What A Dog Can Teach You About Self-Acceptance

I've been dog-sitting the last week for an adorable dog named Rosey.  Hanging out with Rosey got me thinking about what dogs can teach humans about self-acceptance.

I've met lots of dog owners at the park and none of them focuses on how much their dog weighs, or how good their dog looks in any particular leash, collar, or outfit.

Dog owners may say their dog is pudgy, but they say it with affection.

They talk about how smart their dog is, how feisty, how funny, and goofy, or how shy, or aggressive, and that kind of thing.

They say, “Plays well with others,” not, “My dog is too overweight to even be seen in the company of other dogs.”

The first lesson is to focus on your personality, not your pounds.  

If you did that, how would you describe yourself?  What qualities do you like and appreciate about yourself?

One thing you can learn from dogs is to pay attention to your needs.

If your dog is hungry, do you say, “What's wrong with you?  I can't believe you're hungry again.  Okay, you can have some food, but only a little.”

Similarly, if you get hungry, give yourself permission to eat.  So many people battle themselves and fight their hunger, which often leads to overeating.  Physical deprivation leads to starvation, and by the time you finally allow yourself to eat, it's often hard to stop.  Bottom line, don't make a character issue out of hunger.

What if you acted like a dog?

Not in the, “men are dogs” way of being like a dog, but in the way dogs are fully in the moment, attuned to themselves, and naturally engage in self-care.

Vets often say that you should put a bowl of dog food out at a particular time, and then take it away ten minutes later, so the dog will eat it all at once.  Helps with training and all that.  And that is what happens, if your dog thinks the kibble is going to be taken away – they eat it all, out of a “better get it while it's here” mentality.

But if you don't take away the bowl and, leave it out, dogs only eat until they're satisfied.

Same thing with humans.  If you think, “This is the last pizza, or ice cream, or cookies, or whatever, that I am allowed to have until I lose weight,” then you probably eat more of it than you would otherwise.   reasons.

If you think, “I can have this any time I want.”  Then you decide whether or not you want it.  If you do want it, you're less likely to eat too much.

And that's how you win the diet war.

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