It’s a restart for many of us, or let me say – majority of us. For some a mental restart, for some a physical restart, and for some both. However, this pandemic gave a lot of us a new perspective to life and an opportunity to start again.
Life is not the same for many of us. What we once took for granted; have now become our priority. Many bonds between people have been destroyed and many became stronger than before. A big change is noticed in many of our lives. Good or bad, the pandemic played it course and left a huge impact on us for many years to come.
The Corona Virus claimed many live, and tackling loneliness among those left behind has made it worse, with some people more affected than others. More and more people worry something will happen to them and no one will notice. Those who have lost members of their family or close ones; feel the least able to cope with the after effects.
Besides Corona Virus, many are dying of heart attacks. Staying at home from the past 18 months, going out only for essential work, businesses closed, no socializing or physical contact like before and the fear of contracting the virus has left many people anxious about their present and future, which has lead to a sedentary life and increase in stress levels.
I am not immune to any of the above. The only difference is, I am living with a dog and that has helped me to stay positive most of the times and live an active life even in the lockdown. But my mental health too had gone for a toss. Some days I felt like I wouldn’t survive financially, and some days I would feel like life was not worth living after all. However, Junior being around at all times helped me not slip into depression and actually redesign my life, sort my priorities and be prepared for anything in the future.
My biggest realization in the lockdown was that life is beautiful and meaningful only with your loved ones and family around. There were times when I used to get irritated if my mother or father would call me often. But today, I value those calls. Sometimes I would get tired giving Junior continues attention. But now, there is nothing more important than spending as much time as I can with him. I have also realized that saved money is the actual treasure and wealth. YOLO (you only live once) is only a concept. The pandemic also taught me not to blindly run behind money, but balance life by paying attention to your health and also spending time with family.
Time and again, the quote “grass is not green on the other side” have been proved to be right. This hit me once again when I was talking to one of my cousins who live in a different so called modern and advanced country than mine; and she said “many countries claim to be advanced and modern than the other, and then in the first place, how did the virus enter their country? And if it did, then how come they took so long to mellow down the virus? And also, how lakhs of people died in their country? So stay where you are and value your country. The grass is not green on the other side.”
We have once again realized the importance of the basics like washing hands, covering our mouths, valuing relationships, exercising, eating healthy, and most importantly – being nice to one and other. Mental health is as important as physical health. And since the pandemic has increased the number of people getting depression and anxiety, not just in adults, but even in child, it is very important to redesign our lives and adopt more flexible and broad minded thinking. My vet told me, there has been a massive increase in the number of people and families adopting or buying cats and dogs during the lockdown. In a way, it is good as far as people consider them as family and do not abandon them once the countries open up.
It is very easy to change your life when there are restrictions. But what will happen once the lockdowns are lifted and life gets back to normal? This is where the actual challenge comes. Will we be consistent and disciplined? Will we stick to our redesigned life? Will we maintain our new behaviour and stick to the new routine?
Collectively, we can and we should use this pandemic as a rude wake-up call for all of us and help bring about a positive change in our habits and lives, and create and new and better normal.
There are a lot of different beliefs about how to raise a dog. Just like every human, no dog is the same. And while there is no right way to raise a dog, there are certainly some bad practises out there. Raising a dog is a lot like raising a child. Just like how you want your child to be healthy, happy and mannered, the same way what you do greatly affects your dog’s wellbeing as well. Let me share my personal experience about the mistakes I made while raising my dogs:
- Scolding them:
Casper was my first dog. I had no experience or knowledge about raising a dog back then. And as we all know, puppies are very adorable; but at the same time naughty and destructive. Whenever Casper would destroy something or wouldn’t listen to me, I would scold him sometimes. This was an absolute ridiculous behaviour from my side. Being illiterate in dog behaviour, I was dumb as well to listen to others who would suggest me stupid ideas on how to make a dog methodologically mannered. The right way was to train him early, and even though if he misbehaved post training, I should have been patient with him.
