I wish I ate like Chloe. She is so sleek, so muscular, and so slender and healthy. Who’s Chloe you ask? Chloe is my teacup Jack Russell terrier. My dog is almost five and a half years old and animal perfection.
Chloe picks at her food infrequently throughout the day. She weighs ten pounds and is beautifully built. She sleeps most of the day, yet she maintains her puppyish figure.
Experts say she should eat once a day, and that I should put her food down in front of her, at a regular feeding time, and then after she eats, pick up her bowl until her next feeding time. I have never picked up her bowl because she has never over eaten. She picks. One or two little kibbles and then walks away until later in the day. She even will toss around her kibble and play “soccer” with her food before she eats it.
This got me to thinking about animals in general. Rarely do you see fat animals in the wild. Even elephants are not fat. They are what they are supposed to be for the elephant world. Same goes for hippos, rhinos, and whales. Animals weigh what they are supposed to weigh for their size in general.
Unlike humans who struggle with weight loss, animals don’t worry an ounce (pardon the pun) about their weight. Only domesticated animals such as dogs and cats, hamsters and rats, etc. have weight problems, and their weight problems are not their fault. Usually captive domesticated animals that are fat are because humans are overfeeding them and not exercising their pets enough.
Take a cow for instance, on average an eleven hundred pound cow will eat thirty-five pounds of food a day. A five hundred fifty pound lion will eat over thirty pounds of food a day and gorge up on up to sixty-five pounds of food. Even when lions gorge, it is to keep them protected against starvation. The same is true for bears. They will gorge in the spring and summer to carry enough fat to get them through the hibernating months of fall and winter. The excess intake is about survival not gluttony
Some species of birds will eat ten times the amount of food per their weight. They make up for the excess they eat through expending tremendous energy. It takes much energy to fly.
Humans are different by far. The average female requires around eighteen hundred to two thousand calories a day and twenty-five hundred to three thousand calories for a male. Thirty-five hundred calories equals a pound.
In pre-historic times, people kind of ate like bears. They would gorge on meat, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables because they expended excess energy in simply trying to stay alive. Hunting and foraging for food, finding and building shelter, and trying to stay alive and out of the way of prehistoric animals took a lot of energy and burned a great deal of calories.
Today, finding food, shelter, and staving off dinosaurs is not too much of a problem for humans. We eat for nourishment, and there are a few people that eat only to sustain them. This is not the case for most of us. Most people eat not only when they are hungry, but simply because food tastes and looks good, and we want it. Ingesting food is more about gratification than about sustenance. Heck, most of us have lost our sense of knowing the difference between real hunger and appetite.
A need to eat is not triggered by hunger. Our need to eat is triggered by sensory stimulants. We see a commercial for fast food, and all of a sudden we are hungry for fast food, even if we ate a meal several hours before. Our appetite is directed by emotions, by sight, and by smell. It rarely has anything to do with appetite for most of us.
If we ate like my Chloe, we would not have a weight problem. We could sleep most of the day, eat one meal, or lightly pick all day, and we would be happy, and we would be slender and healthy. Dogs have got the life. They are loved and taken care of, provided a meal they like, have an occasional table scrap for dessert, exercise just enough, and sleep most of the day and night.
Sometimes I wonder if I ate like Chloe, basically a quarter of a cup of food a day per her normal weight, would I be thin, sleek, and filled with boundless energy like my dog? That would mean if I had a goal weight of one hundred twenty-five pounds, I would have to eat only enough calories to sustain that weight. I don’t know how many cups of food that would add up to. I do know it all depends on those pesky calories.
How nice life would be if I had someone to feed me, bathe me, pet me, exercise me, and then left me alone to sleep most of the day. Best of all, if I had Chloe’s life, not only would I be thin, but I wouldn’t worry about binge eating and controlling my diet. I would only eat enough to keep my weight healthy. A dog’s life is dog gone good.
Until we meet again, this is Linda Misleh Wagner, Future Former Fatty.