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Column: Eye on personal health serves company well

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Women have a strong tendency to treat everyone else’s needs as a higher priority than their own, but doing so may be detrimental to their businesses.

Women entrepreneurs should focus on their own health so that they are the best they can be at running their companies, because if they don’t take care of themselves, the businesses are bound to suffer.

Decide to make your health your No. 1 priority, and you will be surprised at how everything else in your life and business falls into place more easily.

You have what it takes. You are a successful, disciplined, goal-oriented, multitasking woman with guts, drive, tenacity and self-motivation, as well as additional strengths in time management and problem solving skills.

It’s time to use those talents to take control of your health.

Approach and manage this aspect of your life just like you did when you started your business. See the potential and take the road less traveled. Understand that there is work ahead, but the results will be worth it.

Focus your goals on three key areas – diet, exercise and sleep – and tackle them just as you would accounting or appointment management.

What you need
Before knowing your calorie requirements to lose weight, calculate the number of calories you need each day in order to maintain your current weight.

First, you must know your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. The formula for women consists of taking 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years). There also are several BMR calculator tools available online.

Second, review your activity level. The Harris Benedict Equation takes into consideration your level of activity and the corresponding amount of calories you burn a day. Lean body mass is the only factor missing in the HBE. Leaner bodies need more calories. If you are very muscular, you will underestimate calorie requirements, and if you are very fat, you will overestimate calorie needs.

To ascertain your total daily calorie requirements to maintain your current weight, multiply your BMR by the activity level that matches you.

If you are sedentary with little or no exercise, multiply by 1.2. If you are slightly active with light exercise one to three days per week, multiply by 1.375. If you are moderately active, exercising three to five days a week, multiply by 1.55.

If you are very active and exercise six to seven days per week, multiply by 1.725. If you are extra active, defined as exercising very hard and having a physical job or doing physical training twice a week, multiply by 1.9. To lose fat, a practical rule is to decrease your calories by at least 500 per day, but not more than 1,000.

To keep your metabolism at peak performance, divide your calorie requirements by five and plan on eating five meals a day, at least three hours apart. Each meal should consist of approximately 50 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent protein and 15 percent fat. And, don’t forget to increase your water intake.

Exertion and rest
Trying to lose weight and become healthy without factoring in exercise is similar to trying to build and sustain a business without keeping sales in the sales funnel.
Maintaining sales levels will be impossible without ongoing potential incoming sales, and sustained weight loss is impractical without increased habitual exercise.

Just as you depend on experts to assist you with those business areas in which you do not feel as capable, consider enlisting a personal trainer to guide you through this unfamiliar area of physical exercise.

A trainer will likely recommend a daily regime of cardiovascular activity. You also should be prepared to perform some type of weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise three times a week.

Just as diet and exercise are important, it’s also important to allow the body to recover from the physical exertion. Just as you would schedule appointments for different business needs and functions, it’s also essential to block off the time needed to get the appropriate amounts of sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends between seven hours and nine hours of sleep each night, though individual needs may vary. Still, make sure you are getting enough rest regularly to feel rested and refreshed. The amount of sleep a person needs will vary, but make sure you are getting enough rest regularly to feel rested and refreshed.

As a businesswoman, your efforts have likely helped many, from your employees to your customers to your vendors. It’s probably past time that you helped yourself. Make an effort to work on your health and watch the health of your business improve, too.

Lynne Haggerman, M.S., is president/owner of Lynne Haggerman & Associates LLC, a Springfield firm specializing in management training, retained search, outplacement and human resource consulting. She can be reached at
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