Guest Blogger: My Mom!
Discover what my mom learned about weight loss (and weight gain!) from her sweet and lovable pets, Simon and Sheila.
A HUGE thanks to my mom, Sally Murdick, for sharing this with us!
What I Learned From My Cat And Dog About Weight Management
I have this habit of wanting to observe my environment and try to make connections. I also try to figure out what works and what doesn’t because in many ways I am an impatient person and want things to work correctly RIGHT NOW! This curiosity is probably why I started to relate some of my own nutritional issues to those of my cat, Simon, and my dog, Sheila.
Simon is a friendly fellow, nice and laid back. And like other cats (and many people) he is “addicted to carbs.” Now, carbohydrates are not evil. However, the wrong kind of carbs in the wrong quantities can be bad news. For a cat these bad carbs, which are also called corn gluten, can cause any number of health problems including diabetes and kidney problems. We were being careful to buy the high quality cat food for our cats but totally forgot to think about those small packets of cat “treats” that people feel their kitties “deserve.” Kitty Simon started snacking on corn gluten treats a little too often, and he ended up fat and sick with a urinary tract problem, which was very unpleasant for us all. Without going into all the gory details, I can happily report that Simon has made a full recovery and we are monitoring his treats carefully.
So how did I apply the corn gluten lesson to my own health management system? Well, I got a little refresher lesson in “good and bad carbs.” The corn gluten cat food sort of compares to the human version of ramen noodles or packaged mac and cheese. In other words, the incident made me focus on how many empty calories I was ingesting and the quality of my own dietary carbs. It’s funny, but humans who eat a lot of sugary, starchy gunk (also known as simple carbs) end up with the same sort of diseases as cats who nosh on corn gluten. Go figure!
Our Australian cattle dog, Sheila, came to us from a local shelter with a weight problem, and we soon noticed that Sheila was a real “foodie.” Our solution was to increase exercise and put Sheila on diet dog food. I was careful to buy a high quality, grain free (no corn gluten!) dog food. Slowly the pounds started to drop off and Sheila looks pretty slim these days. We have to keep her on the “lite” dog food or she gains the weight back, but it’s worth it!
One thing I notice when Sheila is eating the lite food is that she poops a lot more. I mean a LOT more – at least twice as much. After I noticed the increased amount of poop and the way she was losing weight, a little light bulb lit up above my head. I checked the label on the dog food bag and, sure enough, the food contained a lot of fiber! “Ah ha!” I thought, the fiber seemed to go right through her and help her lose weight. And so it is with humans. Eat more fiber, as in fruits and vegetables, and you will shed pounds and keep them off.
I already knew about carbs and fiber before our animal friends had to deal with their health issues. But I thought it was kind of cool how Simon and Sheila each were able to illustrate to me how these “laws of nutritional chemistry” can apply to us all. Even though humans need different nutrients in differing amounts than dogs and cats and birds and guppies, it’s still fascinating to observe how cause and effect applies to us all where health is concerned.