Australian Healthy Weight Week – What is it, and how does it relate to me?

February 13 2017

Australian Healthy Weight Week (AHWW) is an initiative designed to raise awareness to Australians of the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Research shows that being a healthy weight lowers your risk of chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The places where body fat is stored can also increase risk of weight-related problems, so being within a healthy waistline is important.

With multiple “nutrition experts” nowadays across social media, it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction, particularly when it comes to nutrition. Be sure to check whether there is science behind the information you’re reading and whether it’s from a registered health professional with a background in nutrition.

Unfortunately, there will always be another fad diet to try, if not a recurring one for that appealing sense of security that if X diet is followed precisely, rapid weight loss will follow.

But will it be possible to live off chicken and broccoli for the next 6 months when you’re feeding a family of 4? Will you have time to prepare separate meals over this period? Are these your favourite foods? What options can you eat at your best friend’s engagement this weekend if your cheat meal isn’t until the week after? What have you learnt about a healthy, sustainable lifestyle once you’ve given up on the meal plan and most importantly how will you keep the weight off!?

Sadly, most diets that cause rapid weight loss often lead to weight regained plus more and individuals mark themselves as the ‘failure’ or ‘problem’ because they haven’t succeeded at doing it all at once. This is because diets tend to be restrictive in one form or another, promise miracle solutions or supplements to cure your weight problem or promote a one-size-fits-all approach based on a single and/or biased study or personal observations which may not work for everyone.

For those resonating a little too much with this post, a diet isn’t going to be the answer but fortunately, it certainly isn’t the only one. Why not skip the fads if you’re feeling motivated and instead this week, kick-start your way to a healthier, sustainable lifestyle during AHWW by trying some simple changes towards a healthier you, starting with:

  • Cooking at home an extra one or two nights this week instead of purchasing take-away– research shows that this is one way to help maintain your weight and improve your health. At home, you are in control of your portion size, know exactly what you’re putting in your food and it’s much cheaper – win-win for everyone!
  • Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity – this might mean a walk to the local park and back with the kids a few nights this week, parking further from the supermarket, riding to and from work or trialling the gym you drive past every day before work
  • Try adding at least one cup of vegetables to your lunch and dinner – great for bowel health, increasing your nutrient intake and improving satiety
  • Bring fruit to work so there are healthy snack choices available
  • Book in to see that health professional you know will make you accountable and keep you on track

So if you’ve been thinking about getting started for a while, then why not start this week?

For more individualised nutrition advice, seek guidance from an Accredited Practising Dietitian [APD] or Registered Nutritionist [RNutr].

Written by Emily Farrugia, Accredited Practising Dietitian [APD], Nutritionist and Personal Trainer [BHSc, MDiet, Cert. III/IV Fitness].