- Keeping their food bowl full:
Casper was a picky eater. After he recovered from Tick Fever, he became all the more choosy about his food. I would leave his food bowl filled for hours thinking that whenever he would be hungry, he will eat it. But that doesn’t work for dogs. The best way was to mix wet food with dry food and feed him. And leave it in front of him maximum for 30 minutes. Eventually, Casper started eating his meals like a normal pup and I never faced any other issues regarding his eating habits.
- Feeding them low grade treats and food:
Often times we have to consider our income in many things. Casper was always on a good brand food. However, I had to switch Junior’s food for sometime to a cheaper kibble as I was going through a hard time in life. But that turned out to me more expansive. How? Junior fell majorly ill. I had to spend a lot of money on his tests, medicines, check-ups, etc. Fortunately, Junior was in good hands and the vet never let him slip into a critical stage. Let me tell you, the vet always scolded me and asked me to switch Junior’s food to a better and know company. But my hands were tight, and I thought, that “kibble is a kibble, be it any company”. I was so wrong. The same applies for treats and bones. Always use a good quality product for your dogs.
- Not giving them time:
I was an animal activist for some years. Besides that, I was even working. The only time I had for my dogs was their walk time. Casper passed away at an early age. And till this day I regret not giving him more time. It is said, “Make sure your cup if full before you pour into others cups”. My own dog was feeling lonely and I was busy saving others. I quit the animal activist work, started spending a lot of time with Junior, and now I take care of only those stray cats and dogs where I can reach without compromising on Junior’s time.
- Neglecting symptoms:
Casper always vomited once a month. Each time I would think different reasons like the weather is bad, or he must have eaten some crap, etc. Had I got him checked earlier, maybe, just maybe I could have saved him. Please do not ignore even the slightest sign which appears to be different than their normal behaviour.
These were the major mistakes I made. As you must have realised, most of them were with Casper, because by the time I got Junior, I had gained good knowledge about raising a dog. Don’t take me wrong, though I have made mistakes in raising Casper, but I have loved him immensely as well. He had a very lavish and happy upbringing. He was the most mannered and loving dog. And now, I make sure I don’t repeat my mistakes with Junior, spend a lot of time with him, give him enough exercise, feed him the best food, and love him a lot.
Whether you are a new pet parent or already a pet parent to many dogs in the past and present, mistakes are inevitable. But pet parenting mistakes are worth reviewing and avoiding whenever possible. Socialise them, exercise them, feed them good food (don’t over feed), don’t leave them alone for long hours, get their check-ups done regularly, train them, NEVER punish, scold or beat them, keep them clean, don’t neglect their personal hygiene, and most of all – LOVE THEM.
I am overwhelmed to share with you my incredible, and, almost impossible journey from fat to fit in just 6 months. Why impossible? Because I am a big time foodie. As you can see in many of my posts, I love cooking and trying out new dishes all the time. I wasn’t like this always though.
In my teens, my lifestyle wasn’t exactly healthy; I would wake up around noon and post that, I would freshen up and straight leave for college. Breakfast was always skipped, and lunch was junk food at all times. Ironically, I was super skinny then despite of surviving only on junk and deep-fried food. Then I got engaged, and, married at a very early age, and started putting on weight. In denial, I chose to blame it on the happy hormone, but the fact was, I had stopped caring for my body all the more after marriage thinking “I do not have to impress anyone now. I got my prince charming and it is forever.”
Apart from having a senseless thinking, I had a senseless way of eating too. I won’t be wrong if I say “I just couldn’t stop eating.” From a twiggy 44 kgs damsel, in a matter of just a few months I was 68 Kgs and still gaining, all this at the age of 23 years. From a size 0, I jumped the ladder to a size 12, which was not only physically visible but also affected me medically giving me constipation and acidity. Now, you may be wondering that 68 kgs doesn’t really sound too heavy or worrisome. Trust me, when I say this, it is extremely worrisome! As per my body statistics, my ideal weight should be between 48 to 52 kgs. The worse part was that I was living in complete denial that my lifestyle wasn’t unhealthy one bit, and, I chose to completely ignore the long-term damages.
