Total wellbeing and weight loss

  Published on October 7, 2022

Find a balance between physical and psychological wellbeing

Psychological and physical wellbeing are closely linked: if one suffers, the other suffers too.

And with that, weight loss isn’t just about diet, exercise, or the way your body looks – it's also about the way you feel about yourself and the way you look at the future.

And the benefits of physical activity go well beyond growing stronger muscles or earning marathon medals. There is something to be said for meeting your daily nutrition goals and how the two can play a huge role in your total wellbeing.

Mental health conditions, like depression, anxiety and stress, are partly caused by non-lifestyle factors like genetics and environment. But lifestyle factors – like physical activity, sleep and diet – can also contribute to mental health conditions or worsen their symptoms.

The good news is these behaviours can be modified and controlled.

Feed your gut happy

The gut is a pretty big deal. Its role in your body is to do far more than just digest what you eat; it prevents harmful substances from reaching the rest of your body, it houses most of your immune system, and it has a close relationship with your brain.

The gut and its trillions of microorganisms, called the microbiota, also produces over 80% of your body’s serotonin – the hormone that moderates your mood and happiness. Low levels of serotonin leads to low moods and depression. 

While gut research is still in its infancy, the consensus on how to keep it healthy is to maintain a diverse microbiota – lots of different types of microorganisms – by eating foods high in fibre. Consuming a mix of soluble fibre, insoluble fibre and readily fermentable fibre, as well as resistant starch is recommended. 

Eat more: Vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lentils.

Nutrition essentials

In the same way that eating lots of vitamin and mineral-rich foods benefits your physical health by warding of disease, making your skin glow and supporting your organs, they also offer great benefit to your brain and your mood.

Research shows that diets low in micronutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, magnesium, iron and zinc are associated with higher levels of depression and poor cognitive functioning.
A 2019 study in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine also mentions the link between diets high in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, and reduced rates of depression. Inflammation in the body is believed to be one of the biological causes of depression. Antioxidants, like those found in colourful fruits and veggies, help to reduce inflammation. A sustained intake of antioxidant-rich foods could play a role in the prevention of mental health conditions.

Eat more: Oily fish (salmon, sardines, barramundi), eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruit and whole grains.

Tip: When eating fruits and vegetables, remember to “eat the rainbow”. Different coloured produce will have different antioxidants in them, so eating a range of colours will ensure you get a whole range of plant nutrients!

Foods to avoid

Eating a whole lot of processed, high-sugar foods and foods high in saturated fat (think cookies, cakes, sausages, bacon) usually leaves your body feeling pretty sluggish. These foods can also have the same effect on your brain.

The effects of poor nutrition on mental health can be felt immediately: brain fog, poor concentration and memory issues. Long term, diets high in saturated fats and refined sugars stunt the growth of protective brain proteins, according to the Food and Mood Centre at Deakin University.

Processed foods that are high in added sugars and saturated fat also cause inflammation in the brain. These types of foods are also particularly gut-unfriendly, and lead to the growth of “bad” bacteria in your gut.

Eat less: Processed foods high in added sugars and saturated fats, refined carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta) and processed meats (sausages, bacon).

Weight loss and mental health

If you’re overweight or obese, eating a healthy and balanced diet for weight loss can also support your mental wellbeing. Obesity and depression have been shown to have a bidirectional relationship, that is, obesity can increase the risk of depression, while depression can increase the risk of obesity.

In a survey of over 3,000 CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet members, 46 percent of respondents reported improvements to their mental health conditions after completing the program. Many members also indicated improvements in their general mental wellbeing including their self-confidence, satisfaction, mood and body image.

How can the Total Wellbeing Lifestyle Plan help you?

If you’re at risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, or you’d like some help managing your conditions, the Total Wellbeing Lifestyle Plan is here to help.

The plan delivers:

  • 24 weeks of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet – a higher protein, low GI weight loss eating plan specially formulated by Australia’s national science agency.
  • 15 one-on-one Health Coaching sessions with an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
  • Digital health and weight loss tools to help you keep track of your food.
  • Weekly tutorials about health, weight loss, nutrition, exercise and mindset.
  • A simple exercise plan to gently build up your movement every day.
  • An active online community to encourage, support and motivate you.

If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight is one of the key ways to slow prediabetes or type 2 diabetes from progressing. And you don’t even need to lose a huge amount to see the positive effects either; research shows that losing just 5 percent of your body weight has benefits to your health. If you have more to lose, the more benefits you may see.

In a 2019 study of CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet members, 81 percent of respondents who lost the most weight saw improvements in their type 2 diabetes, compared to 35 percent in the lowest weight loss group.

Total Wellbeing Health Coaching sessions

The Total Wellbeing Lifestyle Plan also includes 15 one-on-one Total Wellbeing Health Coaching sessions, which will give you the opportunity to speak with an Accredited Practising Dietitian about your goals, lifestyle and diet. These sessions allow you to receive ongoing professional support with the plan, help to keep you motivated along the way and can keep you accountable for staying on-track.

Interested? Register your interest today

At Digital Wellness we work with CBHS, Westfund, Teachers Health, Uni Health, Nurses & Midwives Health and Police Health to help their members live happier healthier lives.

Depending on your BMI and level of hospital cover, you could be covered for the Total Wellbeing Lifestyle Plan.

Click on your health fund below to Register your interest in the Total Wellbeing Lifestyle Plan today.


Not with one of the above funds? Or don’t have hospital cover? No worries!

You could still enjoy the benefits of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet for free through our refunded program!

To motivate our members to stick to the diet, we offer a refund when you successfully complete and adhere to the 12 Week Program.

Members who receive a refund lose 28% more weight and report greater satisfaction and feeling of success than members who don't receive a refund. View refund conditions here.

Better yet, tacked prediabetes and type 2 diabetes with our tailored program that makes it easy for you to lose weight and improve your blood glucose. The 12 Week Program for Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes has everything you need to take control of your health, including advice on how diet affects blood glucose control.

Start your health journey and join today!

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