Sunday, August 4, 2013

3 things I was doing for my dog that I wasn't doing for myself

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This post could also be titled "how I was taking better care of my dog than my own body". When you have something you love, you want to take care of it to the best of your ability even if that means forgetting about your own needs. I had that moment when I adopted my dog, Sunday. I wanted her to have a happy and long life, but in the beginning I didn't know how to do that exactly. I like to research. I started out by reading all the books, obsessively pouring over blogs and talking to other dog owner/ trainers. I was going to win at dog owning.

It's ironic that I felt so strongly about how I took care of Sunday and actually followed through since I had never been able to totally do that for my own health. I was researching and following recommendations to the letter. Below are some of the things I've learned by taking care of Sunday and now actively do to take care of myself.

Measured food
Sunday gets the perfect amount of food for her body each day. She gets a half cup of grain-free, free range kibble in the morning with fish oils and plankton for her teeth. In the evening, she gets two scoops of dehydrated raw food with a cup of her fancy kibble again. That is all she gets each day and I measure each time I feed her.

I had a history of having a hard time restricting my portions. Weight watchers was always a trial for me and I felt stubborn and lazy when thinking of food journaling even when I knew that it was a proven way to help you lose weight. At work, we have two plate sizes. The cafeteria was always campaigning that we eat off the small plate (a little larger than a dessert plate). When I started trying to actively change the way I was eating, I decided that I would only eat off the small plate. If I was still hungry, I could go back and get more. The crazy part? I barely ever needed more. I had been actively overeating because the food was delicious, but more importantly because it was sitting on my plate.

Only high quality food/ no crap  
I did a lot of research in even picking the brand that I feed Sunday. I am constantly looking at ingredients lists and thinking of how I can make her look and feel the best. It is also something I love talking about and finding more information about. Also, I am always rewarded when people come up and tell me how shiny her coat is and how healthy she looks.

When I started my Paleo journey, I realized that I needed to follow some of the same requirements that I had when feeding Sunday. Sunday rarely eats grains as all of her food and treats are grain free.
I had that "ah ha" moment, when I started Paleo because one of the first things you do is cut out grains. Sunday and I were going to both be grain free. I needed to feed myself with the same diligence and rigor that I was feeding Sunday.

Now when I'm out and about thinking of what I am going to eat, I am so much more aware of what I am eating. Would I ever give a candy-esque treat to Sunday? The answer is absolutely NO and so it makes no sense that I would consume an unhealthy treat. When I start to think like that, it makes years of bad eating and being stubborn seem so stupid.

1.5 - 2 hours of exercise a day 
When I wake up in the morning, I take Sunday for an 20-40 minute walk to get some exercise. I pay a dog walker to walk Sunday every weekday for 1-2 hours.  When I get home in the evening we try to do another hour of outside time. This was all because a trainer once told me that my dog needed at least 2 hours of exercise a day to feel happy.

The funny thing is that doctors/trainers/people have also always recommended that for me. I was at at office job and definitely not moving 1-2 hours a day. I would take Sunday on walks but favored opportunities where she would run around and I would throw the ball for her. It was definitely not that active for me.

After losing an initial amount of weight with Paleo, I added in exercise. It started as two days a week and then three. I now work out 4-6 times a week and feel awesome. Sunday is also my running buddy. Her best case scenario is when we get to go on a three mile run together. We are much more active with our walks and use the time to take care of both of us.

Moving forward
I honestly think that being dedicated and disciplined with Sunday has helped me learn how to take care of my own health. It has been an awesome journey and taught me so much. The best part is that now that I am healthier, Sunday gets to benefit from that. I've been taking this one step at a time and actively reading, listening and doing. The doing is the most important part and it has made me so proud and happy to experience this change in myself.

 July 2012 
May 2013


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