The Blog

Treat Yourself as Well as You Treat Your Pet

Realize that, just as your pet shouldn't eat everything he sees, you probably shouldn't either.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Ask yourself this question: "Do I treat myself as well as I treat my pet?"

(If you don't have a pet, pretend any animal, such as Bo Obama, belongs to you.)

I've occasionally thought about this when dealing with my dog. When I go into the kitchen, Shaka comes in as well, looking at me with his soft brown eyes, trying to convince me he's starving (even if he's just eaten). Sometimes I give in, but usually I remind myself that it's not the best thing. Maybe I would indulge him more if he didn't have elbow dysplasia but since he does, I have to think about his health and not overfeed him just because he entreats me with a pitiful look.

There's a parallel between my dog and myself. It might be a good idea, I've thought, to treat myself like I treat my dog. This has become even more important ever since I had surgery for arthritis. Although I learned that extra pounds put undue pressure on knees, I've almost defiantly added more weight because I wanted to appease my own puppy eyes rather than look at the big picture and eat accordingly.

So now I think, What's more important? Giving in to my every food craving or taking my health into account when I eat? Like my dog, just because I want to eat something doesn't mean I have to, particularly if I'm not even hungry. I might not want to work out, but if I want my knees to function properly, I have to do some kind of movement.

You can apply this to your own life as well. Strive to treat yourself as well as you treat your pet.
· Make sure to get enough sleep each night.
· Move your body so you don't become physically or mentally stir crazy.
· Ensure that you spend time around other people, but also carve out quiet time for yourself.
· Realize that, just as your pet shouldn't eat everything he sees, you probably shouldn't either.

The last thing I'm suggesting, though, is to go on a diet. Diets suck. Just as you wouldn't starve your pet, there's no reason to starve yourself. Maybe, though, when instinctively reaching for a second desert, you say, "Nah, I think I've already had enough". Perhaps when debating whether to buy a food product that only contains unnatural ingredients, you decide to pass on it. Maybe instead of mindlessly consuming everything you see, you really consider what you'd like to eat and then enjoy it.

In essence, let's consider our own welfare as we do our pets and treat ourselves at least as well as we treat them.

* If you treat yourself as well as you treat your pet, what would that entail?
* What things would you do differently?
* Most importantly: are you up for the challenge?