Then life took a U Turn (as mentioned in my previous posts). I was awakened, and, decided to start working on myself, physically, and, mentally. I was head strong this time, and determined, to get to my ideal body weight under any circumstances. I started consulting a renowned dietitian; the best thing about his diet was that it was more of a lifestyle diet rather than just target weight oriented, and one could follow it even after they have reached their ideal weight. That diet is an integral part of my life even today. I am never starved, I do have my cheat days, and thoroughly enjoy my daily meals and fit life. With the lifestyle change, the medical issues vanished and I no longer have constipation or acidity. Although he is no more now, till date I am thankful to my dietitian for revolutionizing my lifestyle. Believe it or not, he worked till his late 80s before he passed away.
It’s not that that I had not tried dieting before. I had; and miserably failed. My failure was due to being starved which lead to lack of motivation and will power. I would follow the diet for a month, then would return to my old dumb habits. KITO, detox, treatments, etc., you name it.
My present scenario, I am 48 kgs and size 2 at the age of 36 years. I lost 20 kgs in 6 months 8 years ago, and I am still maintained. All my hard work, dedication and the right information is still paying off. What diet did I follow and what exercises did I do? Let me share all my tips with you.
- First and foremost, my dietician wrote down a few blood tests to rule out any underlying disease. And just in case anything came up, he would prescribe a diet accordingly.
- It is a little slow process for women with PCOD/PCOS or thyroid to lose weight, but not impossible.
- Since I had no underlying disease, I was put on his regular diet which included Wheat, Dal, Rice, Milk and looooooooooots of Vegetables.
- Never stay hungry for more than 2 hours. Apart from your Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, have one sugar free and cream free biscuit hourly.
- My last meal of the day, is at 6.30 pm, max at 7pm. Before bed, I have a cup of tea or butter milk.
- From the past 1.5 years I have been going to the gym to tone my body. Prior to that, my only workout during the process of losing weight was walking my dogs three times a day, each time for 20 minutes (I am so thankful to them). You can go for a walk for an hour at a stretch too.
- Consume a lot of veggies. It will help to keep full, you won’t starve and it’s the healthiest option.
- My daily diet:
- A big cup of Masala Tea + 2 Marie Biscuits for Breakfast.
- 2 Wheat Rotis + half bowl of Curd + lots of cooked Vegetables for Lunch. (you can modify as per your liking like vegetable parathas or vegetable sandwich)
- A big cup of Masala Tea + 2 Marie Biscuits for Supper.
- A small bowl of White Rice mixed with Dal and Vegetables for early dinner. (sometimes, you can substitute rice with pastas or sandwich again or dosa or idli)
- Butter Milk before bed.
- 8-10 Marie Biscuits throughout the day.
- 1 hour of Walk
Since I am a vegetarian, this is my diet. Please do note that I do not have any underlying issues. It would be advisable to get your blood work and other tests done or consult a good dietician before jumping into anything which would be drastic in any sense.
My weight loss not only cured my constipation and acidity problem, but boosted my confidence to another level. Now I love dressing up, I look prettier than before, I look younger than my age, I ran my first Marathon, I am less stressed and mentally fit too. I can work for hours without feeling lethargic.
Weight loss is not just to look pretty. Infact, looking good is just a small part of it. A healthy weight loss without starving yourself will keep you FIT for the longest time and you will not even relapse. By relapse I mean, many people feel that eating less will help them loose weight faster. Yes, it is true, but then you will relapse and gain double the weight of what you originally were. Remember! All the efforts, and, hard work you put in to lose weight, should not backfire by gaining double. It’s the most common problem.
So please, choose a dietitian who will give you a lifestyle diet and not just target weight diet. It has been 8 years since I lost my excess weight and I am still slim, trim and fit.