SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Weight management services are offered by accredited practising dietitians, GPs, commercial weight loss programs and kilojoule-controlled meal providers.
- Always consult with your GP before starting with any weight management service.
- A reputable weight management service encourages you to lose weight slowly and safely, and offers advice on how to keep to a healthy weight for the long term.
- Staying at your most comfortable weight can be achieved by focusing on a balanced lifestyle – combining healthy foods, in appropriate portion sizes, with regular exercise.
If you are aiming to lose weight, choose your weight management service with care. Some commercial weight loss programs offer safe weight management and lifestyle suggestions to their clients. Others may rely on unproven or unhealthy methods.
Aiming for weight loss may not be feasible for you at this time. Ensure to consult a healthcare professional when the time is right for you. Receiving professional assistance for behaviour change can help you successfully achieve your goals.
Talk to your GP about weight management services
Your GP knows your medical history and can either discuss suitable weight loss strategies or recommend an accredited practising dietitian.
It’s important to speak with your GP before starting any weight loss program. This is especially important if you take any form of prescription medicine or if you have a pre-existing condition, such as:
- all types of including , and
- digestive system disorders such as
- heart conditions, or
- an (or a history of disordered eating)
- gall bladder problems such as
Advice about weight management services
Choosing a dietitian
Accredited practising dietitians are recognised professionals who can provide expert nutrition and dietary advice. Dietitians can guide you to sound food and health information that is specific to your individual needs.
You can contact a dietitian in various ways, including:
- Your GP may recommend and refer you to a suitable dietitian.
- Your council can provide a list of local dietitians.
- There may be a dietitian based at your local community health service.
- You can use Dietitians Australia’s ‘’ search function.
Choosing a reputable weight management service
Generally speaking, a good weight management service will:
- Aim to improve overall health, such as lowering , and reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- Encourage a balanced approach to , including foods from all of the core food groups and in appropriate portion sizes.
- Cater to your individual requirements.
- Focus on decreasing body fat (for example, waist measurement), not just total body weight.
- Include , most days of the week.
- Advise against a daily energy intake of less than 5,000 kJ (or 1,200 calories per day).
- Recommend a gradual weight loss of around one to 4 kilograms a month to begin with, and aim for 10 to 20% loss of total body weight in the longer term (if required).
- Welcome input from your GP or healthcare professional.
- Advise on how to improve long-term eating and exercise habits.
- Offer ongoing support with your weight management, even when you have achieved your target weight.
- Offer details on all fees and costs of additional items.
- Give clear information on the refund policy.
Weight management services to avoid
Don't use a weight management service that advises you to:
- Cut out one or more of the major food groups.
- Replace food with powders or supplements.
- Encourage short-term changes to eating behaviours, rather than longer-term, sustainable changes.
- Use unproven or unsafe equipment such as saunas, passive exercise machines, diuretics and body wraps.
- Focus on rapid weight loss, but doesn't include any guidance on how to maintain a healthy weight in the long term.
- Sign up without being clear about all fees and costs of additional items.
- Sign up without offering you clear information about their refund policy.
- Consult with social media sites for weight management and health advice.
If you decide to start a very low energy diet (VLED) using meal replacement shakes, bars or soups, consult a dietitian to make sure you:
- Are still meeting all your nutritional requirements.
- Have ongoing support to continue the program.
- Have access to advice for returning to your regular eating pattern to minimise significant weight regain.
Choosing a kilojoule-controlled meal service
When choosing a home-delivered meal service, make sure that the service offers:
- A written health warning about the dangers of rapid weight loss, including the suggestion to consult with your doctor.
- Detailed written information on the services offered, including delivery arrangements and the nutritional value of the meals.
- Clear information on all costs, including delivery charges.
- The option to cancel after 5 days, including a pro rata refund.
Making a complaint about a weight management service
If you are unhappy with a weight management service, make a complaint to the company. If you are unsatisfied with the response or outcome, you can take the complaint further.
Depending on the weight management service chosen, you could contact:
- – this is a government body that can also advise about such complaints.
- – regarding complaints about accredited practising dietitians.