Your overall wellness: grab the wheel
By Ashley Martin Editor
wellness being met through the combination of physical activity and good eating habits.
Lose weight. Sign up for yoga classes. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Sound familiar? Were any of these, or similar items, on your New Year’s resolution list this year?
Katy Meassick (Kappa Sigma Chapter, University of South Florida), knows all about both diet and exercise. She has worked as an athletic trainer and now is the dietician for Arizona State University athletics. In her job, she works with student-athletes to fuel their bodies for peak physical performance.
2014 is here and that means new health and fitness goals for many people. In fact, John C. Norcess, Ph.D., author of “Changeology,” has found that roughly one-third of those making New Year’s resolutions vow to lose weight, with 15 percent planning to begin exercise programs. Yes, diet and exercise are what most people think when they hear the words “health” or “wellness,” but there is so much more to one’s overall well-being. In reality, wellness can actually be divided into six main dimensions: physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and occupational. The third-year link in ZTA’s Links Membership Enrichment Program focuses on wellness and includes a workshop that highlights each of these dimensions. The activity challenges us to think of each as a different spoke on a wheel—the Wellness Wheel—that moves you through life. On the Wellness Wheel, you can see how, together, these wellness dimensions create a holistic model for how to create a path toward optimal living. Because each spoke is interconnected, one broken or weak spoke can derail your entire path, or in the very least, cause quite the bumpy ride. Finding balance within each dimension and in them as a whole is critical to overall well-being. This new year, we challenge you to reflect on each area and strive to become the best, happiest version of yourself. After all, that is the mission and purpose of Zeta Tau Alpha in a nutshell.
When it comes to wellness, the physical dimension is the most talked about piece. Diet and exercise—the main components of this dimension—are at the forefront of our societal views on health. From reading fitness magazines to researching the latest fad diet, we focus on physical 20 · Themis
The same way she plans different meals for different types of athletes based on gender, age, activity level and the kind of physical activities performed, one of Katy’s top tips for anyone looking to improve their physical dimension is to create individualized diet and exercise plans. This includes finding more personalization than just following fad diets or exercise regimens spelled out in magazines. No exact plan is one-size-fits-all. “Investing in a one-time counseling session with a dietician is a great way to start,” Katy said. “Many physicians even have a dietician they work with to help counsel patients. They will help you look at the whole picture of your health, the changes you need or would like to make, and the small steps you can take to get there.” The key to any healthy diet or exercise plan is to start off with a small goal and gradually add in action steps. “When it comes to diet and exercise, we tend to go all or nothing,” Katy said. “Then, as soon as we fall off the wagon, we often just give up. It’s important to make small goals that we can snowball into lasting change.” Looking to hit the gym more often? Instead of going for an hour, five days a week, start out with 20 to 30 minutes of exercise two or three days a week. It’s easier to work up from there.
When it comes to social wellness, think of it as your sisterhood dimension. It includes building strong relationships with others and making positive contributions to your community.