Don’t set unrealistic goals for your New Year resolution

December 29 2015

TRADITIONALLY January is the month when we often actually look forward to eating healthily after the excesses of the festive season.

TRADITIONALLY January is the month when we often actually look forward to eating healthily after the excesses of the festive season.
We feel sluggish and uncomfortable and vow to make some drastic changes - but we’re already doomed to failure.
Emersons Green nutritionist Claire Stone says people put too much pressure on themselves by setting unrealistic goals and the best way to stay fit and healthy is by making small changes that you can actually stick to.
This month Claire is launching a new programme called Start Right and Carry On designed to show people clearly and simply what they need to do achieve their goal, be it to run a marathon, lose weight or just to improve their eating habits.
Claire, 41, said: “In January, we all want to eat better or lose weight or even start training for a marathon but have no idea where to find the information we need to get started properly.
“We search the internet and get thousands of answers or we ask three friend about which diet might be the best one this year, and get three different answers.
“People tend to panic after Christmas and decide to quit everything, like not having any sugar or cutting out wheat completely. They go the whole hog but don’t really know why. But when you go cold turkey and, say, cut out chocolate, a month later you start gorging on it because you’ve spent the last month just thinking about chocolate!
“People set themselves massively unrealistic goals which is why everyone joins the gym in January and then quits by February.
“I’m all about encouraging people to take small steps, like becoming more hydrated. Once that becomes a habit you can introduce something else. If you do it bit by bit, it becomes a habit which can become lifelong - something you just do as a matter of course, rather than just going crazy in January.”
People taking part in her programme are asked to fill in a food diary and return it via email along with information about their goals.
Claire then responds with a tailored report which takes takes into account your current diet, goals, preferences and lifestyle to make sure that the suggestions are perfect for you.
“The main point of the programme is that is gives people a very clear first step about the things they need to do which will be the most effective,” said Claire.
“It’s giving personal information but in a really simple way. It’s not overwhelming and people don’t need to change their entire lives. It’s done by email so people don’t need to take time off work to come and see me or spend hours learning about stuff. It’s a report they can print off which contains some really key points for them.”
The second part of the programme - the Carry On part - gives you the support you need to continue via recipes and easy and fun challenges to help put some of the suggestions from Claire’s original report into action. It also includes seasonal reboots to keep your eating fresh and interesting.
“It’s a way of keeping people on track and is where the magic happens,” said Claire.
Claire, a mum of two, was inspired to come up with the idea after getting a place at Entrepreneurial Spark - a national business accelerator programme based at Temple Quay and supported by NatWest.
“I’ve been part of ESpark since August,” said Claire.
“I’ve been going there three days a week rather than working from home. The idea of it is to help you develop your business and get new ideas, which has helped me develop the programme. It’s open to any local businesses which wants to expand and develop. It’s been an amazing few months for me and I would recommend it to any businesses which need help.”
To find out more about Start Right and Carry On visit

Top tips from Claire to get you back on track this January

1. Drink some water. I know it sounds boring, but Christmas and New Year are pretty dehydrating, what with all the lovely booze that goes around. It’s easy to think you are hungry, when actually you are thirsty, so have a drink of water before you grab a snack.

2. Reduce the rubbish slowly. For some people, going cold turkey works a treat, but for many people, giving something up completely is too hard. You just end up failing, and then going on a chocolate bender the minute you are ‘allowed’ it again. Instead, try reducing things like sugar or alcohol slowly - so start saving it for a ‘treat’ again’ - and you might find it easier to manage

3. Quit the evening snacks. One of the things that happens a lot over the winter, and especially at Christmas, is that eating late in the evening easily becomes a daily habit. Try saving the Friday-night crisps and beer for Friday nights only, and you might find yourself ditching the muffin top without evening noticing it!