Have you ever thought about it? Overweight humans and their pets are very linked in their conditions and can be a powerful team in healing. Think about this:
Is losing weight too daunting to deal with, or are those last ten pounds just not coming off, no matter what?
Is your pet overweight, and you feel awful denying them food, and aren’t sure what or how much to feed?
We are deeply connected to our beloved pets, emotionally for sure, but energetically, too. For Weight Loss Awareness Month, we’re looking at the power of this connection in getting healthier as partners, shedding weight that no longer serves you both and understanding how our energy affects our pets.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have identified a correlation between unhealthy weight in dogs and their owners. Compared to pet owners who maintain a healthy weight, overweight or obese individuals are more than twice as likely to have a heavy or obese dog. I think we can include cats, too.
Why? Let’s explore this connection, and also look at natural solutions for both humans and animals as partners to overcome weight loss barriers to healthier, more vibrant lives.
Being overweight, no matter what your species, brings with it health challenges. Overweight humans and their pets are prone to a myriad of issues; pets including diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular problems. Humans face a higher risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and joint problems. Breaking this cycle is not just beneficial for one; it’s a shared journey toward improved well-being for you both.
What’s Behind It:
We are so closely connected with our pets, some of those ways are more obvious, and others involve energetic forces at work. Since we are all energy, we connect with our pets in deeper, more profound ways that you might expect.
The Practical Issues Behind Shared Excess Weight:
Lifestyle: If your lifestyle is mostly sedentary, influenced by your work, the limitations you feel around weight or something else, chances are your pet’s is, too. Movement is a key stimulator of the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight part of our nervous system. However, that response also works to maintain an appropriate level of homeostasis, or balance in the body for the increased demand in physical, metabolic, respiratory, and cardiovascular efforts. In addition, moving your body improves your brain health, helps manage weight, reduces the risk of disease, strengthens your bones and muscles, and improves your ability to do everyday activities even more.
What you both can do:
- Incorporate daily walks into your routine. Whether it’s a stroll around the neighborhood or a hiking adventure, regular exercise is essential for both humans and pets.
- Engage in interactive play with your pets. Getting more involved with activities like fetch, tug-of-war, or agility games not only keeps them active, but also helps you move and get your blood circulating and your body burning calories. It’s also great for bonding with your dog or cat. Use playing with your cat with that wand toy as an opportunity to stretch your arms and move around.
Diet: Our emotional connection to our pets means we share a lot with them and want to share even more. Experiences, downtime, even food habits. If you find yourself gravitating towards sugary foods, simple carbs (also broken down as sugar in the body), fast foods and those foods high in trans fats, chances are you are overweight and your body isn’t functioning optimally. And, you feel it. Loss of energy, moodiness, poor sleep and aches and pains are just some of the symptoms of poor nutrition.
It’s possible, but not always the case, that you are feeding your pet a high carb diet, too…usually kibble. While dry food is convenient to just pour into their dish, its very nature means it has no moisture in it and is putting your pet into a constant state of dehydration. This, over time, will cause health issues. In addition, a high carb diet for species like dogs and cats who don’t need carbs to thrive, historically (in cats a high carb diet is even more unhealthy, as they don’t have the digestive system to properly break down and digest it), it is taxing on the system and one fallout from that is increased weight. Others are chronic skin, gut and general health issues. Feeding kibble solely is like feeding your animal MacDonald’s everyday. It’s basically junk food.
New Year, New You’s:
What if you committed to getting your nutritional health together as a team? That could be a motivating and fun way to kick off the new year!
What you both can do:
- Adopting a well-balanced diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains for both you and your pet, minus the grains for dogs and the grains and veggies for cats, is a great place to start! And, start small; choose one thing you feel you can commit to for you both and begin. Stick with it and find ways to motivate yourself each day. For some, that might be sticky notes with meaningful sayings or quotes on them in your bedroom and around the kitchen; for others it may be reminders that you are doing this for your dog or cat’s health and longevity, as well as your own, so you can take care of each other for years to come.
- Opt for healthier alternatives to high calorie, sugary snacks; maybe some things that cater to both human and pet taste buds. Raw fresh veggies, berries, especially blueberries which are great for brain health and so much more, raw almonds (not too many for the pup and none for the kitty), kefir which is loaded with probiotics and high in protein; there are many you can find. Just make sure they are dog and/or cat friendly.
- Pay attention to portion sizes for both of you. Use measuring cups or those small scales for pet food. Be mindful of when you just start to feel full and stop, wait ten minutes, and decide if you’ve had enough for this meal. It takes about ten minutes for your mind to catch up to your stomach and register that you are satiated.
- Savor each bite and make it an experience coming from your heart; from love. You are nourishing your body with good food and helping your pet be healthier by doing the same for them; enjoy that and give yourself acknowledgement!
- Do your best to keep distractions at bay. When we become distracted while eating, we lose track of what and how much we’re eating and never give ourselves the chance to tune inside and pause for that ten-minute test.
The Energetic Power:
- Mindset & Energy: Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “A man is what he thinks about all day long.” Author Earl Nightingale said: “We become what we think about.” What we allow to occupy our mind, we create in our lives. May sound a little crazy and it’s been proven over and over again for centuries. The Law of Attraction was first talked about in 1877 in a book by Helena Blavatsky.
What you think about yourself and your life not only affects your reality, it affects your health. If you believe you always get sick in winter, you likely will. And the energy your project translates to your animal. Our dogs and cats are extremely intuitive, like sponges picking up the energy we’re putting out all the time. They gauge their behavior around it. If you are feeling and thinking positive thoughts, high frequency vibes, your animal will feel that and they will calm their own mind. Your animal will feel happy, too. By the same token, negative energy, low frequency vibes, create anxiety and tension in animals. It’s like when your dog meets someone on a walk and just doesn’t like them. Or they meet a dog they have an immediate negative reaction to. It’s an energy thing. Your dog is picking up on energy from that person or dog that makes them uncomfortable, and if they’re already anxious, they may exhibit fear aggression.
What you both can do:
- Training your mind to work FOR instead of against you is important.
- Daily morning breathing and meditation, where you visualize and speak aloud what you want to see in your life, as if it’s already here.
- Bringing your mind back to positive thoughts and visualizations, as soon as you notice it veering into the negative; all of this can help you create the conditions to be healthier and more fit. To manifest the reality you want to see in your life.
- When you feel tempted to go down a negative path or feel depressed, sit by your pet and stroke them. Take in their love and pour yours into them. Breathe, slow breaths, holding your breath for several sections before you exhale. That resets your brain and relaxes and calms. Connecting spiritually with your animal brings peace and happiness and the connection is a reminder of what you’re doing. Your why.
Weight Loss Awareness Month is just a label, a reminder that, if there’s a desire to get in shape, to shed some weight no longer serving you in your life, this could be a great time to begin. Getting healthier with your pet can be a shared journey, bringing you even closer and more connected and giving you real time signs that a healthier diet and lifestyle is working, for you and for them. More energy, vitality, better sleep, better mood; all of these things can be the benefits of eating fresh food, getting exercise and controlling the mind.
The key is forgiveness. We nor they are robots. As humans and both as sentient beings, we sometimes make choices that we might not make at other times. We fall off the wagon. We’re not perfect; neither are they. Being able to forgive yourself, brush yourself off and commit anew makes a huge difference in success. If you stay the course, even if you veer off course sometimes, as long as you don’t quit, you can’t fail.
Reach out to me if you’d like more information and my recommendations and support on how to achieve your goals.
To your best health ever!