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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

  • Losing weight with (writing) exercises
  • A new season of professional CEL courses
  • St. Jerome's alum named cardinal
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Losing weight with (writing) exercises

with material from a Psychological Science media release

January is the time of year when aspirational New Year's resolutions, particularly those involving fitness and weight loss, meet the cold reality of, well, reality. Health clubs are currently packed with hopeful souls looking to get in shape and shed pounds, but chances are there will be a lot of free space at the gym in just a few weeks. What if there was a way to bolster one's self-control and emerge as the last person standing on the treadmill in February and beyond? For that matter, what if there was a way to lose weight simply by writing for 15 minutes a day? In a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, women who wrote about their most important values, like close relationships, music, or religion, lost more weight over the next few months than women who did not have that experience.

Assistant Professor Christine Logel“We have this need to feel self-integrity,” says Christine Logel (left) of Renison University College, who cowrote the new study with Geoffrey L. Cohen of Stanford University. When something threatens your sense that you’re a good person, like failing a test or having a fight with a friend, “We can buffer that self-integrity by reminding ourselves how much we love our children, for example,” she says.

For this study, the researchers recruited 45 female undergraduates who had a body mass index of 23 or higher. A body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight; 58% of the women were overweight or obese. Each woman was weighed, and was then given a list of important values, like creativity, politics, music, and relationships with friends and family members. Each woman ranked the values in order of how important they were to her. Then half the women were told to write for 15 minutes about the value that was most important to her. The other half, a control group, were told to write about why a value far down on their list might be important to someone else.

The women came back between one and four months later to be weighed again. Women who had written about an important value lost an average of 3.41 pounds, while women in the control group gained an average of 2.76 pounds, a pattern of weight gain that is typical for undergraduates.

“How we feel about ourselves can have a big effect,” Logel says. “We think it sort of kicks off a recursive process.” Maybe when one of the women who wrote about an important value went home that night, she felt good about herself and didn’t eat to make herself feel better. Then the next day snacking wasn’t as much of a habit, so she skipped it. Over a few months, that could make a real difference in her life.

Many studies have found that even briefly thinking about values can have a big effect on situations where people feel a threat to their integrity. For example, Cohen used the same technique on minority seventh-graders who were underperforming relative to their white peers. Those who did the exercise were still performing better years later.

It’s too soon to say whether this could work for everybody; the women in the study didn’t know that writing about values was supposed to help them live better (although they may have wondered why this psychology study required a weigh-in).

“My dream, and my research goal, is to get this to the point where people can do it deliberately to benefit themselves,” Logel says. In the meantime, she carries around a keychain that reminds her of a value that she considers to be important. And everyone else can do that, too. “There’s certainly no harm in taking time to reflect on important values and working activities you value into your daily life,” Logel says.

News of this study spread quickly online, with articles appearing on the websites of Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, The Times of India, AOL UK, and beyond.

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A new season of professional CEL courses

"Make it happen!" says the winter/spring calendar from Waterloo's Centre for Extended Learning, and the tools for making "it" happen include training in "guerrilla grammar", "Instant Italian", digital photography and digital video, and team-building.

Michael Hunt, the CEL's associate director, writes that his department's goal is to "provide you with exceptional courses that enable you to exceed your professional development goals."

The Centre for Extended Learning does that through a program of face-to-face and online courses, quite separate from its other role in supporting the technical side of Waterloo's online credit courses for full-time and part-time students on their way to a degree.

Professional development programs included courses, one to four days long, at the CEL offices on Gage Avenue in Kitchener, as well as online courses offered through Waterloo and some 1,800 other institutions by Education to Go, an American company.

Some of the courses can add up to a certificate in "business analysis", business communications, leadership, project management, "social media for business" (offered online) and "advanced project management". Each course is tagged with a stated number of Professional Development Units, or PDUs, a common currency in business training where each PDU represents one hour of in-class experience.

Fees for the face-to-face courses vary, starting at $390 for some one-day courses, and going up to $1,590 for some of the four-day courses. The fee for an online six-week course is $190 plus tax. Waterloo alumni receive a 20 per cent discount, and regular staff and faculty members get a 50 per cent discount on the fees for face-to-face courses. There is a 10 per cent early bird discount for registering 4 weeks in advance of a classroom course.

Some of the instructors are familiar faces on campus, including Matt Erickson, director of the conflict management and human rights office, Ron Champion of Renison's English Language Institute, Timothy Paci of the Department of Drama and Speech Communication, and Peter Carr, professor in the Department of Management Sciences. Other instructors are drawn from the business world, and Patsy Marshall continues to teach her classic course in "The Art of Influencing Difficult People."

"We choose instructors who create and deliver quality learning opportunities that matter to your future," Hunt writes.

The dozens of online courses from Ed2Go include Photoshop, Linux, supply chain management, advanced fiction writing, sales skills, and travel photography.

The CEL professional development calendar also includes pointers to the certificate program in conflict management and mediation, offered by Conrad Grebel University College, and the career development eManual that is available online from the Centre for Career Action.

