I got the call from the Golden Retriever rescue group, they found a dog for me, a 10 month old female named Annie. My husband and I drove to pick her up from a family that did not have time to take care of her. Annie was mostly bound to her cage, was not walked and was overfed. We brought her home and took her directly to our vet for a check up. He told us that she needs to get in shape or she will not live a long and healthy life.
As a dog lover I took his advice very seriously. I lost my previous dog to a horrible disease and during the time I cared for him I learned a lot about holistic pet care. So with Annie I was determined: I will do everything right! I will not buy commercial dog food and I will cook for my dog. I will make sure she gets plenty of physical activity. I wanted her to have a long, healthy and happy life.
Annie came to me at a time when my own health was at my lowest. I was not happy with my life, I was not happy with myself and I drowned my sorrows in food. My food compulsion was rampant and I was binging every day and feeling like I don’t care, all I wanted was food to numb me. I was eating greasy take out and bags of chips followed by pints of ice cream. My weight skyrocketed and it was hard for me to perform every day tasks like going up the stairs and bending over to tie my shoe laces.
After a restless night, where Annie kept waking me up because she was adjusting to her new home, we went for our first walk. Sneakers on, leash in hand, I headed to our local park. It takes about 7 minutes to get there and about another 7 minutes to walk around our small neighborhood park. After one round around the park, I could not walk anymore. I was out of breath, every part of my body was aching and I had to sit down on the park bench. But I did not want to go home yet because Annie did not get enough exercise and I was committed to her health! So I found a stick and played fetch with her while sitting on the bench. As I was throwing the stick back and forth I was suddenly overcome with such strong emotions that I started to cry. I was thinking: “What is wrong with me?” “Why is it so important to me too take care of my dog’s health but not of my own?” “Why do I always put everyone’s needs first and completely neglecting myself?” “Why am I willing to buy organic ingredients to cook dog food so Annie will get the best nutrition but I won’t cook for myself?” I sat on that park bench crying for a long time, I have never felt so low and my heart was breaking.
That episode in the park was a big aha moment for me and also the birth of my career as a health coach for women.
My experience was every woman’s experience. We all have different versions of it but we all struggle with prioritizing ourselves, our health and our lives.
After coming home from the park, something shifted. I made a decision that I am going on a health journey with Annie and not leaving myself behind. Annie became my inspiration and motivation to finally take care of myself because we both deserved a long and healthy lives.
In my interview with Kat Tozier for the Indomitable Women Podcast I tell the story of my dog Annie, the journey to health she inspired and the many lessons I learned and teach about our relationship to food, our bodies and ourselves.
Listen to it HERE and I would love to hear what you think.
Please share this blog and podcast with every woman who needs healing.