LGN 7: Looking Good Naked … or Furry

Click here to see all of my LGN (I want to Look Good Naked) posts.

I’m s’posed to be doing stuff tonight so I’ll try to crank out one or two of these things that’ve been sittin’ ’round.

First, a li’l story.


Leika, pronounced “like-ah” — okay, it should really be spelled L-a-i-k-a, I know.  But it’s not.  That’s another story.  M’dog is 15 and a half years old.  Since I moved to northern VA back in 2004 she has lived with some of my relatives in Baltimore.  I would pick her up on the weekends.  I’d drive up Saturday and pick  her up.  I’d drive back on Sunday to drop her off.  Kind of like unsupervised visitation.  I didn’t want her to be alone all day while I’m at work, you know.  And my grandmother and aunt love her and enjoy spoiling her and having her around.  So it was a good situation.  She would hang out around the house, make her rounds throughout the day, ward off stray cats and sleep in my grandmother’s room.

But since Leika is an oldster she started to have problems.  There was the hematoma in her ear.  But that passed.  Thanks to my mother, a nurse, who, after the surgery, drained the wound every day for about two weeks.  Leika would go hide every time my mother went into the house for a while there.  Anyway, arthritis or something, an enlarged heart, fluid on the lungs, cataracts, losing her hearing.  Every late Spring she’d get hot spots, an allergy to flea bites, maybe, or some of the plants in the yard or who knows what.  And we dealt with all of that.

Then one weekend, they told me that Leika was having trouble walking.  Couldn’t balance and slipped down the steps and all.  When I got there, she could barely stand.  And when she did she would sway and occasionally just plop back down.  She could barely go to the bathroom without falling over.  And on top of that she had bare patches in her fur and was very, annoyingly itchy.  Licking herself in un-lady like ways due to what looked like an infection around her area.  She was underweight.  It was pretty bad.  And stressful for everyone.  I thought that … I thought she was done.  I was googling euthanization.

Since she was ailing, she was in my grandmother’s way.  Always underfoot and we didn’t want my grandmother tripping over her or something.  Other relatives would drop not so subtle hints.  And I didn’t want Leika to be a burden, which she was becoming to them.  The fact that her hearing is going and she doesn’t really respond to voice commands just made it worse.  Nowadays, I clap to get her attention.

There were lots of expensive vet visits.  The vet down here, so much better than the place I was taking her in Dundalk … I mean, SO much better.  They actually seem like they care.  I left her there for a day and the vet spent two hours with her that day.  Just checking her out and observing.  Did some therapy and exercises.  I mean, wow.  They’re great people.  She gets more attention and care there than people do when they see a doctor.  Anywho, one of the vets thinks that Leika has a brain or spinal tumor.  I still haven’t gone to the neurologist, though.  It’s going to be $$$$ most likely.

The itching was still out of control.  Got some shots, some antibiotics, one of those stupid looking plastic collars.  Still didn’t quite solve the issue, though.  So I figured, I’ve got to try something different.  Anything.  So I switched her food from Iams to Paul Newman.  Bought some snacks with flax seed oil in them for her coat.  And a few weeks later her fur was coming back in.  Of course, we go for short walks every morning and evening, whereas in Baltimore she was let out and it was more of an in ‘n out thing so that she wouldn’t get into the itchy plants or whatever.  So she’s getting a little exercise.  Not like she should, but more.  Still giving her the heart and diuretic meds, but less and I really hope that’s okay.

So one weekend we were up in Baltimore at a family gathering, a birthday party, and Leika trotted in really excited to see everyone.  She loves people.  So she’s running around licking hands, sniffing, looking for food, being petted, looking for food, running around in the yard.  A couple people commented on how much better she was doing and that she looks great and how old is she and what is that in people years.

They asked, “What did you do?”

I thought about it for a second and said, “I changed her food to something better and more natural and I take her out for walks to get some exercise.”



I don’t know if they got it.  But I got it.

