another advisor.
8.Break your goals down into realistic short term goals!
- Let’s say you want to lose 20kg, you will have a better chance of reaching your goal if you break it down into smaller easier goals. You can still have your main goal as 20kg but break it into mini goals of say 5kg at a time. It’s not as daunting this way and you’ll feel more motivated each time you reach one of these milestones.
9.Don’t be too hard on yourself!
- You are only human- you are going to have a few setbacks along the way, acknowledge your mistakes and move on.
- This should be a long term lifestyle change, not some quick fix. It’s ok to have a treat from time to time, just don’t overdo it.
10.Remember that drinks can also contain a lot of kJ’s.
- Soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, fruit juices, latte’s all add extra kJ’s to your daily intake and can go a long way to undermining all your good work. It’s not that you can’t ever have them but save them for a treat on the weekend. That doesn’t mean you can have them all weekend but a glass of wine or two with dinner on a Saturday night or a latte with friends is ok, use them as a treat, not as a part of your every day intake.
If you mostly eat good fresh food in the right portion sizes, exercise regularly and keep a positive attitude you’ll be surprised at the results you’ll achieve, not only with your weight loss but also with improved general health.
If you need a bit of help with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, check out my blog at