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Setting your nutrition goals for the New Year

Setting goals for the year ahead is a smart way to stay more mindful about what you eat, as well as address minor (or major) issues that cause you discomfort or anxiety. Setting nutrition goals is increasingly common although most tend to be triggered by a desire to lose weight, which is as good a reason as any to improve your diet.

Like all New Year resolutions, its easy to set goals that may be positive, but so ambitious that even the most hearty might find them difficult to achieve. When it comes to nutrition or weight loss goals, my advice is to be kind to yourself as well as specific about what you want.

For example, rather than promise that this year is going to be the year that you get fit and lose weight instead decide what being fit might feel like to you. Make a list that suits you – it could be weight related, such as I want to lose x kilos or something related to a biochemical marker, such as blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Chart the weight loss and set goals that still challenge you but are realistic, such as losing 1kg this week and 2k next.

When it comes to fitness, have a wish list but build in points at which you can enjoy your progress. Maybe you’d like to take part in a local 10k run this year so chart your progress and manage your goals by running, say 10 metres one day this week. Then increase to 100m next week and then 1k next month, so that you can enjoy your increasing abilities.

For someone who is starting on a vegan or vegetarian diet for the first time you may wish to get support online as there are some wonderful resources available. Rather than embark on a new plan without planning its best to research the area before starting so that you are comfortable with what you are doing. I suggest writing down a menu for two or three typical week days and a whole weekend, including where to buy the food and what preparation might be involved. This will give you a good template for the first few days, which can be confusing.

You might consider investing in a consultation or two with a nutrition professional who can guide you through everything from menus to alternatives, weight loss to cholesterol. They will also be able to advise you on which – if any – supplements you might benefit from. Together you can set specific goals and your consultant will show you how to achieve them.