Leanne’s Top 5 Weight Loss Tips as Seen on Nine News

by Leanne Ward

A lot of you would have seen my top healthy lifestyle tips on Nine News on Monday night. For those of you who missed it, you can read it or watch the segment here.

For those of you who would like to read the tips in more detail – please keep reading. You can also find me on Facebook: The Fitness Dietitian or on my Instagram account: @the_fitness_dietitian for more inspiration.  

Leanne’s top 5 tips for a healthy lifestyle

1. Find that one approach that works for you and stick it out. Don’t be tempted by the latest fad diets or exercise regimes that are trending online – we’re all individuals and need different things – find the thing that works for you and your lifestyle and rock it! What works for your best friend, neighbour or work colleague won’t necessarily work for you as we are all different body shapes, sizes etc etc. Find that one approach that works for you and fits in with your lifestyle and forget about what everyone else is doing.

2. You don’t need to fear carbs but you need to be smart with them. Most Australia’s eat far too many carbs for the little activity they do. Carbs aren’t “bad” for you but if you over eat them you will gain weight (just like if you over eat protein or fat you’ll also gain weight). Instead of avoiding them all together, fill up on a small portion of complex/high fibre carbs at each meal. A handy tips when plating your meals is to fill 1/4 of your plate with lean protein, 1/4 of your plate with a high fibre carb source (eg. brown rice, high fibre pasta or a potato in it’s jacket) and then add 1/2 a plate (2-3 cups) of colourful salad or non starchy veggies. By pairing the carb with a fibre and protein source, it slows the digestion of the meal making you feel fuller for longer (and preventing over eating later!).

3. Eat more nutrient dense foods, not calorie dense foods. I see a lot of people snacking on nuts, smoothies, chocolate, biscuits brownies etc etc and often forgetting that these things are very high in calories. Even something healthy like nuts need to be portion controlled as fat is such an energy dense macronutrient, it’s easy to overeat just a small amount of them. I consider nutrient dense foods all my veggies, salads and a few low sugar fruits. In the video you’ll see me compare a popular chocolate bar (240 cals) to a whole plate of nutrient dense snacks (less than 200 cals). The plate had a boiled egg, 1 tbsp hummus, a few strawberries and a few chopped up vegetable sticks.  Not only did the big plate have less calories, it also had more volume meaning you’ll stay fuller for longer and of course you’re eating more nutrients and vitamins/minerals too.

4. Meal prep at least once a week – it’s a game changer! Most people fail as they are busy and eat on the run or eat out too much – meal prepping eliminates the need to cook when you’re tired, busy or stressed. If you’re a beginner to meal prep – try and spend at least one hour a week prepping some meals. It doesn’t have to be every meal – just choose one or choose to prep some healthy snack choices. Examples for snacks can include boiled eggs or veggie sticks and hummus or cottage cheese. These things are quick and easy to take to work or grab straight out of the fridge. If you’re someone that skips breakfast often – try prepping my popular  overnight oats with raspberry, chia & PB or my vegan baked carrot cake oats for healthy breakfast prep recipes.

5. Don’t drink your calories. Often we forget just how energy dense our drinks can be. This includes smoothies, iced coffees, alcohol and even flavoured water – solid food has so much more sustenance to it and will help to keep you full for so much longer. In the video a popular brand of smoothie marketed as healthy (“protein superfood smoothie”) had over 500 calories where as the plate of food with pasta, salmon and veggies had less calories than the smoothie and will keep you fuller for so much longer. Be aware of the hidden sugar and calories in drinks – especially those marketed as ‘healthy’ using words such as ‘protein/ workout/ superfood’

6. Remember you’re only human – most people fail when it comes to healthy eating as they are chasing perfection – remember, one take away won’t make you fat just like one salad won’t make you healthy. If you eat something that wasn’t healthy – instead of beating yourself up about it – just accept it and move on. Make your very next meal a healthy option (don’t wait till Monday!) and add a walk in after work if needed. Life is about balance -learn to eat well 80% of the time and enjoy your favourite foods and drinks the other 20%. This approach is so much more sustainable than rapid dieting which just causes your weight to yo-yo and restricts your favourite foods until your will power runs out, you fall off the wagon and you’re back to your old habits. I’m going to leave you with one of my favourite quotes: “so you ate a brownie… welcome to the club, there’s like 10 billion of us here” You’re only human – aim for progress – not perfection.

Please ask me any questions in the comments below.


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Tan September 17, 2019 - 1:47 pm

Hi Leanne, I’ve heard you mention ‘non-starchy veges’ before and am wondering which vegetables are the ‘starchy’ ones that should be more limited in portion size? I assume white and sweet potatoes but would you also include pumpkin and carrots in this category? What about mushrooms, cabbage and green beans? I find these all to be quite filling so am not sure if they are ok to include in your ‘half plate’ approach. Thanks so much for your info!

Leanne Ward September 17, 2019 - 2:10 pm

Hi Tan, great question. There is definitely some debate among health professionals about what veggies are considered “starchy” but I personally count potato, sweet potato, corn, taro and any bean/lentil as starchy and then peas and pumpkin as board line starchy. So as long as you’re eating a wide variety of veggies – I would put pumpkin, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage and green beans on the non-starchy (1/2 plate) side. I generally say pumpkin and peas are non-starchy as long as you’ve got other veggies in there too. If you are just eating potato, corn and pumpkin in one meal then you’re eating majority starchy veg. At the end of the day, ANY vegetable is going to be helpful so try not to over think it and add as many as you can to your plate! Leanne 🙂

Tan September 21, 2019 - 7:48 am

OK great, this makes a lot of sense … thanks Leanne!

LH March 15, 2018 - 1:08 am

*A* brownie? Try a whole pan : )

Janet Taylor March 8, 2018 - 8:58 am

Hi Leanne
Not sure if it’s your oats breakfast that I’ve been having for the past week but I I certainly feel as though I’m loosing weight already.
Addionally, it definitely keeps me much fuller for longer which is probably helping me to reduce my snacking.
Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Leanne Ward March 8, 2018 - 2:17 pm

Hi Janet. That’s wonderful! The recipe is great due to the higher fibre content which in turn keeps you fuller for longer & helps reduce snacking. Glad you enjoyed it. I’ll be adding more recipe in the coming weeks so stay tuned (don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already!)


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