Healthy weight action plan

We also have a printable version of the action plan.

Simply, download and print the PDF version available below, review each action and tick the relevant columns. Make a start once you've chosen the actions you are ready to do now.  

Has your doctor told you that you need to lose weight?

If you need to lose weight

Make fresh foods the main part of your diet. Choose a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, lean meat, poultry and fish, unflavoured reduced fat dairy and plain unsalted nuts and legumes.

Make fresh foods the main part of your diet. Choose a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, lean meat, poultry and fish, unflavoured reduced fat dairy and plain unsalted nuts and legumes.

Variety is the key to healthy eating. When planning your meals for the week, make sure you include a variety of foods.

  • Plan your main meal around the vegetables. Add an extra serve of vegetables to each main meal.
  • Watch your portion size. Rice and pasta can be easy to over-serve. At your main meal keep to ½ to 1 cup (cooked) and load up instead on vegetables
  • Add legumes (beans, peas or lentils) to meat or poultry dishes – this adds more vegetables and makes the meat go further, saving money.
  • Include a handful (30 g) of nuts every day. Include as a snack or add to your favourite stir fry or breakfast cereal. 

Healthy snacks include chopped up vegetables and fruit, reduce fat plain yoghurt and nuts.

Check out our top heart-healthy eating tips and recipes for inspiration. 

Avoid discretionary/junk foods and drinks like cakes, biscuits, take away and fried foods, and sugar-sweetened drinks. 

Avoid discretionary/junk foods and drinks like cakes, biscuits, take away and fried foods, and sugar-sweetened drinks. 

These foods are high in salt, sodium and/or saturated fats. Avoid them by planning healthy main meals, and having healthy snacks on hand.

Keep healthy snacks on hand including chopped salad vegetables, a small handful of plain, unsalted nuts, or a pot of reduced fat natural yoghurt (plain or flavoured), snack on wholegrain or wholemeal crisp bread with sliced tomato and pepper.

Check out more of our healthy meal and snack ideas.

Choose smaller portion sizes. 

Choose smaller portion sizes. 

Watch your portion size.

  • Plan your meals around vegetables, aim to fill half your plate with a variety of coloured vegetables
  • Rice, pasta and potato can be easy to over-serve. At your main meal keep these carbohydrate-containing foods to ½ to one cup (cooked).
  • When choosing your meat, chicken or fish - look at your palm, judge its size and then compare it to a piece of meat before it goes onto your plate. If it’s the same size, you’re on the right track. 

For more information on ideal protein portions and grain food portions

Drink plain tap water, plain mineral water or soda water. 

Drink plain tap water, plain mineral water or soda water. 

Plain tap water is the best drink choice. It's cheap, quenches your thirst and has no kilojoules.

In addition to water, it’s fine to have these drinks in moderation:

  • plain mineral or soda water
  • unflavoured reduced fat milk
  • herbal tea
  • tea or coffee (regular or decaffeinated) with reduced fat milk.

It's also OK to have a small glass (125 ml) of 98% fruit or vegetable juice sometimes. Try adding sparkling or still water to make the drink last longer.

Buy a plastic water bottle so you can take your own water everywhere you go.

Read about healthy drink choices.

Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices and fruit juice drinks. 

Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices and fruit juice drinks. 

Sugary drinks are very high in sugar and kilojoules and provide no nutritional value. We recommend that all people avoid sugary drinks like:

  • soft drinks
  • cordial
  • fruit drinks (the ones that are less than 98% fruit juice)
  • sports drinks
  • energy drinks

Try adding chopped fresh fruit or vegetables to cold still or sparkling water for a refreshing drink, such as mint, lemon or cucumber.

Limit how much alcohol you drink. 

Limit how much alcohol you drink. 

Healthy men and women should drink no more than two standard drinks per day. For women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.

If you have a heart condition, you may need to have less than this. Talk with your doctor or health practitioner about what's right for you.

If you do drink, alternate your alcoholic drinks with low-kilojoule drinks, such as water, plain mineral water or soda water.

Learn more about alcohol measures and heart health.

Ask your doctor for a referral to an accredited practising dietitian.

Ask your doctor for a referral to an accredited practising dietitian.

A health professional can give advice and information that’s custom made for you. Dietitians are trained to advise on healthy foods and meals. They can help you with changes you may need to make to your eating patterns.

Find an accredited practicing dietician near you.

  • At least one action needs a decision made.

For everyone

Do at least 30 minutes of moderate- intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. 

Do at least 30 minutes of moderate- intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. 

