February 1, 2014
A good scratch, a nice stretch, a larger than life yawn...now comes a hard decision, to sleep on the couch next to a warm body or sleep in the chair all to myself? A dog's life is rough. a short hop up on the couch, a few circles to find the just right spot, burrow down under the blanket. Seconds pass and a soft Boston's snorting snore can be heard at my side. What a life! An hour from now he might get himself a bowl of food to eat and then head upstairs for a nice soak in the sun shining through the window, before heading downstairs for another short nap.
Harley, my dog has never been fat. He has never been on a diet. He eats when and how much he wants. He has never had to be on a vigorous exercise plan or have a trainer to guide him. Never had to weigh in or check in with Weight Watchers. He is pure unadulterated, lean muscle. In fact his veterinarian says he is the healthiest, fittest, muscled Boston Terrier she has ever seen.
Now I know that there are some pets that are over weight, not healthy, out of shape. But how did they get that way? They had human help. Ever see a fat wild animal that didn't have human contact? Now I mean really think about it. They know how to take care of themselves. Stay healthy, exercise, stay fit, eat what is healthy to them. They do this automatic, without guidance. So what do they know that we don't?
I decided to start watching my dog and just try to figure this out. First I notice that he eats twice a day a big meal. He eats it at the same time almost every day. Now he has a bowl of food that he can eat when ever he wants, but will always eat one bowl in the morning and one in the evening on most days. Some days he only eats one bowl. He asks for two snacks each day. I know he is spoiled, but I know dog, he has asked so many times until he finally got it through my thick skull, what he wanted. He lays around and naps when he is tired most of the day, unless his guard duty calls by some odd chance. Once or twice a day, without warning he exercises. He will unannounced, grab a toy and smiling wildly, with tongue hanging out, run like lightning through the house at full doggy speed. Sometimes this lasts 10 minutes.
Why with us is it much more complex than that? We have to count calories, weigh our food, do so many minutes of cardio and so many minutes of weight training. We have to check our weight on the scales, what our cholesterol; both LDL and HDL, watch our BMI and the percentage of water we have in our bodies. Is it any wonder we struggle?? How can we make this easier? I am not talking a quick fix, just an "Oh, I get it, do it like this, I can handle that change, kind of plan. And then there are so many diets out there! The low fat, no carb, whole grain carb, no fat, calorie counting, South Beach, Atkins, Flat Belly, Eat This, Not That, Biggest Looser, Weight Watchers kind of diets. Makes your head spin. What is effective? What is safe, healthy, tried and true?? Plus easy, might I add?
I think this is why so many of us struggle. Where do we start? What do we need, when? Yes, I am still struggling. No I haven't even gotten an inch, let alone a mile stone. Where is that mile marker? I can't even see it ahead! Where's my map? How do I program my GPS? I am really struggling here...I hope tomorrow I can just get the key in the ignition and the car turned on. Progress is so slow, so un-measureable. Insert much needed encouragement here, please.