A Deep Dive into the CSIRO Fast Start Program

Guiding Paths: From ‘domestic science’ legacy to the CSIRO Fast Start program

AS A girl of around 12 or 13, I was about to go bush on a Girl Guide camp when the adventure and my family’s connection to home economics, and eventually to the CSIRO, unexpectedly crossed paths.

The thrill arose when I discovered a visiting leader was not just a Guide leader but also a domestic science teacher. The term ‘domestic science’ was a forerunner to the ‘home economics’ teacher title my mother proudly held as well.

Little did I know the connection would resonate today as I embarked on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet’s Fast Start program.

Back then, I thought I was one step ahead of the other girls in being able to impress the visiting leader. I’d been hearing about vitamins and minerals for as long as I could remember, so figured I knew more about good nutrition than the average kid.

While packing my rucksack, I proudly announced to Mum that I was also taking some vitamin pills with me to have at breakfast.

There were plenty of vitamin and mineral supplements in the fridge; everything from Vitamins C and D to Calcium and Cod Liver Oil.

We lived in Outback Queensland and vitamin supplies in our town were non-existent, so Mum regularly had them sent via mail order from Sydney.

She was quick with her reply.

“That’s not a good idea,” Mum said. “You’re supposed to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from the foods you eat.”

Whoops! Well, that was an early lesson in the pros and cons of taking vitamin supplements!

In hindsight, I realise that not only were vitamins in short supply in the Outback back then, but also good quality fresh fruit and vegetables could be difficult to purchase in the hot, dry climate.

It makes sense to me now that our food didn’t always measure up to good nutrition standards, hence Mum resorted to using supplements.

But for a home economics teacher having her daughter rock up at a Girl Guide camp with a stash of vitamin tablets for breakfast probably wasn’t a good look!

Shaking up nutrition: CSIRO’s quest for well-being

When my CSIRO Fast Start program pack arrived, revealing a three-week supply of neatly packaged shakes, I recalled Mum’s wise words.

Checking the nutritional details on the packets felt like reading a comprehensive list akin to what you find on multi-vitamin labels. These powdered ‘multi-vitamins’ are designed to be mixed with milk, creating shakes.

It led me to ponder: why would the CSIRO, a reputable scientific organisation, invest in developing the Fast Start program? Especially considering the longstanding consensus among nutrition experts that healthy foods should be our primary source of nutrients.

The intriguing juxtaposition of this scientifically crafted program and traditional nutritional wisdom sparked my curiosity, prompting me to delve deeper into the rationale behind this innovative approach to wellbeing.

CSIRO Fast Start Program - food and shake packs on a bench

The Fast Start program offers members the option of using meal-replacement shakes before transitioning to the standard high protein, low GI whole foods program. Photo: CSIRO

***Jocelyn Magazine is proud to be affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet. When you sign up for their program by clicking one of their links on our site, we’ll receive a little something in return. Your support enables us to continue publishing content that we hope will inspire and help you live healthier and happier.***

Tackle cravings with the CSIRO Fast Start program

CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, conducted research addressing a significant challenge in successful dieting: cravings.

A survey revealed that 66% of participants struggled to resist cravings, and 82% believed weight loss would be easier without cravings.

In response, CSIRO launched its Fast Start program as an alternative for overweight Australians seeking sustainable, safe, and healthy diet changes.

The program involves a three-week partial meal replacement and a transition to CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet’s high protein, low-GI whole foods plan.

Participants using meal-replacement shakes lost an average of 4.1kg in the first three weeks, with 80% reporting improved craving control.

By week six, the average weight loss was 5.9 kg, two-thirds achieved clinically significant weight loss, and confidence in resisting cravings increased by 19%.

CSIRO Research Scientist Dr Gilly Hendrie emphasised the need for diverse approaches to healthy weight loss, noting they supported transition from meal replacements to a wholefoods diet can facilitate weight loss, promote healthy eating habits, and address individual needs.

The Fast Start program provides members with meal-replacement shakes, followed by full support through the Total Wellbeing Diet program’s tools, including trackers, Positive Psychology tools, and a community.

The approach aims to offer a sustainable weight loss journey by helping individuals transition to a wholefoods diet.

Deb empowered by CSIRO shakes

CSIRO Fast Start Program - womand standing at a kitchen bench

CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet member, Deb Elfenbein, from Adelaide. Photo by NV Photography 2021.

CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet member, Deb Elfenbein from Adelaide reinforced the importance of starting a weight loss journey well, crediting the Fast Start program in helping her achieve her 18.9kg weight loss.

“The meal replacement shakes really curbed my cravings during the often challenging first three weeks of a program. The shakes were easy and convenient, and filled me up, so it was easy to say no to office morning teas and end-of-week takeaways.

“The transition to the wholefoods program was also critical in me not falling off the wagon, and I was able to keep that confidence and drive with the help of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing tools. All of the good habits I’ve learnt are now second nature. I know suitable portion sizes, and how much exercise I should be aiming for each day.

“Losing the weight early made the process more motivating and I had such a great weight loss that I was focused on continuing my weight loss journey and didn’t have any cravings. I knew if this was going to work then the cravings were no longer an option.”

Click here to find out more about the Fast Start program.

Fast Start program paves the way to a healthier, balanced you

Given that I stacked on three kilograms in the lead-up to Christmas 2023, getting a jumpstart to returning to a more manageable weight quickly is worth giving CSIRO’s Fast Start program a go.

While the festive season can often lead to a few extra kilograms, the prospect of reclaiming a healthier and more manageable weight quickly is an enticing one.

The Fast Start program emerges as a promising solution, allowing people to kick-start their weight-loss journey with the convenience of meal replacement shakes before seamlessly transitioning into a balanced high-protein, low-GI whole foods regimen.

What sets this program apart is the comprehensive support provided through the Total Wellbeing Diet program, offering a range of tools, such as the food and exercise tracker, Positive Psychology resources, and access to a supportive community.

Embarking on this journey promises a return to a healthier weight and the empowerment and tools necessary for sustained well-being.

As we bid farewell to the excesses of the festive season, the Fast Start program beckons as a tangible and effective pathway to a fitter, healthier self.

CSIRO Fast Start Program

Members are fully supported by the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet program’s full suite of tools, including the food and exercise tracker, Positive Psychology tools and the CSIRO TWD community. Photo: CSIRO

Published 3 January 2024


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