n4 nutrition

Find Your Sparkle and Boost Your NQ in 2013!

General Nutrition, Mens Health, Womens Health, Healthy Eating
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By now most of you are probably getting back into the swing of juggling work, family and personal commitments. The Christmas break is no doubt feeling a dim and distant memory! Before you get too head down and running at full speed, it’s worth reflecting on a few key questions that will set you up for a healthy and nutritious 2013. 

1. What are my food, health and nutrition goals in 2013?

“What does success look like?” is a really simple question but one many people overlook. When it comes to your personal health - or that of your family -  if you don’t know the answer to this for 2013, then prioritise your time and come up with a small number of specific goals. Three is more than enough – any more and you will risk getting distracted from what is most important, especially if like me you are constantly feeling like you never have enough time to do everything you’d like. Also, make sure your goals are realistic taking into account your other priorities and circumstances but sufficient of a stretch that they will make a meaningful difference to your lifestyle. One of my goals this year is: 

"Focus on me, myself and I rather than worry about everyone else achieveing their goals." May sound a bit harsh or selfish but if we don't prioritise ourselves then its unlikely to happen. The kids, the washing, work, sleep or a glass of wine often take priority but let's not face the end of 2013 still feeling tired, fat and angry! I'm looking forward to hearing lots of success stories about readers feeling fit, healthy, busrting with energy and achieving their goals! 

2. Do I have a plan to achieve my goals?

A set of goals without a plan is just a set of wishes. Once you are clear on your goals create a simple plan full of practical steps to work towards your goals. Don't try and over achieve straight away. It's better to build momentum and sustain the changes you are looking to make rather than "sizzle and fizzle". For example: 

Goal  - "To loose 5kg in 5 weeks." Following a specific diet is a graet example of sizzle and fizzle. Diets are often short term solutions and don't encourage sustainable food choices over the long term. A better approach would be to "Loose and maintain a 5kg weight loss in 2013." This gives you the ability to make food and lifestyle changes rather than dieting. Examples include: 

  • Have pre-prepared snacks for the 4pm sugar craving.
  • If ice-cream is your weakness agree to only have it on a Sunday night as a treat.
  • If it's chocolate then only buy good quality chocolate and have 1-2 squares in one sitting rather than a whole block. 
  • Have alcohol free nights and drink water between drinks. I also but fancy sparkling mineral water and add cucumber, lemon or mint as a substitute for alcohol to keep it interesting.
  • Agree to making mostly fresh homemade meals rather than resorting to packet foods or take away. You will need to work on this to make it achievable. I tend to make large batches of certain meals to ensure I always have a supply of home made frozen meals for those nights when the thought of slaving behind the stove drives me to tears - which is often! Have a list of 3 pre-planned emergency meals when there is nothing in the freezer and the fridge is looking sparse. Ensure you always have these ingredients on hand. 

3. What did I do really well re food, health and nutrition in 2012?

It’s always worth reflecting on what worked really well in the past and making sure you repeat these same things again in the future. Write down your three biggest achievements from a food and nutrition perspective for 2012 and consider how you can continue to build on these in 2013. For example these may relate to: 

  • Your willingness to try new wholesome recipes or ingredients rather than sticking to the old favourites
  • Your exercise routine - what worked well for you
  • Finding alternatives to coffee, soft drinks or alcohol 
  • Ability to achieve work / life balance
  • Aid you complete a personal challenge such an endurance run, swim or cycle in 2012 which you should be proud of? 
  • Taking time our for yourself 

You should also take the time to feel good about these achievements, and celebrate them with someone special. 

4. What did not work so well re food, health and nutrition in 2012?

In the same vein, positively challenge yourself as to what did not go so well. If you cannot think of anything you are not trying hard enough! When you have identified three things that did not go well, the most important next question to consider is why not and what are the lessons learned. This will allow you to take the necessary actions go get back on track. 


5. How good is my NQ?  

You all know about IQ (Intellectual Quotient) and many of you will be familiar with EQ (Emotional Quotient). At n4 food and health we are also passionate about building people's NQ - their nutrition quotient. The start of each year is a great time to reflect upon your NQ, or level of nutrition knowledge. Do I understand the pitfalls of dieting? Do I know what a balanced and healthy diet looks like for my height, weight, and exercise profile? What are the foods I should eat more of? What are the foods I should eat less of? These are all fundamental questions that someone with a "healthy" NQ will know the answers to. 

Even if you feel your NQ is pretty good there is always more to learn and share with your family and friends. 



I hope you find these questions useful. Of course for anyone looking for professional, tailored advice in relation to any of the above I recommended you see a professionally qualified dietitian or nutritionist who can work with you to boost you into 2013! For a dietitian or nutritionist in your area click here.

As always, post your comments below.

Find Your Sparkle and Boost Your NQ in 2013!