Follow Jocelyn’s 12-week journey on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.

How to lose weight at Christmas with CSIRO

Signing up for the 12-Week CSIRO diet plan online in the lead-up to Christmas may not have been my smartest move ever… it can be tough bypassing all the delicious treats we’ve become accustomed to over the years.

But I’m no stranger to taking on challenges. Memories of feeling bloated after previous Boxing Days were inspiration enough!

In my first week of the program, starting on 3 November 2022, I gained 0.3 kg, despite sticking rigidly to my menu plan.

However, because I was already familiar with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, having been a devotee since the organisation published its first book in 2005, I knew the science worked and happily chose to trust the experts.

At the end of the second week, my bathroom scales showed I’d lost 0.6 kg. That’s a total loss of 0.3 kg since starting.

I still have a long way to go to reach my target of losing 8 kg over the 12-week program, but it’s a start.

My 0.6 kg loss in the past week happened despite dining out twice during that time… once for a Christmas function and the other for a birthday celebration.

So, if I’m so familiar with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, why did I feel the need to sign up for the 12-week online program over the festive season?

I blame it on me being a Socialiser!

***Disclosure: As a CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through ads and links on this page.***

Dining out is a breeze while following the CSIRO diet plan guidelines… I enjoyed this Grilled Tasmanian Salmon at Portside Cafe and Restaurant in Maryborough at a Christmas gathering and still lost .6 kg that week. Portside won the Best Restaurant or Cafe category of the recently announced 2022 Fraser Coast Business and Tourism Awards. 

CSIRO diet plan - King prawns with avo and watermelon salad.

In the same week, I enjoyed this King Prawns with Avo and Watermelon Salad at Salt Cafe Urangan while celebrating a friend’s birthday. Salt Cafe Urangan, Hervey Bay, was runner-up in the Best Restaurant or Cafe category of the recently announced 2022 Fraser Coast Business and Tourism Awards.

CSIRO Diet Types

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to diets. The CSIRO has developed diet plans that cater specifically to the eating habits of different personalities and their eating habits.

Whether you’re a Socialiser, Battler, Craver, Foodie, Pleaser, or Thinker, there’s something for everyone on the CSIRO diet!

According to a CSIRO diet quiz, I’m a Socialiser, which doesn’t come as any great surprise to me!

I generally eat and drink more when I’m socialising, and less when I’m home alone.

Their definition of a Socialiser goes like this:

“The Socialiser is a person who is often in the company of friends and family, which can lead them into temptation a little too often so that it affects their health or weight-related goals.

“Overeating and consuming too much alcohol at social gatherings has been seen as an occupational hazard for these types.

“Socialisers need flexibility when tackling our eating plan that allows the freedom to enjoy our social life.”

Hmmm… sounds familiar, lol.

Aside from my goal of losing 8 kg in 12 weeks, if all goes to plan I shouldn’t be struggling as much to shed unwanted kilos when the New Year gets underway.

What does the CSIRO diet plan say about dining out?

If you’re dining out or don’t want to follow the provided meal plans, but still want to achieve the same results, you can choose to go “freestyle” on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet program.

CSIRO provides a basic template based on the program’s food groups.

On the program, you’re encouraged to eat a set amount of food units per day, e.g. on Level 1, it’s Meat/Protein 2.5 units, Breads Cereals 3 units, Vegetables 2.5 units, Fruits 2 units, Diary 3 units, and Healthy Fats/Oils 3 units.

When freestyling, you should meet the same daily requirements with the meals you choose.

Once you’re familiar with the units and proportion sizes, it’s easier to make good choices when dining out at a restaurant or with friends and family.

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online program is also flexible with your indulgences and menu plans.


The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet’s favourite food group is indulgences, which are foods that provide little nutrition but are loved to eat.

It’s the top area in which most people can improve their diet.

  • The average Australian eats 6-8 indulgence units per day. On the TWD program, you’re allowed 1 indulgence per day (or 2 on level 3 of the program).
  • What makes food an indulgence is its overall nutritional properties. Examples include high kilojoule/calorie foods, high saturated fat and/or sodium foods, or low nutritional quality foods.
  • You can have more than one indulgence a day, but not more than 7 in a week (or 14 if on level 3 of the program). Alcohol is an exception to this rule and you’re allowed 2 standard drinks, however consuming 7 indulgences of alcohol at one time is not recommended.

My CSIRO diet plan favourites this week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

CSIRO Diet Plan - eggs on toast breakfast

One breakfast I chose this week was the CSIRO diet plan’s Cheesy Zucchini Slaw with Eggs on Toast.

