Don’t Wait for Jan. 1! (Plus a Nutrient-Packed Berry Smoothie Recipe)

Leslie Gonzalez, a first-year student in the College of Medicine, contributed the following article as one of the educational initiatives sponsored by the NEOMED’s Student Wellness Committee as part of their peer-support series on the eight dimensions of wellness.

The eight dimensions that this student and staff committee supports include: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual wellness. The concept of eight dimensions of wellness comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a U.S. government agency.

The new year is approaching, and many of us are likely thinking about personal habits that we would like to create or improve on.

New Year’s resolutions commonly include:

  • spending more time in the gym
  • eating healthier foods
  • getting better sleep
  • losing weight
  • decreasing unhealthy habits (such as drinking, smoking or using social media excessively)

A new year provides the perfect transition period for us to become the best versions of ourselves. However, there is no reason to wait until January to begin living your ideal lifestyle! Studies show that most people who create New Year’s resolutions fail to keep them. Motivation is fleeting. Improve your chances of success by starting early and building a routine around your goals!

The holiday season comes with many temptations to participate in less-than-healthy activities. Now, I won’t tell you to skip out on a Thanksgiving feast or deny yourself your favorite holiday treats. I won’t even tell you not to have a drink on New Year’s Eve (but do so responsibly). Moderation is key! It’s easy to fall into the trap of having treats daily or putting off fitness goals until the holidays are over.

Here are some tips to get through the holidays with a head start on your 2023 goals:

  • Buy that fitness equipment you’ve had your eye on well before the end of the year. Prices skyrocket in late December and into January – everyone has the same idea. Not you. You thought ahead. Bonus points if you use it too!
  • Meal prep. Regardless of your dietary goals, they will be easier and more affordable to stick to if you: 1. cook for yourself and 2. have a plan. This way, when you stray away from your diet for two or three days for the holidays, it’ll be less detrimental than if you indulged throughout the whole season.
  • Stick to a few (1-3) goals. It can be overwhelming to change all your habits at once. By sticking to a few key goals, you will increase your focus and chances of success.
  • Create S.M.A.R.T. goals! These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based. For example, instead of “becoming more active,” aim to “go for a half hour walk at least five times a week in December.” Be realistic with these goals; it is okay to start small.

Nutrient-Packed Berry Smoothie

This tasty smoothie is great for any diet plan! Cutting? This can replace a meal or be split into 2 servings. Bulking? This can be a great addition.

  • ¾ cups (170 g.) whole milk plain Greek yogurt by Cabot (or your favorite – I like this one for its protein and fat content)
  • 1 carton of Atkins Protein Plus Shake- creamy vanilla (or 2 scoops of your favorite protein powder and 8 oz. of your choice of milk)
  • 1¾ cups (240 g.) of frozen mixed berries
  • Handful of baby spinach or mixed greens
  • Handful of chopped kale

(578 calories; 50 g. protein; 50 g. carbs; 22 g. fat; 20 g. fiber -- as written)

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