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Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives
Fall 2007

My goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about leading a balanced and prosperous life.

In this issue, you'll find:

  1. A Waist is a Terrible Thing to Mind
  2. BossWoman coaching
  3. Up and coming workshops

1. A Waist is a Terrible Thing to Mind

A Charlie Brown cartoon has Charlie expressing ambivalence and stress. His conclusion: “My mind and my body are at war with each other.” Do you sometimes feel like no matter how much your mind wants to look good for those holiday parties, your body sabotages that intention by mysteriously gaining weight over the season? If you are like most women, you will gain 7 pounds over the winter holiday season, lose 2 and keep the rest. How can you prevent this annoying annual ritual? This newsletter will remind you of things you already know about why it is not so mysterious that you might tend to gain weight over the holidays. So run off a hard copy of this newsletter and implement its suggestions. Your mind will be glad that you do ­ and your body will feel better as well.

Principles of Weight Maintenance

  1. Watch your CICO: Calories are not the culprits; they are merely a physics unit of how much energy it takes to raise the temperature of water one degree. The culprit of holiday weight gain is the imbalance of CICO (calories in, calories out). Your weight is maintained when you consume the same amount of calories you burn up in your daily activities and metabolic processes. If you eat more than you burn, you gain weight. If you burn less than you eat, you gain weight. To maintain your weight, eat what you burn. (And, of course, to lose weight, eat less than you burn.) In practical terms, if during the holiday festivities you want to eat extra over and above your normal caloric intake and don’t want to gain weight, you will have to exercise more to burn up those calories.

  2. Pace yourself: Eating until you feel full at the end of the meal will always lead to weight gain. The counterintuitive reason for this phenomenon lies in the mechanics of your brain/blood sugar system: it takes about one hour for the calories consumed in a meal to raise your blood sugar sufficiently to flip the shut off switch in the brain which tells you that you are full and should stop eating. Even if you eat slowly, you will not feel full until approximately one hour after beginning the meal. But if you have gulped seconds and thirds of the turkey and stuffing, and the hour has passed, you will already have overeaten and will feel as stuffed as the turkey. What to do instead: push back from the table before you feel full.

  3. Pushing back from the table when you are still hungry will feel odd at first if this is a new practice for you, but you will improve quickly in your ability to take portion sizes that are right for you. Hint: leftovers from restaurant portion sizes can feed a semi-sedentary office worker for three meals.

  4. Manage the caloric bank account: Imagine balancing your caloric bank account daily with the same amount on both sides of the equation. In other words, you burn up the calories you consume. Now, what if you upset that balance by a small extra bit of intake, say, sugar in previously black coffee? Unless you increase your exercise level, you can add one pound of weight in a year. Baking 3 dozen Christmas cookies for your family and eating half of them over a three week period while not increasing your activity level will result in a weight gain. Burning off 350 calories from a fully loaded cup of eggnog will take one and a half hours of brisk walking to balance the caloric equation.

  5. Pay your calories forward. Instead of planning an extreme post-holiday diet, consider eating slightly less than normal for two days before holiday social events at which you plan to consume more calories than you usually do. Then you can enjoy a dessert, a glass of wine, or slightly bigger portion sizes than you normally eat. Similarly you can cut back a bit on each meal over the days following the party to return to your caloric balance without taking on a January starvation diet that will make you feel hunger all of the time, a state of brain which prompts you to overeat as soon as you are off the diet.

Tips for Satisfying Holiday Eating

Eating is fun. Food tastes good, meals are sociable, and we all like to feed our body good stuff. Your goal should be how to enjoy the pleasure of eating and get over the war between your mind and your body. Women spoil their pleasure with their ambivalence. Overheard in the buffet line: “Oh, that looks good but I really shouldn’t. I started a diet just before Halloween, you know. Well maybe just a little. That can’t hurt me anymore than the Big Mac I had for lunch. I have already broken my diet for the day; I might as well pile it on.” No, honey, just take a little bit, enjoy it, and don’t feel guilty.

