For “good” medical reasons, Joe’s vet put him on a restrictive diet about three weeks ago. No more free feeding; no more table scraps.
(She and a neurology specialist determined that an extra 20 pounds pressured nerves that were damaged in an old car accident, causing tremors and other unpleasant side effects.)
This was not good news as far as Joe was concerned. This guy practically lives to eat.
He loves food like few dogs I’ve met. (And I’ve met some food-loving dogs!)
Joe could care less about a dog walk, doesn’t need to play with other dogs, and while he loves a good belly rub – his true passion is food. All kinds of food; he’s not picky. (Actually, I can relate.)
For my ex who thought the doggy diet was funny, I said, “It would be like you having to give up smoking.” How about a little empathy, huh?
And when Russ laughed at the diagnosis, I said, “It would be like you having to give up golf.” Thus the somberness of the situation settled in.
So with the vet’s strict orders to drop 20 pounds pronto, we’ve followed the feeding instructions for two and a half weeks. That’s meant half portions and no table scraps whatsoever. (Except when Russ isn’t looking, and then maybe just a spoon lick or two. But still, it’s a BIG improvement!)
Today we drove to the vet’s office to weigh in for positive reinforcement from the scale for our extreme efforts. At his last visit he was 81 pounds. I thought after nearly three weeks of half portions he’d be in the 70 something range.
This guy actually put on weight with this restrictive diet. Unbelievable!
So this afternoon Joe comes in the office to tell me he’s hungry. “No,” I said with my most calm assertive voice. “It’s too early to eat. You have to wait.”
Apparently I was convincing. Joe collapsed into a desperate heap on the floor to wait it out. He acted like he was being maliciously maltreated.
Which is when I realized I’d trained Joe to believe in scarcity of food.
And his body was likely responding to that scarcity by going into “starvation mode,” saving up calories that were “obviously” needed for a rainy day. This is probably a survival tactic, passed on by generations of successful forebears, to preserve precious calories in times of famine.
What’s embarrassing is this is the very thing I point out to my money clients: if we believe in lack and scarcity of money, we get clingy and desperate with our money. Which signals Universe that we don’t have much; thus we unwittingly turn off our own money faucet.
If we’re taking score, this weight loss situation with Joe might look like: Resistance – 1, Allowing – 0.
I gotta fix this! (Ha – even more resistance about resistance!)
So you know what just happened here, right? Joe just enjoyed a full dish of his favorite food, topped off to the brim, with no supervision from me and no sharing with the other dogs. (They couldn’t hone in if they tried – he’s become much more protective of food since the diet started.)
That was a lot of food. (Maybe now we can drop some weight around here, huh?)
How about you? Are you playing the game of expecting something to get better by employing scarcity? I’d love to hear if so, since I’m feeling a bit foolish now.
Also thinking I could have written this post about how to not let someone else’s authority override your own! (Written with all the love in the world to my well-meaning, well-educated, brilliant vets.)