Thursday, January 27, 2011

Australian Healthy Weight Week

This week is Healthy Weight Week in Australia, but its goals of raising awareness of the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle is important wherever you live. While I don't agree with everything that the Dietitian's Association of Australia (the organisation behind it) support, (for instance, I don't believe that saturated fat is the menace that conventional wisdom says it is) the Healthy Weight Week website has a ton of information that could benefit anyone who believes that their weight and health could do with some improvement.

One of their tools that I think is fantastic is their 10 week challenge. By following these ten easy steps over ten weeks, you will make a vast difference to your health. Some of these ideas I have already started through my Weight Watchers program, but I am planning on introducing one new idea each week. These totally fit in with my New Year, New Me goals.

Week 1:

Start a food diary. This will help you see what you're eating and drinking, and where any problem areas are. Order the AHWW food and exercise diary from the 'Resources' page to help you get started.

Week 2:

Eat breakfast every day. Breakfast eaters are more likely to be a healthy weight and less likely to re-gain lost weight. And breakfast improves alertness, concentration, mental performance and memory.

Week 3:

Choose lower fat versions of three foods you regularly eat. This will lower your kilojoule (calorie) intake enough to shed some kilos. Look at the nutrition labels of two similar products and choose the one with the lowest fat content. See the Take 10 swaps fact sheet for some suggestions.

Week 4:

Take the stairs at work instead of the lift, or walk to your local shops. Work up to being active for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day.

Week 5:

Switch to healthier drinks. Swap soft drinks, cordials and juice for diet versions - or better still choose water and reduced fat milk. Swapping a soft drink for water will save 700kJ. Have a glass, bottle or jug of water close by at all times.

Week 6:

Add one more piece of fruit and one more serve of vegetables to your day. Build up to the recommended two pieces of fruit and five serves of vegetables (around three cups) every day.

Week 7:

If buying treats, choose smaller serve sizes and have these in the house less often. Plan when you will have treats (e.g once a week) and keep a close eye on the portion size.

Week 8:

Shrink your portion sizes. Doing this at every meal is a sure-fire way to lower your energy (kilojoule) intake. Try using smaller plates and bowls or order the entree size if you're eating out.

Week 9:

If you drink alcohol, reduce your intake and aim for at least two alcohol free days each week. Try a wine spritzer (wine diluted with plain mineral water) instead of a glass of wine and use a smaller glass. Choose light beers over standard 'heavy' beers.

Week 10:

Get the right support - explore the Australia's Healthy Weight Week website for more healthy eating tips and hints to keep you going on your way to a healthier, happier you. Seek the advice of an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) who can provide you with individualised advice to help achieve your goals. Visit the 'Find an APD' section of this website to find your local APD.

Download a copy of the AHWW Ten week challenge.


So make sure you check out the Healthy Weight Week website for even more great ideas!

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