A few months ago, I came home to find that our little dog, Steve, had been throwing up all day. I was a little concerned; but he tends to eat anything and everything so I figured he was just trying to get something out. That night, he woke us up every hour to use the bathroom yet nothing would happen when we let him outside. I called the vet the next day and he instructed me to just watch Steve; but if he were to get lethargic then we would need to bring him in. Wednesday seemed like a turn of events so I was relieved, but when Thursday came around he became a very lethargic little guy.
I took him in Thursday and they ran some tests. First, he was very dehydrated from not eating or drinking much. Second, he hadn't eaten any toy or odd object, but had pancreatitis. WHAT???? How did this happen? Steve isn't overweight, and gets exercise. From the outside, he looks like a happy, healthy little dog. So what caused the pancreatitis? The Vet explained that it is often times caused by too much fatty food. Although we don't feed him a ton, we have given him little snippets of bacon, hamburger and cheese. ( It is hard to pass up the cute eyes). Although it seemed like small amounts to us, his body reacted to the snacks in a way that wasn't beneficial to him.
With that in mind, how are we treating our bodies? Do we look healthy and strong on the outside, but on the inside it's a different story? I just want to share a few easy tips I use that will help our bodies stay strong inside and out.
1. Water! Keep your body hydrated. Try to get half your body weight, in ounces, each day. I carry around a 20 oz. bottle and just keep it filled. Not only is hydration good for skin and body by flushing toxins and keeping our energy up; but it can keep the snacking and cravings down. A lot of the time if we start craving snacks or feel hungry, we just need to drink. We are thirsty and our body is trying to let us know. Before reaching for the snack, reach for the water instead and see if that helps.
2. Healthy snacks. Snacking is not a bad thing. We do need a snack every once in a while during the day. Where we run into a snag are the snacks we choose. It takes a little preparation, which is tough sometimes, but we reap the benefits. Each week after I grocery shop, I set out all my veggies, wash and cut them, and put them into separate plastic bags. By having them prepared already, I don't even hesitate when choosing something to snack on. I reach for the veggies or fruit. I have a few times not cut them up right away and say I will get to it later, and that always ends up with me reaching for crackers, chips etc. (The easy way out) Try some raw veggies with some hummus or a healthier dip. Greek yogurt, low in sugar with some fruit and granola is another good snack. Maybe a handful of raw nuts is what you prefer. There are a lot a great, healthy choices for us.
3. Get those ZZZZZZZ's. Sleep, something we all want more of right? We all know it is important for us to get the amount we need to function at our best mentally and physically. When we don't get enough, it affects the choices we make. We feel tired so to boost our energy we reach for the caffeine or the sugar. Getting less sleep can also affect our weight. When we don't get enough sleep our hunger hormones that tell us when we are hungry or full are affected. Ghrelin signals our brain when it's time to eat. When we are sleep deprived our body makes more. (not a good thing) Leptin signals our brain that we are full. When sleep is not sufficient, the leptin levels fall and it signals our brain we need to eat more food. ( again, not a good thing)
4. Make a plan. This one is especially helpful to me. I need a plan! Winging it doesn't work real great for me. I function much better during the week and make better choices to benefit my family and me if I have a plan. What will my dinners be? Do I have the ingredients? What about my snacks? When am I fitting in my exercise? I have to admit, when I don't have a plan, my kids end up getting breakfast for dinner (And not the hearty nice breakfast, I'm talking cereal), I will go all day without exercising because I keep thinking of what time will be the best to get it done. You get the point. Planning is a good thing.
These are just a few tips that work well with me. Try them out, or even find some new habits to try for yourself. Let’s keep our bodies balanced inside and out.
Wife, mom and Health Coach. Lover of life and learning. (and my dog Steve)