Saturday, 9 January 2016

When Your Puppy Fat Comes Back to Haunt You

Having been fairly average is weight for all of my childhood and teens, I piled on the pounds, two whole stones of it in fact, in my early twenties.  My excuse ?  I found it hard to settle into art college in Galway, I was lonely and my class mates seemed more talented, confident and fabulous than me.  My new found circle of friends that I met through my Nordie boyfriend were feisty and cool, many of them musicians.  The girlfriends were working full time and could afford to buy designers clothes, while I hid in my leggings.

Others may have been inclined to hit the bottle, I opened the Mr Kipling.  Funny thing was, I’ve never had a particularly sweet tooth and often ate things I didn’t even like and often felt disgusted with myself.
Sadly, myself and the Nordie boyfriend parted company a few years later.  Instead of hitting the cake, I tread the tarmacadam and walked it out of my system.  The pounds feel off and I felt better about myself (leaving the broken heart stuff aside) than I had in years.  Others may be happy carrying some extra weight, but I was never comfortable in that larger, looser skin.  I vowed that I would never be that ‘big girl’ again.

Since then, I have carried that anxiety around excess weight with me.  Although I have held onto few of my pre-motherhood ideals around what I will/will not allow my children to eat, I am very conscience of my children’s weight and diet.  My primary concern is, of course, their good health and instilling good behaviour for later life.  However, I know that I have a big hang-up about how being overweight could make their lives less pleasant – a transfer of my baggage, I guess.

Overall, the Poppy Cottage family haven't shaped up too bad weight wise.  But late last year, Hudson, my gorgeous Labrador/collie had the snip and it all started to go horribly wrong.  Instead of noticing his beautiful face, people commented on the size of his backside.  I instantly went into defence mode, explaining how that, without his hormonal drive, that he had less need for calories.  I blamed the kids for feeding him their left overs, while I looked in the other direction ‘Look Mam, all gone !’ 
I found it hard not to take the comments about Hudson’s girth personally, as personally as when Mrs Smith told me all those years ago in the clothes shop where I worked, that I was a ‘fine lump of a girl’ in front of other customers.  I buried my head in a rail of clothes, trying not to cry.  She was no skinny malink herself, Mrs Smith.  She was the kind of woman that asked childless women when they would ‘be starting a family’ and call people with intellectual disabilities ‘patients.’  I should probably get over what she said to me at this stage.  It’s been twenty odd years now.   She meant no harm.  And she is dead after all.  

I, and our friendly vet, have talked to the children about the consequences of feeding tit-bits to the dog and they have been very good about it.  They have seen for themselves, their ever increasing doggy in our little house.

Like all good diets, we have had a few blips.  If I’m busy, as I was last autumn, or the children aren’t in form for walking the dog, I’m stuck for exercising him.  The weather of late has been far from inspiring for any of us to get out and about.  The mucky paw prints all over the house would reduce any gal to tears.

... And then there was the ‘After Eights Incident’ ...   Just before Christmas, I did some shopping for boxes of sweets, the last-minute, failsafe gifts.  I dumped the shopping bags in the house, before heading out again with the children to see the Coca-Cola truck in Monasterevin.  It was bitterly cold so I left the dog indoors.  There was a huge queue of people at the truck, so we didn’t stay too long.  Just as well, because when we got home, Hudson had demolished a full box of After Eights, cellophane, box, wrappers and all.  He must have had a quare sickener afterwards, because his bowl of water was licked dry.  I doubt if he will ever look an After Eight straight in the face again.  I relayed the story over Christmas and was told by more than one lecturey voice, ‘you know that chocolate is REALLY BAD for dogs’.  And yes, I DO know that chocolate is bad for dogs.  But for fecks sake, I didn’t exactly put them in his bowl.  I didn’t say ‘here you go Huddie, a wee treat for the holliers.’   Thankfully he did not have any adverse side effects, although his poos must have been interesting for the next few days.  And no, I didn’t look. 

Despite the blips, it seems that we have it in hand.  A friend remarked only yesterday that Hudson had lost weight, so it must be true.  We brought him for a long walk today and he was as happy as a dog with a box of After Eights.  I was sure that I observed his bum shrink right there before my eyes.
Hudson’s previous owner is coming to visit us soon.  I’ve already given him the heads up on the mutts weight gain, but I’ll be anxious that he will think I’m a bad Mammy.

Expect to see us pounding a road near you very soon. 

POST SCRIPT : I do not recommend splitting up with your significant other as a way to loose weight.  Tis a bit extreme ...

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