Many Australians are overweight – in fact, as much as 10.8 million of us are carrying excess weight, according to the latest statistics by the National Health Reporting Authority for the Council of Australian Governments.

The fact remains: the best way to stay slim to the point where you lose more than a kilogram a week is to adopt eating habits you can sustain throughout your life – and, of course, to go for those regular brisk walks.

It’s that old story we all know: if you consume more kilojoules than you use or burn, you’ll gain weight and, of course, vice versa. But you should never restrict your kilojoule intake to the point where you lose more than a kilogram a week. This gives your body the message that it’s starving – a defence mechanism kicks in and your body clings to every last fat cell.

We share six easy tips to transform your kilojoule intake:

1. If you have a sweet tooth, try limiting sweet treats to one day a week

Remember, a 250ml helping of baked pudding contains about 3,603kJ, two scoops of ice cream about 2,121kJ and 100g of chocolate about 2,310kJ.

You'll save at least 7,200kJ a week if you have baked pudding once instead of three times a week.

Your weight: You could lose almost 1kg a month.

2. Stay away from meat pies

A typical café-size pie packs 2,520 – 2,940kJ and other foods fried in fat or oil, including crisps (2,394kJ per 100g), hot chips (2,587kJ per 200g) and deep-fried calamari, chicken or fish (about 2,268kJ per 200g). Rather grill your chicken and fish.

You'll save about 17,500kJ a week if you limit these foods to once a week, rather than indulging every day.

Your weight: You could lose more than 2kg a month.

3. Do you eat a handful of nuts or thick slices of yellow cheese every day?

Limit the nuts to once a week and eat as little yellow cheese as possible. A block of yellow cheese contains as much fat as the same size block of chocolate.

You'll save 7,200kJ a week.

Your weight: You could lose almost 1kg a month.

4. Have breakfast

Instead of two fried eggs bacon and toast go for a bowl of porridge or breakfast cereal with fat-free or low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt and two helpings of fruit.

You'll save:  4,704kJ a week.

Your weight: You could lose 0,6 to 1,2kg a month.

5. Swap full cream milk or yoghurt for the low fat or fat free options and substitute all cheese with low fat cottage cheese

You need about three portions of dairy products a day (one portion is a glass of milk, a small yoghurt or two tablespoons of cottage cheese) to provide you with enough calcium for healthy bones.

You’ll save about 5,900kJ a week if you replace three portions of full-cream dairy products with their fat-free counterparts and about 2,600kJ if you choose low-fat over full-cream.

Your weight: You could lose 1kg in two months if you opt for fat-free or 1kg in four months if you go the low-fat route.

6. Remove the fat from red meat and the skin from chicken

You'll save: 4,000kJ a week if you apply this rule every day to every serving of meat.

Your weight: You could lose 0,5 to 1kg per month.

Fat-seeking missiles!

And then: some foods are simply loaded with kilojoules. Here are some rather surprising examples:

    • 1 handful of peanuts = 1,680kJ = 150g fillet steak with salad and a low-fat dressing

    • 3 pieces of cheddar cheese (each the size of a matchbox) = 1,600kJ = 180g tipsy tart = 1½ plates of grilled calamari and rice

    • 200g hot chips made from 2 potatoes = 2,600kJ = 7 - 8 medium size cooked potatoes

    • 1 large packet of crisps = 2,234kJ = 200g roast chicken, rice vegetables and salad

    • 4 beers = 2,216kJ = 27cm nougat = 4 sandwiches, each with ham, cottage cheese and tomato

Compiled with the assistance of Dr Ingrid van Heerden, a registered dietician.

Image via Thinkstock