Everything I needed to know about losing weight, I learned while walking my dog. Okay, I was walking lots of people's dogs. About five hours a day. In half-hour increments. But I lost weight and you can too!
When I left corporate America and started my own pet-care business in 2003 I had a few nagging pounds that I wanted to lose.
7 Days Weight Loss
Those pounds were there, in no small part to the amount of 'quick food' I was grabbing between meetings, deadlines and work. You know, the doughy-sugary crumb-covered goodie you pick up when you head out for your skim latte? How about the 2 bags of chips from the vending machine when you're cranking out yet another client proposal at the expense of lunch?
I started my own business and within a month I was down nearly 5 pounds. In two months it had doubled and I was breathing easy in my 'skinny jeans.'
I was working as hard (or harder) than I had when I worked for someone else. My time was still at the mercy of the clients, proposals and all the office work that accompanied my new venture but...my business FORCED me to exercise!
I started Peggie's Pet Service focused on walking big dogs - the dogs that some folks can be intimidated by - just by the name of their breed - American Staffordshire Terriers (more commonly referred to as "Pit Bulls"); Rottweilers; Dobermans; German Shepherds and Chow Chows. As a new business owner, I was (and still am) happy to walk any dog that wants to spend part of his or her day out of the house and on a leash. I also made the commitment that there would be no 'pack walks.' What this meant was that in order to make money I needed to be walking. Every day. From 10 am to 4 pm. There were a lot of miles logged on my walking shoes that year and the payoff was a healthier body and more comfortable clothing.
Somehow all that fresh air and walking (in 100 degree humidity, torrential downpours and snow) had me hankering for quick foods that gave me energy rather than depleted it. I no longer had time for that 'after lunch lull.' As a matter of fact lunch-time was always spent on the road or on my feet - with a wagging tail beside me.
Here's what I learned about weight loss while walking dogs:
1. Have fun;
2. Every dog has his own pace (and you can too);
3. When something interesting happens along your path, stop and investigate;
4. Vary your routine (or route);
5. Meet new people;
6. Be in the moment;
7. Look forward to the walk and make the most of it;
8. Stick to your commitment - no matter the weather (I admit, there were plenty of days I didn't 'feel' like walking, but it was my JOB at the end of the day I always felt better)
9. Look forward to the treats (reward yourself when you do well!)
Wow! I was onto something! Why didn't everyone do this I wondered?
So, all of you who have added "get in shape," "lose 10 pounds" or "get fit" to your annual resolutions - think about adding dog-walking to your regimen. Even if you don't have 6 hours a day to dedicate to walking - add one or two extra walks into each day and you'll be amazed at the difference it makes. I guarantee your attitude will improve (it's virtually IMPOSSIBLE to NOT have fun with a dog on a walk!); you'll get some great cardio and you'll be creating a habit that will last a life time!
Don't have a dog of your own? Volunteer at the local animal welfare league or with a rescue group. Foster a dog in need of temporary housing ... Or work with a local pet-care company!
(c) 2005-2006 Peggie Arvidson-DaileyDog Walking and Weight Loss