CSIRO diet plan - Mint & feta salad

This Mint & Feta Salad was on the menu for lunch at my place this week, following the CSIRO diet plan.


CSIRO diet plan - chargrilled steak with beetroot salad

Another of my home-cooked meals from the CSIRO diet plan this week was this Chargrilled Steak with Beetroot Salad.


Click here to follow my journey from Day 1.

CSIRO Menu Plans

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online program offers a variety of menu plans, including:

  • The Protein Balance Boost, Power, Plus, and Basic plans; the Gut Health Menu Plan; the Diabetes Menu Plan; the Gluten Free Menu Plan; the Diabetes Menu Plan; and the Gluten Free Menu Plan.
  • There’s also the original 12-week Total Wellbeing Diet Menu Plan, and the Freedom Menu Plan that’s designed to suit your social calendar, giving you the freedom to eat out and do your own thing using the principles of the TWD.
  • A selection of second 12-week plans is available for the Protein Balance Boost, Protein Balance 2 Menu Plan, and Gut Health 2 Menu Plan.
  • The Ultra Foodie Menu Plan is an advanced menu plan for cooking lovers who are interested in exploring new meals.

Each menu plan has its own benefits that are explained in detail when you join the program.

I’ve stayed with the Protein Balance Boost plan, which CSIRO automatically places all members on until they make their own choices.

The Protein Balance Boost plan is a new menu designed to help boost mood and wellbeing with a focus on high protein spread throughout the day.

CSIRO scientists believe that higher protein diets are scientifically proven to boost fat loss.

When you distribute your food evenly across main meals and snacks, cravings go away, or at least they’re much less intense, which makes it easier for people following these types of plans to maintain their weight.

CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Complete Recipe Collection

CSIRO diet plan - recipe book

On joining the CSIRO’s ‘Premium 12-Week Program with Coaching’ plan, I received a copy of the CSIRO Complete Recipe Collection book. It’s also available for purchase by clicking on this photo and following the link.

Want to sample CSIRO recipes before joining?

If you’d like to try recipes from the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet before joining the online program, a selection of free recipes is available at:

You can also join the Three-Day Taster program, which includes samples of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet menu and exercise plans, and an overview of their tools that will help you lose weight and feel better.

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (TWD) online program is a nutritionally balanced higher protein, low GI diet designed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Glycemic Index (GI) Foundation. This healthy eating plan combined with exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

My CSIRO diet is off to a shaky start!

Don’t you hate it when you follow a diet plan to the letter and you put on weight? Well, me too!

Week One of my CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet 12-week journey is done and I’m 0.3kg heavier than when I started on 3 November 2022 at 68.5kg.

However, rather than give up on the popular diet that has attracted more than a million book sales in Australia and overseas, I’m keen to “trust the science” and jump right in for more!

I’ve been impressed with the overall program which includes not only meal and exercise plans but also comprehensive guides, tutorials, a digital weight tracker, forums, and coaching.

The extra 0.3kg I gained in the first week, I expect, is because I was eating too little before!

For example, previously an average breakfast for me was two Weet-bix (no added sugar) with 250ml low-fat milk and two tablespoons of either sultanas or a few fresh blueberries.

Whereas the Mango Ginger Smoothie for breakfast in Week 1 of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has 1 cup frozen or fresh mango, 25g rolled oats, a 170g tub of low-fat Greek yogurt, 250ml low-fat milk, two teaspoons fresh ginger, and a heaped teaspoon of peanut butter (no added sugar).

Without counting the kilojoules for each breakfast, I can easily see the latter has more than the former.

The quantity of most other meals on the menu has also been more than I’d normally consume.

However, my decision to join the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet program online wasn’t based solely on losing weight and toning my body.

It was also about improving my overall health and well-being with a more consistent eating plan that allows me to spend more time doing what I love than worrying about what’s next for dinner.

And, I’m pleased to say that even within the first week, my quality of sleep has improved somewhat!

***Disclosure: As a CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through ads and links on this page.***

Mango Ginger Smoothie: a taste of childhood nostalgia

The Mango Ginger Smoothie for breakfast was a great way to start my CSIRO Total journey, evoking a foodie memory.

CSIRO Diet - Mango Ginger Smoothie

My Mango Ginger Smoothie.

The recipe included Peanut Butter—my favourite childhood treat!

It’s a good thing I’m not allergic to peanuts. However, I’m sure my parents would have saved a lot on the weekly shopping bill had that been so.

I recall at one stage Mum lamenting that my excessive consumption of Peanut Paste (as we knew it then) was blowing out the shopping budget!

