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Monday, June 10, 2013

How to Lose Weight? Get a Dog!

Howdy Loyal Readers - this week's focus for National Safety Month is "Employee Wellness."

Since moving to Prescott (and not commuting 45 minutes - 1 hour each way to the office), I've found I have much more free time. As promised to Mighty Spouse, I began exercising more frequently. We go to the gym (Snap Fitness 24-7) together at least twice a week and I have been using our StairMaster of Death at least twice a week. We have other, less-PC* terms for the StairMaster, but I won't share them in polite company. 

(* politically correct)

Meet my exercise partner:
Shadow the Arizona-Alaskan Malamute
This is Shadow. He's been featured before on the blog, but he is my constant workout partner.

Shadow's Rules for his Humans:

1.) We MUST got for at least one walk (40 minute minimum) per day.

2.) If we don't go on at least one walk, I will punish you.

3.) If you are doing yoga, I will push you off the mat and show you how it is supposed to be done. My downward-facing dog is excellent.

4.) If you have just come back from exercising at the gym, I will lick all the excess sweat off your face and arms, in efforts to assist you in being clean again.

5.) If you do not take me on my walk, I will make sure to bark/howl/cry/scratch the living daylights out of you at the most inopportune moment until you give me a cookie (or two).

6.) When you use the StairMaster of Death, please make sure I am asleep or in another room, it freaks me out to see you walking above the ground but not going anywhere.

7.) You never sleep enough. You should alternate periods of high activity (i.e. chasing tails and sprinting around the house) with long naps. 

So I guess, in a way, I am doing my part to stay active, thanks to my dog.

That's The Industrious Hygienist's secret to weight loss: get a dog. And be a good pet owner, don't just leave them in the backyard to go stark raving mad from boredom. I mean, if you were forced to be in the same place, every day, with nothing you really want to be doing, and forced to obey all the silly rules of whomever, you would start being destructive too. Wait, I think I just summarized the majority of my adult life as a "productive member of society." Dangit. 

So what is The Industrious Hygienist doing for week #2 of National Safety Month? I'll be sitting in a chair in a classroom most of the week, in OSHA 501 class at the Arizona Safety Education Center. BUT...after class? The place I am staying has a pool. :)

I'm tracking my physical activity for the next few weeks as part of National Safety Month. Apparently there's a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) that the National Safety Council is mentioning as a low-cost employee wellness emphasis program. The "+" is there because it's not just about getting active, it's about eating well too. 

For adults, the goals of PALA+ are:

1.) Physical Activity, 30 minutes a day, for 5 days a week, for 6 out of 8 weeks. 

2.) Achieving a healthy eating goal each week (i.e. more fruits and veggies, choose lean cuts of meat, choose low-fat or low sodium options, drink more water, etc.). 

If you finish the PALA+ challenge, you can get this lovely, fill-in-able certificate:

Why care about wellness? Well, it's your life, don't you want to feel good? Why care about employee wellness? Unhealthy and/or obese employees can be expensive on the indirect expenses side of a business. 

Examples of employee wellness programs that are currently in use include: tobacco cessation programs, obesity management and nutrition counseling, online health assessments and other maintenance-style programs that put the onus on the employee.

More on Wednesday and Friday of this week: eating more veggies (i.e. the tale of my 5 months of being vegetarian) and eating less sodium. 

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