This can be as simple as going for a brisk walk with a friend or joining a dance class.

Get tips on exercising after a heart attack.

Make fresh foods the main part of your diet. Choose a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, lean meat, poultry and fish, unflavoured reduced fat dairy and plain unsalted nuts and legumes. 

Make fresh foods the main part of your diet. Choose a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, lean meat, poultry and fish, unflavoured reduced fat dairy and plain unsalted nuts and legumes. 

Variety is the key to healthy eating. When planning your meals for the week, make sure you include a variety of foods.

  • Plan your main meal around the vegetables. Add an extra serve of vegetables to each main meal.
  • If you have pasta one night, go something else another night - try brown rice with fish, couscous with chicken, or steak with vegetables.
  • Add legumes (beans, peas or lentils) to meat or poultry dishes. This adds more vegetables and makes the meat go further, saving money.
  • Include a handful (30 g) of unsalted nuts every day. Have as a snack or add to your favourite stir fry or breakfast cereal. 

Healthy snacks include chopped up vegetables and fruit, reduce fat plain yoghurt and nuts.

Check out our top heart-healthy eating tips and recipes for inspiration. 

Sit less. 

Sit less. 

Try to break up the time you spend sitting as much as possible.  You could stand up and walk around during ad breaks on TV, or take regular breaks when driving long distances or working at a desk.

Get more tips for sitting less. 

  • At least one action needs a decision made.

Well done on making a great start. You're already doing many of these actions already. It's good to go back and check the things you're already doing. For example, use a food diary track your progress, whether it's actions you're already doing, or ready to do now.

The tips below can help you plan each step in your recovery.

Well done on making a great start. You're already doing many of these actions already. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress, whether it's actions you're already doing, or ready to do now.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on making a great start. You're already doing many of these actions already. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress, whether it's actions you're already doing, or ready to do now.

Don't worry about not being ready to take action on some things. Recovery is not a race. Remember every step you take counts.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on starting your action plan. It's great that you're ready to take action on so many things. Sometimes, it's challenging when you have a long list of things to do. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress as you go.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on making a start. It's great that you're ready to take action on so many things. Sometimes, it's challenging when you have a long list of things to do. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress as you go.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

It's great that you're ready to take action on so many things. Sometimes, it's challenging when you have a long list of things to do. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress as you go.

Don't worry about not being ready to take action on some things. Recovery is not a race. Remember every step you take counts.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on starting your action plan. Making a plan is an important step in your recovery. Even though you don't feel ready to make a start with most actions, don't worry. Recovery is not a race. Every step you take counts – even if it's just one.

Take your time. The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

Well done on making a start. Making a plan is an important step in your recovery. Even though you don't feel ready to make a start with most actions, don't worry. Recovery is not a race. Every step you take counts – even if it's just one.

Take your time. The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

Well done on starting your action plan. It's great that you're ready to take action, no matter how many steps you're ready to take action on.

Making a plan is an important step in your recovery.

Even though you don't feel ready to make a start with most actions, don't worry. Recovery is not a race. Every step you take counts – even if it's just one.

Take your time. The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

Already doing this

You haven’t selected anything that you’re ‘already doing’. Don’t worry, just choose something you’re ‘ready to do now’ and focus on that. If you need advice, you can call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 1300 36 27 87.

You’ve already started these actions. Great work. When you get started, keep track of your progress using a diary and the will become part of your routine in no time.

You’ve already started these actions. Great work. Keep track of your progress using a diary and the will become part of your routine in no time.

Ready to do now

You haven’t selected anything that you’re ‘ready to do now’. If you’re not sure what to do next, talk to a friend, your health care professional about steps you can take to improve your heart health. If you need advice, you can call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 1300 36 27 87.

It’s great you’re ready to start this action. Take your time getting it right, then select a new action to try. The tip below can help you make this action plan work for you.

It’s great you’re ready to start these actions. Take your time getting them right, then select a new action to try. The tips below can help you make this action plan work for you.

Not ready yet / Undecided

You haven’t selected anything you’re ‘not ready to do’. Well done, it looks like you’re making great progress. Follow the tips above for things you’re ‘ready to do now’. If you need a new challenge, ask a health care professional about more ways to improve your heart health. If you need advice, you can call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 1300 36 27 87.

You’ve listed the below item as something you’re not ready to do yet. Give this action a try when you’re ready.

You’ve listed the below items as something you’re not ready to do yet or you may not have selected it at all. Give one of these actions a try when you’re ready

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Healthy weight action plan (pdf)

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