If you know me on Facebook than you know that I’ve shed 12 lbs. since April 4th.

If you’ve read my other “LGN” or “Look good naked” blog entries, you’ll know my approach.  If you haven’t, here it is quick and dirty.  I’m logging my meals/calories as best I can (using the “Lose It!” iPhone app).  Sometimes I have to guess or wildly approximate and that’s okay.  It’s not an audit, but more of an awareness opener or raiser.  A fulcrum of personal accountability and food-based reality.

I was — and I think most of us are — blind to the amount of food we eat.  And the crap that’s in it.  Google Wendy’s nutrition data for their premium fish sandwiches.  Then look at the ingredients.  I did.  And I thought, “Is this food?”

My plan is to be 40 lbs. lighter by February, which is roughly one pound per week.  So about 3500 calories less per week, which is 500 calories per day.  In our society, that’s pretty easy.  Three cans of soda or other soft drink a day is between 450 and 500 calories, y’know.  Or skip the cheese on a sandwich and get the small fries (or better yet, no fries).

Seriously, google the nutrition data for what you plan to eat for lunch or dinner, especially if you plan on eating out.  It will shock you into moderation.

That’s my secret.  A reasonable amount of weight in a reasonable amount of time, an awareness of how much food I’m eating, and a vague sense of nutrition.  That’s all it takes.  Nothing fancy.  Nothing painful.  Mind games are allowed.  “Mistakes” and bad days are expected (and sometimes planned and eagerly anticipated) and that’s okay, too, because moderation becomes the habit and gorging the exception.

Join me!  Come on.  I need support.  You probably do, too.  I need some Health Buddies.

Rewire Our Thinking

A friend said to me, “You lost 12 lbs.?  I think I found them.  Do you want them back?”

And that got me thinking.  Language is powerful, right.  So why do we say that we want to “lose” weight and we don’t want to “gain” weight.

Losing is usually negative.  If you’ve ever lost something like I have — dropped a $400 iPod in the street somewhere and lost it — well, usually when we talk about something we’ve lost it’s something that we miss or wish we had back.  So I’m trying not to say that I “lost” weight.  I didn’t lose it.  I evicted it.  I got rid of it.   It’s excess that I don’t need.  I disposed of it.  I burned it.  I don’t want it back and I don’t and never will miss it.  In fact, I’ll be pretty bummed if I un-lose it.

And gaining.  Gain is supposed to be a positive thing.  The last thing I want to gain is weight/fat.

It’s like the way we talk about weight came from the Dark Ages or something.  When losing weight was a sign of disease and gaining weight was synonymous with recovering one’s strength and vigor and having balanced humours and what not.

A country full of fat people and drowning in horrible foods is going to have a hell of a time “losing” weight.  I mean, it connotates an unintentional mishap. Like you’ve misplaced your car keys, but you’re pretty sure you’ll find them; you just can’t remember what you did with them — just had ’em in your hand a minute ago.

“Oh, I seem to have lost my weight.  Has anyone seen 10 lbs. of adipose tissue laying around?  Maybe I left it near the whole grains section of the supermarket.  Hmmm.  Oh!  Nevermind.  There it is.”

So I want to rewire my thinking, my language.  Our language.

Any suggestions?


Add Yours
  1. garyarthuryoung

    Hey. Me again. I wanted to add something just to keep it real.

    Leika is doing much better but her neurological issues persist. Cardiovascular, too, although that’s much better and requires less meds.

    I don’t want to give the impression of a miraculous omni-cure. But better food and a non-sedentary lifestyle worked wonders.

    I’m banking on it doing the same for me. I’m ramping up the workout thing. If only I could friggin’ wake up early enough to do it more regularly. I’m going to have to work on that.

  2. Paul D

    I only read the Leika-related part of this entry….

    You know, it also could have been that she wasn’t around her favorite person as much as she is now.

    Glad to hear she has gotten better. She is a trooper.

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