In my defense, it was all the fault of a simple recipe we called Peanut Candy–equal quantities (usually two tablespoons) of Peanut Paste, powdered milk, and honey, mixed to a consistency similar to Playdough.

We’d either roll the mixture into balls or press it into a flat tray and cut it into squares.

As a mother, serving “Candy Balls” to my three children most days after school as a special treat. More recently, I’ve introduced it to my grandchildren and they love it too.

I understand Mum found the Peanut Candy recipe in a book written by Phyllis Dorothy Cilento, Lady Cilento, an Australian medical practitioner, prominent medical journalist, and pioneering advocate of family planning in Queensland.

Mum was a home economics teacher with a passion for nutrition. She was, and at 91 years of age still is, a proud devotee of Lady Cilento. Mum recommended several of her books to me in high school and as I raised my own children.

According to Medical News Today, peanut butter contains nutrients that may boost a person’s heart health and improve blood sugar levels. However, it is high in calories or kilojoules and fat, so people should enjoy it in moderation.

Peanuts are also a good source of protein and a small quantity of Candy Balls goes a long way toward satisfying the hungry bellies of children.

Learning from the experts at CSIRO

On Day One of my CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, I woke to an email from the CSIRO diet team welcoming me to the program and giving me an overview of the tools I’d be using in the coming weeks.

There was also a Start Strong Interactive Guide to set me on the right path.

I’m to receive a similar email with more information at the start of each week, and reminders to weigh myself and record the result in the weight tracker.

I can also watch new videos each week on different health and well-being topics.

The easiest meal planner I’ve ever used

This CSIRO meal planner has to be the easiest I’ve ever used. It has everything I need to make my cooking and shopping experiences easy.

With the meal swap function, I can easily customize my plan to suit any dietary preferences. The CSIRO diet provides me with alternatives that closely match the nutrient levels for each dish.

There are also some great features like viewing nutrition information or food groups, which helps me keep track of what exactly goes into my body.

A shopping list is also on the meal plan page that displays all foods I require for my chosen period. I can choose quantities for one, three, or seven days, and multiply the list if I’m catering for just me or a family visit.

If I’ve swapped meals, the system automatically changes food items on this shopping list.

The handy tool also comes with downloadable PDFs too, making my life easier. If I’m going away or don’t like using my computer or mobile phone in the kitchen while cooking, I can simply print my PDF plan instead.

And, that’s not all…

A recipe finder makes it easy to search for new meals based on simple keywords by name (brownies), ingredient (raspberries), or category (desserts).

The finder also shows me the nutritional information about each dish listed, so there’s no guesswork involved when trying something different.

Monitoring food, exercise, and mood

CSIRO’s food, exercise, and weight trackers are great ways to monitor what I eat, how much exercise I’m doing, and how my mood improves.

To the food and exercise tracker, I can add meals the meals I’ve chosen, my exercise sessions, steps for the day, and how many glasses of water I’ve had.

There’s also a weekly indulgence graph so I can keep track of my treats across the week.

The weight tracker is more than just a scale. It tracks my moods and allows me to upload photos so I can watch the progress I’m making.

I can also track my measurements with every weigh-in if I want to.

Get fit anywhere

CSIRO Diet - lady lifting free weights

Getting fit in my lounge room.

The CSIRO diet exercise plans are designed to be performed anywhere, whether at home, in the park, or gym.

Big photos and easy-play videos make it quick for me to add the workouts to my tracker.

I can also view the calories or kilojoules burned for each session and get a complete transcript of instructions for the entire workout.

Improving nutrition knowledge

CSIRO diet has comprehensive, interactive program tutorials that help members learn the basics of the diet and improve their knowledge of nutrition.

I have access to every week of material from the first week of my program – all in one place!

Click here to follow my journey from Day 1.

Want to sample CSIRO recipes before joining?

If you’d like to try recipes from the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet before joining the online program, a selection of free recipes is available at:

You can also join the Three-Day Taster program, which includes samples of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet menu and exercise plans, and an overview of their tools that will help you lose weight and feel better.

Or, buy the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Complete Recipe Collection

CSIRO diet complete recipe collection

Feature photo: CSIRO’s Egg ‘Fried’ Rice.

Seventeen years ago, I spearheaded a media campaign to help people on the Fraser Coast to lose weight and get fit. Since then, there have been few bumps in the road and I’ve gain a few unwanted kilos. Now I’m on a mission to regain my healthy lifestyle and the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is my plan of attack. It’s based on scientific evidence and it’s flexible enough to fit into my busy lifestyle. Plus, I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences – feel free to leave a comment below!

