Diet: Dogs are generally given measured, nutritious meals… and you should have the same. You don’t have to necessarily chow down on the pedigree with them though.
Simply limit sugar, caffeine and alcohol, especially before sleep. Also avoid having food in the house that you tend to over indulge in: this will prevent the majority of diet flaws.
‘Diets’ (temporary periods of adjusted eating habits for weight loss) can have dramatic results. The chance of keeping the weight off however, is very low. The inherent nature of a temporary diet through temporary calorie restriction leads unsurprisingly, to temporary weight loss.
Yo-yoing in weight is unhealthy and affects metabolic and hormonal processes.
Do yourself a favor: Keep it simple. Aim for healthy whole ingredients for the majority of your ‘diet’ (lifelong habitual eating style), eat calories in proportion to your physical size, conformation and expenditure. Drink more water, aim for 2 litres a day.
Listen to your body it knows what you need, eat when hungry – until satisfied not full. Have a ‘cheat meal’ if you want one as long as your weekly/monthly/yearly average is good you’ll be fine.
Want to eat more? Simple, more exercise.
Exercise: Dogs are active. Keep it simple and consistent, do what you enjoy and stick to it. It doesn’t matter what, just do something. Aim for one hour a day, could be a walk or a squash session but the higher the heart rate is raised the better. Humans were supposed to move, just because we don’t have to chase our food any more doesn’t mean you should be sedentary. Regular exercise in the day helps in innumerable ways, most importantly it helps with one of the most critical bodily processes, sleep.
Sleep: When a dog is not socializing, working, playing or eating, it’s sleeping.
It is the default, the fallback, the reset.
There has been a movement in recent times that promotes the ‘hustle’, encouraging less sleep in order to get more done. Don’t be a hero, productivity is actually damaged by a lack of sleep. There is more information in this video, a podcast from Joe Rogan with a ‘real deal’ sleep scientist. The message that stuck with me was that it makes no evolutionary sense that a daily 8 hour period of complete defensiveness would exist, unless it was absolutely critical: life and death. So don’t underestimate it.
Practice Minimalism: Dogs don’t need stuff, neither do you.
Generally you don’t own stuff, stuff owns you. It demands money, time, security and maintenance. The more stuff you have, the more stress and anxiety that follows.
If you can’t afford to lose it, you can’t afford to own it.
Now with the basics explained, don’t try to start a convent where you walk around in rags and shun society for its materialism. Just be aware of your consumer habits, do you need this, will it add value to your life or just bring more stress?
If you consider purchases for a month or so… do you still want or need it? Can you really afford the ownership, not just the purchase cost?
You will have a much more positive effect on your life by removing the things that bring you down rather than trying to add stuff to drag you up.
Care about others: Dogs are genetically bred to help and serve: dogs have had roles beside humans for hundreds of years since domestication.
They enjoy it, it’s in their genes, but humans can use this hack too. Having a genuine interest in other people, helping them and being empathetic is highly rewarding.
Also show gratitude and appreciation to others, it all helps to keep you out of your own head: where it is easy to suffocate in negative self talk. Besides, it’s nice to be nice.
So as a round-up: use your dog as a role model, they’re better humans than us anyway.
Thanks for the photos @roxyemms.