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St. Jerome's alum named Cardinal

Archbishop Thomas Collins.Archbishop Thomas Collins (BA ’68), the 2006 recipient of the Father Norm Choate, C.R. Distinguished Graduate Award is one of 22 new cardinals named to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI.

“I am deeply honoured that the Holy Father has called me to be a member of the College of Cardinals," said Collins in an official statement. "I am grateful for the trust he has placed in me, and recognize this honour as a sign of his esteem for the role of Canada and of the Archdiocese of Toronto in the universal Church."

"Archbishop Collins (Cardinal designate) has been a wonderful supporter and friend of St. Jerome’s University over the years," says St. Jerome's University president David Perrin. "As a distinguished graduate he continues to show interest in the development and future of St. Jerome’s. Most recently he has agreed to come to St. Jerome’s to give a public lecture in the Lectures for Catholic Experience in 2013."

Collins, a native of Guelph, graduated with a BA degree in English from St. Jerome's and later took a master's in English from the University of Western Ontario and a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained priest in 1973 and served in two parishes and then at St. Peter's Seminary, London, Ontario, and the Gregorian University until being named a bishop. He served in that role first in Saint Paul, Alberta, and then since 1999 in Edmonton, where he became archbishop. He was named Archbishop of Toronto in 2006 and returned to St. Jerome's to deliver a guest lecture in 2007.

"Becoming a Cardinal is a recognition of the tremendous contribution he has made not only to his own Diocese of Toronto, but, as well, to the church in Canada and in the world," says Perrin.

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Link of the day

International Year of Cooperatives 2012

When and where

Frost Week January 9 to 12. Details.

Open class enrolment for winter term classes ends January 9 (online courses), January 16 (on-campus courses).

Centre for Career Action workshop "Networking 101", 11:30 a.m., RCH 112, sign-up required.

4th Annual AHS Speed Networking Career Night, 6:00 p.m., BMH Foyer, AHS students only.

Engineering Bio-artificial Human Heart Cells and Tissues lecture, 3:00 p.m., RCH 101, hosted by the Faculty of Science.

AHS Speed Networking career night, 6:00 p.m., BMH foyer.

MSA Resume Critiquing session, 6:00 p.m., SLC 2134/5.

Upper-Year Housing sessions, 10:00 p.m., Waterloo residences.

Centre for Career Action workshop "Job Information Session for Graduating Students", Wednesday, January 11, 11:30 a.m. RCH 112, sign-up required.

Noon hour concert featuring Christine Howlett, soprano, with violin and piano. Wednesday, January 11, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College Chapel, free admission.

Mexican Menu Themed Dinner Wednesday, January 11, 4:30, REVelation.

MBET Information Session, Wednesday, January 11, 5:00 p.m., Accelerator Centre.

Mennonite/s Writing in Canada: The First 50 Years lecture series featuring Rudy Weibe "On This Earth: 57 years of writing" Wednesday, January 11, Conrad Grebel College Chapel, 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, January 11, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136.

Feds Clubs and Services Days, January 12 and 13, 10-3. SLC Great Hall.

Centre for Career Action workshop "Thinking About an International Experience?" Thursday, January 12, 12:00 p.m., TC 1208, sign-up required.

Weight Watchers at Work meeting, Thursday, January 12, 12:00 p.m., PAS 2438

UWAG Exhibition opening reception, Thursday, January 12, 5:00 p.m.

Grade 10 Family Night, Thursday, January 12, 6:30 p.m., Hagey Hall.

Knowledge Integration Seminar, Lucie Edwards, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Friday, January 13, 2:30 p.m., St. Paul's University College, room 105.

University senate Monday, January 16, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Studies in Islam Speaker Series, Professor Ali Zaidi, Monday, January 16, 7:00 p.m. Dunker Family Lounge, Renison University College.

Mathematics grad studies info session for undergrads, Tuesday, January 17, 4:30 p.m., MC 2065.

Mennonite/s Writing in Canada: The First 50 Years lecture series featuring David Waltner-Toews “From A Brotherly Phillippic to Tante Tina to the mysteries of disease, death and transformation: Mennonite reflections on a life of poetry and science,” Wednesday, January 18, Conrad Grebel College Chapel, 7:00 p.m.

Chinese New Year at Mudies, Wednesday, January 18, 4:30.

MDEI Student showcase, Wednesday, January 18, 5:00 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus.

Allen Loney, President and CEO of Great West Life lecture, Thursday, January 19, 2:30 p.m., reception 4:00 p.m.

Pension and benefits committee Friday, January 20, 8:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Engineering Alumni Ski Day, Friday, January 20, Osler Bluff Ski Club, 8:30 a.m.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel U College , lunch seminar, “What Is CFIB Doing to Assist Family Businesses?” Friday, January 20, 11:00, Bingemans Conference Centre.

Warrior W.Warrior sports

Weekly report, January 9

Hockey Warriors to play outdoor game next week

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin