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Weight Loss Program

There are numerous weight loss programs. Magazines are full of diet-related advertisements, and weight loss solutions are forever being promoted on TV and the internet.

A few of these weight loss programs are based on good nutrition, whereas others are nutritionally inadequate and could be dangerous to your health.

So, let’s take a look at the things you should consider when choosing a weight loss program.

Gimmicks, Gadgets and Fad Diets

Diet gimmicks, gadgets and fads come and go like fashion trends. They all claim to be very effective because otherwise they would fail to attract those who want to lose weight. Unfortunately, many weight loss programs are not nutritionally balanced which makes them dangerous to the health and well-being of anyone who follows them for long periods of time.

You may have heard about supplements that blast fat away, exercise devices that give you an instant ‘six pack’, or diets that guarantee a drop in two dress sizes in two weeks. There is no “miracle” pill, potion, gadget or diet that successfully helps you lose lots of weight in a short amount of time and keep it off.

The only safe and certain way to lose excess body fat and maintain a healthy weight is to consume adequate energy (kilojoules) for your ideal body weight and increase your level of physical activity.

Sounds Too Good To Be True?

You know the old saying – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Losing weight takes time and effort. When considering a weight loss program use your common sense and judgment and investigate the weight loss program or approach by asking lots of questions, like those listed below.

Eleven Questions To Ask About Weight Loss Programs

You should thoroughly investigate any weight loss program before joining up. The following questions will help you.

  • 1.  What are their qualifications? Do the weight loss professionals have qualifications in nutrition, health sciences or nursing?
  • 2.  Is the program endorsed or approved by a credible, authoritative organisation? Endorsement by a famous celebrity is not enough.
  • 3.  Are there any hidden costs?
  • 4.  Does the program take a holistic approach to weight loss, that is, does it address eating habits as well as levels of physical activity?
  • 5.  Does the program teach you how to make permanent changes to your eating habits and levels of physical activity? And is it sustainable, will you be able to maintain and enjoy the eating plan and physical activity recommended as part of a long-term and enjoyable lifestyle?
  • 6.  Does it teach you life-long good habits such as how to cook or prepare a healthy meal?
  • 7.  Does the program emphasise that weight loss should be slow and gradual (i.e. no more than half to one kilogram per week)?
  • 8.  Does the food plan include choices that are varied, readily available and affordable?
  • 9.  Does the food plan provide flexibility in the amount and types of food you can eat? Rigid food plans can lead to boredom and binge eating.
  • 10. Is there a maintenance plan and does it include strategies or tips to help you get through the tough times?
  • 11. What is the program’s long term success rate (i.e. after 12 months or more)? Ask to see written evidence for this.

Taking The ‘lifestyle’ Approach

If you want to successfully lose that excess body fat and keep it off, then a lifestyle change is probably in order.

  1. As a starting point, write down all your lifestyle habits that fall into the ‘not-so-good’ basket, (e.g. ‘I eat takeaway food more than three times a week’, or ‘I do not do any regular physical activity’).
  2. Next, set yourself weight loss goals and make one change each week (e.g. limit takeaway foods to once a week). Once you have mastered this goal, set yourself a new weekly goal and continue until all of your undesirable lifestyle habits have been improved.

Making small, gradual lifestyle changes is an easier and more sustainable approach to weight loss. In fact, the best feature of the ‘lifestyle’ approach to weight control is that any weight you lose is likely to stay off once you have achieved your goal.

You may lose weight on a quick fix or fad diet, but chances are you will put it back on (plus possibly a bit more) as soon as you stop.


If you require professional help in your quest to improve fitness and achieve a healthy body weight, speak to your doctor, or a New Zealand registered dietitian.

If you wish to find a qualified dietitian in your area, either look in the yellow pages of the phone book or go to the website of Dietitians New Zealand


To assist you on your weight loss journey, check out the related pages below.

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