Friday, May 25, 2012

Day One - My Diet Begins!

     I wasn't always fat.... I started out quite healthy, and actually stayed healthy for a while. I began putting on excess weight in 2008 after I got sick and almost died.... But let's start in the beginning.

Born November 1, 2003

Healthy Beagle Puppy

January 2004 - Still healthy

October 2004 - After my first trip to a dog groomer.
Adult Beagle with a healthy weight of about 25 lbs.

December 2004 - My Christmas Gift! I still have this blanket my Mom made me...
I was about 25 to 27 lbs.

Me and Zoya, my sister, in Hawaiian Aloha Shirts - 2006.

2006-ish ~ Not fat yet, still healthy.... good range of motion and flexibility.

Relaxing in Hawaii ~ 2006 
About 25 lbs.

2007-2008-ish. This was in Hawaii... I started to get heavy around that time, putting on a good 10 lbs or so. You can't see in this picture but I could feel it.

     In 2008, I mysteriously developed "immune-mediated thrombocytopenia".... basically, my body was attacking its own platelets and I started bleeding internally. I almost died.  I don't remember much, but I had to go to the hospital and Mom said she brought me special grilled chicken because I wouldn't eat... and I wouldn't even eat that!!!
    I really felt sick but I didn't understand what was going on. Mom said that the doctor gave me a transfusion and after that I seemed to get better. It took a while to feel like "myself" after that... but I eventually got back to normal. And then I got to "normal PLUS" with almost 25 lbs. of weight-gain!

    I now fluctuate between about 45 lbs. and 50 lbs. and it's just miserable. The weight creeps up on you. You don't realize how bad it is until you start to have problems. My hip bothers me a lot now. I struggle on the stairs. I can't sit or lounge around comfortably... It's time for some changes. I'm not getting any younger, after all.

   So.... today is Day One! Well, technically it's Day Two but it took us a day to decide to blog this experience. Want to hear about my plan? Here are the details:

  1. I know I need to lose weight, but I want to set realistic goals. Starting at Day One and saying "I will lose 25 lbs" isn't going to help me do that. So let's say my starting weight is 50 lbs. and I plan to drop 5 lbs. as my first goal. That's a 10% weightloss. I think it's manageable. 
  2. I eat an excellent dog food called Blue Buffalo Basics Turkey & Potato Formula. We mix it with the Blue Wilderness High-Protein Formula in a 2:1 ratio. So about 2/3 of the Basics Formula with 1/3 of the Wilderness Formula. We were using the Chicken high-protein Wilderness one (in the dark blue bag) but Mom switched to the "Healthy Weight" formula to see if that helps me a little. I like this food. It's better mixed, though. The limited ingredients are easy to digest so I have less trouble.... but the high-protein formula alone is too much for me, and too much for Zoya (my sister). But Atom (my brother) gets the high-protein formula even though he also eats mine.
  3. Using the calculator on DogFoodAdvisor we decided to map out how much food I should have for each goal. Since my first goal is 45lbs. with the 2:1 Basics:Wilderness dog food mix, the calories per cup is 376, and the calculator says I should have about 2.3 cups of food per day to sustain a 45lb. body weight. Then switch to 40 lbs. as my second goal and cut food to 2.11 cups/day; 1.91 cups/day for 35 lbs.; and 1.70 cups/day for 30 lbs. My ultimate goal weight is 30 lbs. But I'll be happy if I can get below 40 lbs. again.
  4. I need to get more active. We live in an apartment again, so no yard for free time. I'm not that good with other dogs, so dog parks are out too. With my hip bothering me, long walks will take some adjusting. So for now, Mom takes me for a short walk in the morning. It helps my muscles loosen up - I have stiff muscles after sleeping. It helps digestion too... so for starters, we're going about 10 to 15 minutes which is probably between 1/4 and 1/2 miles depending on our pace. I'm a Beagle, I like to stop and smell the roses.... literally.  And smell everything else while I'm at it!
  5. I'd like to increase my flexibility and range of motion. The stiffness in my joints, mostly from age, is really making exercise difficult. Mom is helping me stretch more so I can maybe get back some flexibility. She's helping me make a chart and keep track. 
     We will probably share the charts, exercises, and stretches with pictures and videos to let others see what we're doing. Like I said, maybe other dogs who are overweight will feel inspired to make positive life changes too, but not everyone knows how to make those changes. I certainly don't know! Mom has lost a lot of weight and she has also struggled so she knows how I feel. She said we will do our best and see what happens. Sometimes you have to start somewhere and then make changes as you see what happens.

    Oh! Also, I'm blogging this experience. I know, I know... there are literally millions of blogs out there. But this blog isn't meant to be cute. This is serious business. I'm getting healthy... and I'm going to show other dogs how I do it. I will let you know what doesn't work, also. Trial and error :-)

These pictures were taken today, 24 May 2012
I have love-handles...

No defined waistline...

Pretty much straight fatness...
I'm not as bad as some dogs I've met, but this is definitely in need of fixing...

I really didn't want Mom to measure me... 

Measurements for May 24, 2012:

  • Body Length 22" 
  • Chest 28" 
  • Waist 28" 
  • Neck 17" 
  • Weight 50 lbs.

And my Beagle Weightloss Journey Begins...
I could really use some support and encouragement so don't be shy :-)