Six ways your four-legged best friend can help you lose weight.
Could Your Dog Be Your Fat Loss Secret Weapon?
Overweight humans aren’t the only ones who need to lose weight; overweight pets do, too. It’s estimated that half of all dogs and cats are overweight. While being a few pounds overweight isn’t that big a deal for humans, it is for pets. Five extra pounds on a medium-size dog or three extra pounds on a cat equate to 50 extra pounds on an average-size adult male person. Like humans, carrying around extra fat puts your pet at risk for a number of serious health conditions.
Maybe your dog needs to lose weight, and maybe not. But you just might. Take advantage of having a dog by using it to help you lose weight. You’ll both benefit and grow closer in the process.
Need to Walk
Dogs need at least two trips outdoors to relieve themselves each day. Instead of letting your dog run in a fenced yard, take the pooch out for a walk. Whether you walk for 5, 15, or 30 minutes, a little physical activity each day will do you both good. You’ll both get more out of your walk if you set a brisk pace, include hills, or include intervals of fast- and slow-paced walking.
Make Exercise Fun
Exercising alone can be lonely and boring. Take along your dog and your workout becomes a little more interesting. Head to the dog park and meet a friend. Play fetch with a Frisbee or stick. Teach your dog new tricks and then practice them. If you’re tired of walking, try rollerblading, jogging, hiking, kayaking, or bike riding with your dog by your side. Large breeds will especially benefit from a more active workout.
You know routine helps make exercise a regular part of your life. Including your dog in your workout is a great way to make healthy habits stick. Dogs are smart and like to do things on a schedule. Exercise around the same time each day with your dog and your furry pal will come to expect it. Feel like vegging on the couch? Too bad. Your dog will whine and nudge until you get up. Don’t ignore it, but see your dog’s eagerness as motivation to improve your health and get out and about.
Chances are you love your dog and want it to be happy and healthy for as long as possible. Since dogs become overweight in the same way humans do (overeating and under-exertion), it’s time to make changes in the way you both eat. The fact that your dog is overweight is your fault. It’s time to make changes to both of your diets. Limit portion sizes, skip the treats, and fill up on healthy foods. Take comfort that your dog is in this weight-loss battle with you and will support you along the way.
A Healthy Distraction
Emotional eating can be a major contributor to weight gain. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips or a tub of ice cream when you’re feeling sad, angry, or bored, pet your dog. Interacting with your dog, giving affection, and practicing its tricks are all great ways to distract you from your negative emotions. You’ll forget about the snacks and your dog will be grateful for the attention.
Studies show people who exercise or diet with a partner are more successful at weight loss. Don’t have a friend to keep you accountable? He may not stand on two legs, but your dog is more than willing to be that best friend you’re looking for to join you on your journey to health and fitness.