Getting wise about nutrition

HANNAH BAILEY   Nutrition graduate Hannah Bailey works with children at Montessori Nursery, Nether Edge. (No names of children).    19 January 2010
HANNAH BAILEY Nutrition graduate Hannah Bailey works with children at Montessori Nursery, Nether Edge. (No names of children). 19 January 2010
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HANNAH Bailey may only be 22 and less than a year out of university, but she’s already working up her own little empire - driven on by a desire to help people live healthy and active lives.

After completing her BSc in Public Health Nutrition at Sheffield Hallam University, Hannah set up her own enterprise under the name Wise Choice Nutrition last summer.

HANNAH BAILEY   Nutrition graduate Hannah Bailey works with children at Montessori Nursery, Nether Edge. (No names of children).    19 January 2010

HANNAH BAILEY Nutrition graduate Hannah Bailey works with children at Montessori Nursery, Nether Edge. (No names of children). 19 January 2010

A subject she has always been interested in, she was determined to spread the message about the importance of a healthy diet and promote ways that people can achieve this without sacrificing the good things in life.

It’s this desire that led to her business slogan: ‘Ways to have your cake and eat it’, and it’s a message that is working with young and older people alike, in a group setting such as at the Collegiate Montessori Nursery in Nether Edge, and on an individual basis with everyone from athletes to those who want to shed a few excess pounds.

Hannah, originally from Spalding but now living in Sheffield, has always taken an interest in food and nutrition.

“It’s always been important to me,” she said.

“My mum is a runner so as a family it’s always been a big thing too. I took A-level food technology which I really enjoyed and it was this that made me want to focus in on nutrition for my degree - I knew I wanted to learn more.”

She picked Sheffield Hallam after “feeling at home as soon as she walked through the doors”, at the same time as being impressed with the top class facilities available.

Although many might not think it, the field of nutrition is a broad one - with several different specialisms available to study under such an umbrella.

Hannah opted for the course focusing in on the public health element - examining how health, diet and exercise impact on the individual and society as a whole.

As she approached the end of her studies - where one project included looking at the health benefits of using seaweed as a salt replacement - she decided that launching her own business was the way she envisaged her career going forward.

She said: “Whilst I was sitting my finals I knew this was the way I wanted things to go.

“It had always been the long-term plan - jobs in nutrition are very hard to come by and when they do come up the competition is so huge. I just felt that having my own business was the right thing to do and something I really wanted to succeed with. I wanted to be able to make a difference to people’s lives.”

And although Hannah admitted that it hadn’t all been plain sailing, she was relishing life as her own boss.

“It was quite daunting at first!” she said.

“But I’ve really enjoyed the challenge. It’s really motivating working for yourself - you’re really pushing yourself to take it forward and develop in every way you can.”

Although she is only six months into her business, she is already making great strides forward - with 2011 promising to be the year to build on her current success.

One of her key projects has seen her work with Montessori Nursery to advise and promote on healthy eating and exercise.

She is also working with the South Yorkshire Eating Disorders Association (SYEDA), raising awareness of the dangers of bad dieting.

“I take the message out into the communities to engage with teenagers there,” Hannah said. “Working in groups, I educate them about the importance of good nutrition and the symptoms of eating disorders so they can spot the signs, either in themselves or their friends. It’s about equipping them with the knowledge and the tools to go forward and lead healthy lifestyles in the future.”

She has also been working with clients on a one-to-one basis.

“Some of them want to lose weight,” she said. “Others just want advice on how to lead a healthier lifestyle.

“I’ve also been working with an athlete from a running club - I’ve really enjoyed this and the sports side is another thing I’d like to develop this year. It’s all about helping them to get the best out of their body and educating them on the importance of eating a good diet.”

The service she provides can be more general - with clients signing up online to receive a menu plan and shopping list designed by Hannah each week - or more personalised, involving a one-to-one consultation on what works and doesn’t work for that individual.

Hannah said: “I get them to keep a food diary for a week so we can then sit down and work out where we need to make the changes and then I will come up with a special menu just for them, taking into account their likes, dislikes and any allergies.”

She is also there at the end of the phone to offer help and advice as needed - with a great emphasis on ensuring they are not just “left to themselves”.

So far her clients are making steady progress towards their goals, although Hannah stressed: “It’s not about offering a quick fix.

“If the weight does drop off, then the person is probably not doing it properly and as soon as they start eating normally again the weight will just come back. What I am talking about is making small changes that people can keep to and I’m all for allowing people to have their treats too.

“Because as soon as you deprive someone of something, that is all they crave and they are likely to crack. Some people think diets are boring, but I’m trying to show that they don’t have to be - I believe people can have their cake and eat it, and that’s what I want to show them how to do with this business.”

Visit www.wisechoicenutrition.co.uk, email info@wisechoicenutrition.co.uk or call 0114 275 1686 for more information about the services Hannah offers.