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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I lose excess weight?

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    Melanie McGrice is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, one of the few dietitians in Australia to achieve that status. Her success has made her an … View Profile

    Weight loss is caused by taking in less kilojoules than you consume.  One kilogram of body fat contains 37,000 kilojoules (kJ), so to lose one kilogram, you have to burn off 37,000kJ.  You can do this by:

    •  eating smaller portion sizes – half a doughnut has half the kilojoules of a whole doughnut!
    • decreasing the energy density of the food that you eat (eg. Substituting an apple for a chocolate bar – the apple will contain about 300kJ whereas the chocolate bar will contain about 1200kJ – saving you 900kJ)
    • or increasing the number of kilojoules that you burn by increasing physical activity.
    However, if you’ve tried to lose weight, you’ll know that it’s not as easy as it sounds!   It’s really hard to answer this complicated question in a short space, and I would encourage anyone who’s really interested in learning the answer to undertake one of our “Fundamentals of Weight Management” courses (see  But briefly, just a few things to consider:
    • Make sure that you are losing fat, and not just ‘weight’.  You don’t want to be losing muscle, fluid or even bone density!  You can ensure that you’re losing only fat by being measured on a multi-frequency bioimpedence machine (make sure that it is multi-frequency, otherwise the results aren’t very accurate).
    • Your metabolism accounts for over 60% of the kilojoules that you burn each day, so ensure that you optimise it by exercising, eating small, regular meals and ensuring that you consume adequate protein in your diet.
    • Although you cut down the number of kilojoules that you consume when you go on a fad diet – you will do more harm than good, so make sure you lose weight in a healthy way.
    • Medications, hormones and medical conditions often have a big impact on one’s ability to lose weight, so if you’re struggling, contact an Accredited Practising Dietitian (see
    • There are a variety of tools that can be used to assist people to lose weight faster, such as meal replacements and medications – but these should only be used under the guidance of a health professional – or you’ll risk doing more harm than good.
    • You don’t have to have a ‘perfect’ diet to lose weight – just a lower kilojoule one, so discuss with your dietitian how much and how often you can include your favourite foods and still lose weight.
    Hope this helps!

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