Start Strong, End Stronger: Key Tips To Tackling The Covid-kilos

Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 21 March 2021

The toll of lockdown has been vast. The ability to ‘do’ has been restricted; the desire to ‘do better’ – virtually non-existent. It’s no wonder then that for many of us, the focus on health and wellbeing has taken a backseat. In fact, recent research from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, reveals that weight is up and wellbeing is down due to Covid-19 lockdown.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, and as the weather starts to warm up, restrictions ease, and the motivation to get moving (away from the fridge, that is) improves, we are told there might be an antidote to some of our lockdown indulgences.

Kickstart your kilo crackdown

New analysis by CSIRO has revealed that a stronger start in the first three weeks of a diet is linked to greater weight loss success in the longer-term.

“Our study of over 22,000 CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet members showed those who started strongest in their weight loss journey were able to lose 1kg or more per week for the first three weeks; and overall achieve three and a half times greater total weight loss than those who had a slower start to the 12-week program,” says CSIRO research scientist, Dr Gilly Hendrie.

“It’s uplifting evidence that shows, with the right framework and tools, Australians who start strong will end stronger in their weight loss journey –particularly valuable for Aussies who need a motivation boost at as we head into Spring.”

How To Control Your Weight and Stay Motivated

The more you use, the more you lose

Structure, preparation and self-monitoring were the key characteristics demonstrated by the most successful participants, according to the study.

“People who lost the most weight in the first three weeks and achieved longer term results on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, allowed themselves an average of two days to prepare for the program and used the online planning and self-monitoring tools 50 per cent more than other users.

“In those first weeks they weighed in almost twice per week and used the menu plans and diary features three times a day.

Tools to fall back on

To help people achieve greater weight loss, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has introduced a new enhancement, the Interactive Start Strong Guide, which provides step-by-step instructions for getting off to the best possible start on the scientifically proven 12-week program.

“At a time when we are using digital platforms more than ever, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet provides a strong framework to support and early and sustained weight loss, that fits seamlessly into our respective ‘new normals’.”

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How to put it into action: top tips for fast, effective weight loss this Spring

Tip 1: Put in the maximum effort in the first 3 weeks by using a scientifically proven weight loss program like the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, four times per day to get off to a strong start. 

Tip 2: Prepare before you start. Allow two days to prepare and organise yourself before you start a weight loss program. Prepare and get in the right mindset: allow yourself a couple of days to get familiar with the menu plan, go shopping and stock the pantry. Also if you have a lot of weight to lose you might need to stay on the program for a while but once you’re in the swing of it, it won’t feel like you are on a diet . 

Tip 3: Weigh-in. Recording your weight at least once a week keeps you accountable and is associated with greater weight loss. In fact, the study found that those who recorded their weight once to twice per week were in the highest bracket of overall weight loss, losing up to 15% of their original body weight. 

Tip 4: Plan and track your meals. Review meal plans and food shop a week in advance. Be realistic and don’t go hungry. We found that those who reviewed week by week menu plans were more likely to be successful. Regular usage of meal plans and the food and exercise tracker was highest in members who lost 10% or more of their starting body weight. Increased nutrition awareness leads to forming long-term healthy food habits.

Tip 5: Connect with your community. Those who regularly share their experiences via a forum or social media group are more likely to be motivated to keep going.

Tip 6: ‘Spring clean’ your diet:

  • Detox the cupboards: get rid of temptations that take you over the edge. Start your weight loss journey with a clear pantry and a clear mind so that your focus is laser-like
  • Get creative with colour and texture for healthy meals that are exciting to eat. Think crunch and flavour with coleslaws and nuts, and flavour with olives, herbs and capers
  • Make note of the nutrition labels when it comes to drinks. Don’t fill up on liquids that give you zero fill, and all the sugar. Stick to sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime for a fizz hit that won’t affect your waistline
  • Fill up on fruit and veg. It might seem like a no-brainer but with the weather getting warmer, there’s an abundance of seasonal fruits and veggies you can lean on when you get hungry, Mix it up a bit and add strawberries and melon to your salads, or slow roast garlic and tomatoes for sauces with rich flavours

About Dr. Gilly Hendrie:

Dr Gilly Hendrie is a Research Scientist with expertise in diet, nutrition and obesity prevention. Her research focuses on the development and validation of dietary assessment methods, and uses data to gain a deeper understanding of dietary patterns, including the development of diet quality metrics. Her research includes the development and delivery of interventions, often incorporating online and mobile technology.

Dr Hendrie enjoys collaborating with experts from other disciplines to broaden our understanding of the impacts of dietary patterns on global concerns such as obesity, food security and climate change.


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