Weight Loss

Maintaining a healthy weight can be a continuous struggle in today’s world, with an abundance of advertising for unhealthy foods. Similarly, an abundance of weight loss techniques fill the advertising space of all public media.

This guide will discuss the obesity issue facing Australia, and some of the basic, evidence based principles behind healthy weight loss.

Obesity in Australia

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 3 in every 5 Australians are either overweight or obese. People living in rural areas are significantly more likely to be obese than those living in urban areas. The rate of obesity in Blackbutt in 2012 was slightly higher than seen in Brisbane.

Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some musculoskeletal conditions (such as osteoarthritis) and some cancers. Fat cells do not simply take up space. They produce hormones which can increase your risk of cancer, and clog up arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.  The image below summarises some of the complications of obesity.

The Basics of Weight Loss


The fundamental approach to weight loss is to ensure that you burn more energy than you put into your body. That way, your body will get the extra energy it needs by breaking down fat in your body that you don’t need. That is, your energy expenditure (the amount of energy you burn) needs to be greater than your energy intake. Your energy intake is determined by what you eat and drink. Your energy expenditure is determined primarily  by your physical activity level. It takes energy for the human body to function, so we are constantly burning energy, no matter what we do. The more active you are, however, then the more energy you burn, and it requires you to find the right balance in order to lose or maintain a healthy weight.

Therefore, in theory you can lose weight by:

·         Reducing your energy intake – that is, consuming fewer calories; and/or

·         Increasing your energy expenditure – that is, increasing your physical activity.

It’s a simple equation, and all weight loss techniques must essentially boil down to this.

Kilojoules, Calories, calories and Kilocalories

1 kcal = 1 Calorie = 1,000 calories = 4.184 kilojoules (kJ)

Here are some examples of how to convert between kilocalories and kilojoules:

1 kilocalorie (kcal) = 4.184 kilojoules (kJ)

Therefore, if you know a food item has, say, 1,431 kJ then you can calculate the kilocalories:

1,431 kJ = 1,431/4.184 = 342 kcal

Conversely, if you know an item of food has 250 kcal, then you can calculate the kilojoules:

250 kcal = 250 x 4.184 = 1046 kJ

Losing Weight: The Scientific Facts


Much research has been conducted to figure out how people can lose weight successfully.

  • In terms of weight loss, dieting is a more effective method of losing weight than exercise. Combining the two is most effective, but exercise alone (without dietary changes) is not the most effective way to lose weight. That does not mean that exercise is not important for other reasons. Exercise is good for cardiovascular fitness, which reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, and is also one of the best things for your mind (both cognition/memory, and psychological health).
  • Popular diet programs like Atkins diet, Weight Watchers, Zone and Ornish diets produce similar results after six months (Truby et al, 2006; Dansinger et al, 2005). The key is just to ensure that your energy intake is less than your energy expenditure.
  • There is some conflicting evidence on the topic, but generally, evidence has tended to suggest that slower weight loss is more likely to result in permanent weight loss that rapid weight loss. People who lose weight rapidly tend to quickly rebound. Losing weight slowly is the healthier and safer option, and is more likely to keep the weight off in the long term.
  • Starving yourself completely is not a healthy option. You need to maintain a minimum calorie intake each day in order to function.
  • In terms of healthy living, it’s not just about the amount of energy you take in each day. The type of foods and nutritional value of the foods you eat is also important. Eating low calorie crackers may help you lose weight short term, but they won’t make you healthy, as you won’t be getting enough vitamins and nutrients.
  • One of the biggest mistakes people make with their eating habits is portion size. Australians, from a young age, are often taught to finish everything on their plate, and are often fed portions that don’t represent what your body actually needs. Learning about appropriate portion sizes can be one of the most effective ways to control your daily energy intake.


Are You Overweight or Obese?


There are two commonly used methods to determine whether your weight is in an unhealthy range: body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. BMI is a very common method, but waist circumference is actually a better predictor of your risk of developing chronic disease.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

To find out whether you are obese or overweight, please use the BMI Calculator. The BMI Calculator will also display your BMI and, if you are outside the normal weight range, it will display your recommended weight range.

The chart below can also be used to determine the recommended weight ranges for your height.

You may have been told that BMI is not an accurate tool for everyone. This is true. This is particularly the case for anyone with very athletic builds. However, even if not completely accurate, BMI is very useful as a guide or estimate as to whether you are over or under weight.

Source: Australian Health and Medical Research Council 2013, Australian Dietary Guidelines with no modifications.


Waist Circumference

To measure your waist circumference:

  • Measure against your bare skin;
  • Breathe out normally;
  • Find the point on the side of your waist that is half way between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bone (pelvis) then fit the tape around your waist at this height. Don’t pull it tight – just fit it so that it sits on top of your skin; and
  • Read the measurement.

Are you at increased risk of chronic disease? Check the table below:

You can also try the BUPA Wait:Hip ratio calculator.