I’m on a mission to regain my healthy lifestyle

In 2005, health services across the Fraser Coast were feeling the weight of a serious obesity problem, so the region’s newspaper joined forces with the district health service to launch a weight-loss campaign.

Titled Get it Off with the Chronicle, the year-long campaign included hundreds of features and articles written in consultation with leading experts to encourage “tubbies” to eat better and exercise more.

Maryborough and Hervey Bay chambers of commerce also came on board.

Editor Nancy Bates assigned me, arguably one of the fittest and healthiest Fraser Coast Chronicle journalists of the day, to champion the cause.

It was a valiant effort by everyone involved, but the lasting impact it had locally is unclear. What is known, however, is that 17 years later, obesity rates worldwide continue to soar.

World Health Organisation statistics published in June 2021 show obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.

  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 39 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2020.
  • Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Obesity is preventable.Source: World Health Organisation

Research also shows that illnesses brought on by obesity – stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc – are preventable.

I have to admit that I too am not as fit and healthy as I was in 2005.

healthy - swimmer

Jocelyn, 2007

A few of life’s curveballs have thrown me off course, but my stance on living a healthy lifestyle is as strong as ever and I’m determined to get back on track.

That’s why I’ve joined the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and plan to lose at least eight kilograms over the 12-week program.

In documenting my journey, my plan is to follow up the Get it Off campaign with current stories and information to encourage others to live healthier lifestyles.

And what better way than with the help of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing program?

It’s easy to follow and fits perfectly into most people’s lifestyles.

Plus, their recipes are delicious! Today is Day One. Are you with me?


***Disclosure: As a CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through ads on this page.***


healthy - woman in gym gear

CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet – Day 1

Why choose the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet?

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is a high-protein, low-fat diet that’s packed with whole foods and has only moderate amounts of low GI carbohydrates.

This guide helps you eat less without feeling hungry, providing an easy-to-follow plan that includes all of the necessary vitamins and nutrients for good health.

First published by Penguin in May 2005 (five months after Get It Off with the Chronicle was launched), it is now one of Australia’s best-selling diet and lifestyle plans with more than a million copies sold.

The first book was a sensation, and since then several more books have been published.

They include the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Book 2, which introduces a new exercise program, the Diet Recipe Book, Fast and Fresh Recipes, Recipes on a Budget, and the Complete Recipe Collection.

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is also online with thousands of recipes, flexible meal plans, and online tools to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

To join the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online, it costs $199 (AUD) for the 12 Week Program or $299 for the 12 Week Program with Coaching. Refunds upon successful completion are available (conditions apply).

Optional extras include two coaching sessions, a women’s health and nutrition guide, a resistance band, and the recipe collection.

I’ve chosen the 12-Week Program with Coaching.

After joining the program

When you join the CSIRO Total Wellbeing program, you get exclusive access to delicious meal plans, recipes, tutorials, and digital tools, to help you lose weight while improving your diet.

After joining and setting up my profile today, Tuesday 1 November, I was relieved to find out I had two days in which to prepare for starting the diet on Wednesday. That gives me time to review the week’s recipes and go shopping tomorrow.

I was also able to choose my preferred program – the standard 12 Week Program. It’s a higher protein, low GI diet designed for maximum weight loss and appetite control.

For people with diagnosed health conditions, there are several options from which they can choose – High Blood Pressure, High cholesterol, Joint Pain, and Type 2 Diabetes/Prediabetes.

Then there’s the Meal Plan. The online program pre-selected the Protein Balance Boost plan for me. It’s a higher protein menu with protein evenly spread across the day to help boost my mood and wellbeing.

Simple and delicious meals following our much-loved higher protein menu plan with protein evenly spread across the day to help boost your mood and wellbeing. If I wish, I can swap meals to suit my food, lifestyle, or seasonal preferences.

Other meal plan options include Simple, Protein Balance Power, Protein Balance Plus, Protein Balance Basic, Protein Balance, Gut Health, Total Wellbeing, Freedom, Gluten Free, and Diabetes.

I registered my starting weight at 68.6 kg with my goal to be 60 kg by the end of the 12 Week Program. That would be a loss of 8.6kg. However, the AI coach estimated I could comfortably lose 6.7kg if I was super-focused and diligently followed the program for the 12 weeks.

That means I’ve already overestimated what’s possible! Time will tell!

To give me the best chance of achieving my goal, the AI coach recommended I follow the meal plan, track my food and drinks, and weighed myself weekly.


If you’re interested in the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and are keen to follow my progress, click here to follow my foodie journey on the CSIRO program.


healthy - news report