BIG CHANGE: Nicole Connolly lost 10kg after she changed her eating and exercise habits.
BIG CHANGE: Nicole Connolly lost 10kg after she changed her eating and exercise habits. Tegan Annett

Healthy approach the key to weight loss

EATING better allowed healthy living coach Nicole Connolly to shed 10kg in six weeks.

She tried several diets, including sugar-free, carb-free and low-fat, but nothing worked.

So, she worked out what foods do and don't agree with her body and now she eats only whole foods that are gluten-free.

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"I went from struggling to get out of bed in the morning to waking up before the alarm," she said.

"I have clearer skin, brighter eyes and more energy."

Mrs Connolly's exercise regime now includes yoga and two cardio sessions each week of cycling or walking.

She also hosts cooking classes featuring a range of healthy treats for Christmas.

"My principle, if I don't know what's in it, I don't eat it," she said.

But many Queenslanders are still eating too much junk food, according to The Health of Queenslanders Report 2014.

"On average at least one third of daily energy intake is from these discretionary foods that are energy-dense with no nutritional value," Queensland Health chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said.

"This applies to the whole Queensland population - from children as young as two years of age through to people in their 70s and older," 

The report also found about one quarter of all deaths are directly or indirectly associated with dietary risks.

"We need to look at ways to be more active," Dr Young said.

"One in eight adults usually sits for seven or more hours each day and one in three children spend two or more hours of recreational screen time every day."

Small changes add up to big results

SMALL healthy decisions every day will make you feel healthier, happier and fitter according to personal trainer Katie Penrose and naturopath Michael Smith.

"It's about eating well and sweating the small stuff," Ms Penrose said.

"Think about the little things you can do every day to get your heart-rate up."

She said going for a walk in your lunchbreak, push-ups at home, gardening, jogging or swimming all counted.

"And ditch the diet," she said. "You need energy to exercise and if you are eating healthy food you don't necessarily need to eat less."

For naturopath Michael Smith eating well is as simple as increasing vegetable intake, and avoiding processed foods.

"Everyone can start by eating more real foods. If it's in a packet buy something else," he said.

"Fat is not the reason that people are unhealthy or overweight. Our bodies need good fats."

Mr Smith said making small changes would get the ball rolling and as you start feeling healthier your body will crave better food.

"Eating well can also help prevent a range of illness later in life."