Here are some ways to increase your enjoyment of eating while doing your health a favor:*Instead of being on and off diets, think of yourself as being on a lifelong healthy eating program that allows you small portions of treats on a regular basis so that you never feel that you are depriving yourself.

  • Eat mindfully, slowly and deliberately, chewing 15 times before swallowing. Roll the food around in your mouth; notice its texture and taste. Pause to talk with others at the table instead of shoveling the food in so fast that it misses your taste buds. Rest between courses. Converse with your dining companions.

  • When you eat, eat. Don’t watch TV; don’t eat standing up hoping the calories don’t count that way. Even you are alone, set the table, relax and enjoy.

  • Strive for 9. Eat nine ˝ cup servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. In addition to providing a heap of antioxidants, those anti-aging chemicals that promote good health and longevity, the fiber in fresh fruits and veggies will give you a fuller feeling after a meal with fewer calories consumed.
  • Aim towards whole grains and away from processed foods. More fiber; more fullness. And also: more sensual texture and taste.

Additional Tips for Healthy Weight Maintenance

The other way to influence your CICO balance is to increase your normal exercise level. This is often hard to do in the northern temperate zone in the winter months because when it is cold, we tend to want to cocoon and curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book.

Think outside the box to add more exercise into:

  • Take up a winter sport if one is available in your area.

  • Exercise inside. You could be one of those 5% of Americans who actually uses their gym memberships or you can use some free weights and a jump rope in your before you curl up with the book.

  • If you live near a mall, do a brisk walk around the mall several times. The person at the information booth can tell you the distance of the walkways so that you can log on two to three miles early in the morning before the crowds show up. It is kind of fun to walk in the festive atmosphere of the holiday decorations and music and then you can complete some of your errands when you are done. Avoid the food court. Nothing there is good for you. Instead, bring a piece of fruit or a small handful of nuts in your pocket in case you get hunger. After your walk go home to eat a healthy well-balanced meal.

  • Extend your exercise sessions by a few minutes of an activity or a few repetitions of weights or stretches. Just as a few cups of eggnog can add to CI (calories in) side of the weight balance equation, a bit of extra exercise can add to the CO (calories out) side of the equation.

  • Invite a friend, family member, or business colleague to join you for a walk. You can catch up personally with the friend or get some work projects discussed with the colleague. Don’t be rigid about just doing lunch for business meetings. Your colleagues might like the opportunity to include some exercise in their day during a season when most people drop out exercise in favor of holiday related tasks. Having an appointment to meet someone for exercise is a great discipline technique since it is harder to not show up when you promised to support another person’s efforts to stay fit.

  • Include exercise that doesn’t seem like exercise. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Put on some upbeat music and dance while you mop the floor.


Have a joyous holiday season while you encourage your body and mind to be friends with each other.

Susan Robison

2. BossWoman coaching

About the publisher: Susan Robison, Ph.D. is a professional coach, speaker, author and seminar leader. She loves to coach women who want improvement in:

  • work-life balance,
  • career transitions,
  • building your business or practice,
  • time management,
  • increasing productivity.

If you are feeling stuck on the way to your ideal life, give Susan a call for a complementary half-hour coaching session.

She provides keynotes and seminars to business and organizations on the topics of:

  • leadership strategies for women,
  • relationships,
  • work-life balance,
  • change.

She offers her audiences a follow-up coaching session because she knows that workshops don’t work.

Contact Susan for your coaching, speaking, or seminar needs at Susan@BossWoman.org or at 410-465-5892.

3. Up and coming workshops

I am currently accepting speaking invitations for work/life balance workshops for the winter of 2008. Contact me if your group needs a speaker on any of the topics listed above.

To start receiving the BossWoman e-Newsletter send an email with “Please send BossWoman” in the Subject to: Susan@BossWoman.org. To stop receiving send an email with “Stop BossWoman” in the Subject to: Susan@BossWoman.org.

BossWoman e-Newsletter is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Coaching should not be construed as a form of, or substitute for, counseling, psychotherapy, legal, or financial services.

© Copyright 2007 Susan Robison. All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site without the publisher’s permission.

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