A few years ago I participated in an eye-opening wellness fair at my job. Eye-opening because upon realizing how unhealthy I actually was, I made a decision to change my life and get healthy.
It wasn’t easy but over a 9 month period, I lost 28 pounds and was in the best shape of my entire life. I made a lot of very healthy changes to my lifestyle, including changing the things I ate and drank, as well as implementing a work-out routine, and the results were visible not just on the scales but also in the way I looked, felt, and lived my life.
(Proud moment: I even won a Biggest Loser challenge that took place in my office during the holidays. Not only did I not gain any holiday weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but I actually lost weight. Go, me!)
But then I changed jobs. I went from working for a company where employee health and wellness were top priorities (they gave us so many great benefits and made it so easy to live a healthy lifestyle) to a company that had no wellness initiative and a greasy-spoon type cafeteria right inside the building. All of a sudden, gone were the days of salads and fruit for lunch, because now I was eating grilled cheese and tater tots and brownies because, hey, they were right there in the building.
Also gone was my work-out routine. I’d never been one to enjoy exercising, but as part of my get healthy/lose weight routine, I’d actually become a regular at the gym and I’d even participated in a 5k race. But the new job was a much longer commute and at the end of a busy day, I just didn’t have the time or energy to go to the gym.
All the positive changes I’d made in my life were suddenly too much work to maintain, and it wasn’t long before I said “hello” again to those 28 pounds I’d lost. And what’s worse? They brought 10 friends with them.
Yes, earlier this week when I got on the scales (for the first time in a very long time), the cold, hard truth smacked me upside the head: I’m almost 40 pounds heavier than I was just a few short years ago. Want to know something even more embarrassing? I’m 8 pounds heavier than I was the day I delivered my son.
Knowing all that, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that my dog is also overweight. Nike’s gained quite a bit of weight in the last year or so, partly due to being on a steroid to control her allergies, but let’s be honest: her weight gain is largely my fault.
During the cold winter months, our walks were very short, some days almost non-existent because I’d take her outside just long enough to potty and then we were right back in the warm house.We spent the winter hibernating and I used the cold weather as an excuse more times than I can count. My bum knee was also a good excuse for not being active.
(Note: I might not have a bum knee if it weren’t for the almost 40 extra pounds I’m asking it to carry every single day. Ahem.)
But here’s the thing. I’m not happy with the way I look and, more importantly, the way I feel. I’m also not happy with the fact that my dog is carrying extra weight that’s not healthy for her. So today we’re making a pledge. Nike and I are joining forces to get healthy and lose weight, and we want everyone to know that not only are dogs great work-out partners, but
Over the coming weeks and months, Nike and I will be implementing some changes to our lifestyle, and once a month I’ll be writing about our progress here on the blog. We want to illustrate how fun and easy it can be to get fit with your dog, because if we can do it, so can you. To start, our focus areas will be:
- What we eat. For Nike, it’s really a matter of portion control. I need to be better about measuring out her food and feeding the appropriate amount for her ideal weight. For myself, I’ll also be focusing on portion control, but I’ll also be cutting out the foods I know are bad for me. You know, the good stuff like ice cream, pizza, candy, and bread. Sigh.
- What I drink. I’m a Diet Dr. Pepper addict, so cutting out soda (even the no calorie kind) is a big sacrifice for me. But what I learned during my weight loss efforts a few years ago is that when I don’t fill up on soda, there’s more room for water (an absolute MUST for a healthy lifestyle). I’ll also be drinking unsweetened iced tea and coffee in moderation.
- What we do. Effective immediately, Nike and I are back into our walk routine with renewed commitment. We’ll be doing a short walk at lunch time and a longer walk in the evening with my husband, with a goal of walking a total of 20 minutes per day.
Those 3 things alone will make an almost immediate difference for both of us, and I can’t wait to write about our progress next month.
In the meantime, I know there are a few of you out there who are also looking for ways to develop a healthy lifestyle for yourselves and your dogs, so I want to share a couple of resources that I think you might find helpful.
- My Active Dog Mom Pinterest board is filled with great articles, infographics, and other amazing resources to help you and your dog get fit. Let’s get connected there!
- I’ve started using a FitBit to help me track my daily steps, calories, water intake, and weight. They come in a variety of colors and styles, and they can be purchased at a number of different places.
So, if you’re beginning a lifestyle challenge and plan to partner with your dog to get into shape, we’d love to follow along with your progress! I’d also love for you to share any weight loss or work-out tips that have worked for you.
Check back with us next month when we report our stats for the month of June!
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