How to lose weight: 

1. Weight Loss Strategy


Here are some tips about choosing your weight loss strategy:

  • Calorie counting is an effective method for some, but not all. The point of talking about energy intake and energy expenditure is to explain the basic principles behind weight loss. Rather than counting the calories of everything you eat, you can simply keep in mind the caloric value of what you are eating, and try to minimise the high calorie foods. You can use your weekly weight change as a measure of whether you are doing this effectively or not, and adjust accordingly.
  • Choose a diet that suits your food preferences as much as possible, but don’t leave out any major food group.
  • Be realistic with your expectations. It is a long-term process and what is required is a long-term change to your lifestyle. How much you can lose depends on how overweight you currently are. As a general guide, aim to lose 0.5-1 kg per week.
  • Don’t lose weight too quickly – it can be dangerous, and isn’t healthy.
  • Please consult your doctor first, especially if you are considering cutting your intake to less than 1200 kcal (5000 kJ) per day.

2. Exercise

Exercise reduces your risk of chronic disease and studies have found that people who exercise as part of their weight loss strategy are more likely to keep the weight off. So for long-term health and to maximise your chances of success with your weight loss program, get at least 30 minutes of exercise on at least five days per week. These expectations may differ depending on your age. Staying active in whatever way possible is the key - whether that be going for a jog or simply keeping on your feet and being active outdoors around the garden.

3. Medication


There is no magic medicine to reduce your weight, but there are some medications that can help in some cases. If your BMI is over 30 kg/m2 and you have not been able to reduce your weight with diet and exercise alone, then speak to your doctor about medication options.

4. Modify Your Behaviour


If you have trouble persevering with your weight loss program, ask your doctor about getting assistance from a psychologist. Strategies used by psychologists may include: use of food diaries and activity records; managing the stimuli that trigger you to eat; learning to eat more slowly; meal planning; getting social support and learning strategies to help you persevere. You may also find self-help/motivation books useful.

5. Surgery


If you have been unable to lose weight and have a BMI of over 40 kg/m2 then bariatric surgery may be an option for you. Bariatric surgery refers to a range of surgical procedures that are intended to produce weight loss, such as placing a band around your stomach. Bariatric surgery can be a very effective treatment for some people, but there are risks too. Please consult your doctor for further advice.

6. Complementary Medicines


There is limited research on the safety and effectiveness of many complementary medicines for weight loss. However, studies have shown that chitosan, guar gum and green tea are ineffective. Furthermore, some herbal medicines are downright unsafe.

Low-Cholesterol Diet

Most cholesterol in your blood stream is made by your liver, but about one quarter comes from the food you eat. Here are some tips about what dietary changes you can make to lower your blood cholesterol:

  1. Maintain a healthy overall diet – please see Eating Well for more information;
  2. Maintain a healthy weight
  3. Avoid foods high in saturated fats like cakes, biscuits and hot chips;
  4. Choose reduced fat milk;
  5. Choose lean meat;
  6. Remove the skin before eating chicken;
  7. Avoid butter and have poly- or monounsaturated margarine or oil instead;
  8. Eat more soluble fibre – it helps remove bad cholesterol (LDL) from your body. Soluble fibre can be found in foods like oatmeal, kidney beans, apples, pears and prunes;
  9. Eat more fish and omega-3 fatty acids – omega-3 fatty acids help reduce your blood pressure and your risk of developing blood clots. Some types of fish are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as mackerel, sardines and salmon. You can also take fish oil tablets to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids;
  10. Eat a handful of unsalted nuts each day – Some nuts (like walnuts and almonds) can reduce your blood cholesterol;
  11. Use olive oil – it reduces your bad cholesterol without affecting your good cholesterol. Extra-virgin olive oil provides the greatest benefit; and
  12. Eat some foods with added plant sterols – the sterols reduce the amount of cholesterol you absorb. Some margarines include plant sterols.
  13. Excercise
  14. Medical intervention - In some cases you may require the assistance of medications to keep your cholesterol at a safe level

How To Keep The Weight Off

There are some similarities among the people who are able to keep the weight off following their weight loss program. You can follow in their footsteps if you take at least some of these steps:

·         Get regular exercise;

·         Lose at least 2 kg every 4 weeks until you reach your target weight;

·         Attend a weight loss program or support group;

·         Believe that you can control your weight (after all, you can!); and

·         Modify your eating behaviour – if necessary, ask your doctor about getting help from a psychologist so that you can take control.

Clinic Info

91 Coulson St,


Qld   4314


Tel: 4163 0023

(All Hours)

Fax: 4163 0024


Clinic Hours:


Mon - Fri: 8:00am-5:00pm 

Sat - closed

Sun - closed



Contact us

Address: 91 Coulson Street, Blackbutt, Qld, 4314

Phone: (07) 4163 0023

Fax:      (07) 41630024

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