How Walking A Dog Can Help You With Your Weight Loss Goals

My Sweet Tina - Dogs Can Teach Us About What Matters Most - Walking A Dog For Weight Loss Works

Years ago I had a strong desire to leave the gym and knew that many of my clients wanted other options as well. However, it was an article in Vogue magazine that really inspired me to take action. The article highlighted several Hollywood celebrities that had decided to take their exercise outdoors and leave the gym behind.

Since staying in shape was their business, I was intrigued. Drew Barrymore shared how she had switched from going to the gym to hiking in the hills with her dogs. So, I left the gym and started walking my dogs daily for the majority of my exercise and I’ve been teaching clients how to exercise outside of the gym ever since!

Since I have successfully lost weight and maintained it for years walking my dogs daily, I got really excited when I came across this University of Missouri-Columbia study.


The study showed that walking a dog 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week produced an average weight loss of 14 pounds for participants.

Study participants were people who were not regular walkers. They began by walking loaner dogs 10 minutes per day, three times each week. Eventually, the participants walked up to 20 minutes per day, five times each week. Those who followed this program for 50 weeks lost an average of 14 pounds.

The ones who walked only 26 weeks didn’t see much weight loss. “Even though we didn’t see a significant amount of weight loss in the group that walked for a shorter period of time, by the end of the study, all the participants were walking for longer periods of time and walking for daily errands instead of using some other type of transportation,” said researcher Rebecca Johnson in a press release.


“Many of the participants reported that they didn’t necessarily walk in the study because they knew it was good for their health; they enjoyed walking because they knew it was good for the animals,” said Johnson in the press release.

I’ve been a personal trainer for over 22 years. From my experience, most people need a “reason” to exercise. Doing it just because it’s good for you is usually not enough. Walking the dog gives the activity a purpose. Being around animals is also relaxing. On the days I feel like skipping our walk, all I have to do is take one look at my dogs and even a short walk is going to happen. Let’s face it, we tend to take better care of ourselves when another life depends on us.


1) Always eager to go. Humans can make excuses due to weather, lack of sleep, or too many other priorities.

2) Always on time. Your furry friend will not make you wait.

3) Allows time away from chatter.  Being with a dog allows you to unplug from electronics and every day stimulation. It’s a great time for meditation and fresh ideas. You won’t be scrolling through your smartphone because you are paying attention to your dog.

4) See the world through your dog’s eyes.  Dogs stop to smell the grass.  They are fascinated with nature.  My dogs inspire me to truly soak in the great outdoors.


Walking with a dog can often be more of a stroll, and this study used participants who were new to walking for exercise. That’s great news. The good results seen for those who stuck with the program for a year proves that simple regular walking for weight control and lifestyle change works.

Beyond the 20 minutes they spent walking, researchers reported that they began adding more activity into their lives. The additional activity beyond the 20 minutes of dog walking is probably a large factor in their continued weight loss. Some even adopted dogs themselves or began volunteering to walk dogs at the local dog shelter.

The results from this study are very encouraging.  They help prove that consistency and focusing on one healthy habit eventually lead to more. The most important thing to note here is that the participants had a purpose that helped keep them from giving up.  Staying consistent is key when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off for good.

It’s no secret I love dogs.  We have four.  However, I realize that not everyone wants to own a dog or is in a position to do so.  If you think you’d enjoy walking a dog, consider volunteering to be a dog walker at your local animal shelter.  Walking shelter dogs helps keep them from getting anxious or out of shape while they are waiting for their new forever home.  It’s a wonderful community service.

If you are thinking about getting a dog please consider adopting. is a great place to find a loving dog that needs a home.

Whether you have your own canine or not, I would encourage you to have a purpose to exercise. Mowing your yard, playing team sports, walking your kids to school, and working out to remain strong enough to do the things you enjoy are all examples of purpose-driven exercise. Having a reason to exercise makes it more meaningful and you’ll be more likely to stick to it.

Have a personal dog walking story or “reason” you exercise you’d like to share? Please leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Here’s to wagging tails and fit humans!

How To Enjoy This Holiday Season Without Weight Gain

It’s that time of year again! The Christmas decorations are going up and the parties have already begun.

Personally, I am so excited we are entering this time of year! However, from years of experience in the fitness industry, I know some of you are already thinking about how to enjoy the holidays without the weight gain. You might even be a bit nervous about succeeding.

The good news is it is totally possible  to enjoy the holidays without the weight gain!  All you need to do is follow some easy tips:

1) If you are currently losing weight congratulations! During the holidays, I recommend you set a very vital yet realistic goal. Maintain your weight. If you maintain your weight, you are already ahead when January comes! Keep it simple and realistic.

2) Now is not the time to stop exercising. As tempting as it is to skip exercise and snuggle on the couch with a glass of wine or cup of your favorite hot beverage, you want to get your calories burned so you can enjoy the special treats without the unwanted pounds.

3) Plan ahead. Schedule all your commitments for the season on your calendar. Schedule exercise time too. You may decide to exercise at home rather than drive to a gym. Try a mini-trampoline or an exercise video.

On days that are tightly scheduled, do your best to commit to a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise to keep your momentum and your metabolism boosted. Take advantage of every opportunity to be active that comes up.  Something is always better than nothing. Every minute of exercise counts!

4)  Do some off line shopping. You can get in your exercise while supporting your local businesses and salespeople. Win-win.

5)  Pay attention to portion sizes. Scan the table before serving yourself to help you plan your meal. Take larger portions of the fruits and veggies and smaller than normal portions of the richer fare like scalloped potatoes, prime rib, desserts, etc. Watch the dressings on the salad– put it on yourself and be conservative. Go for the dressings that will drip to the bottom of the bowl.

6)  If you do not already track your daily calorie intake, consider keeping track for the next 26 days to catch any potential weight gain before it happens.

Remember, it boils down to calories burned versus calories consumed, so choose treats wisely. Most of us only need about 1500-2000 calories daily, depending on the type of exercise we do and how much “lifestyle” activity we do each day. Save the higher calories for super special treats. Trade-offs work well. For example, if I have a glass of champagne, I will probably have only a bite of dessert.

7)  Wear form fitting clothes. This is a great way to keep weight from piling on. You will know if your weight is out of whack if those jeans feel a bit snug. You can take action to prevent further gain. – Courtesy of InStyle magazine

8)  Lighten up traditional recipes. Got to have your pumpkin pie? That’s okay! Choose lighter recipes than the more traditional fare. Cooking Light is one of my favorite magazines; however, there are many recipes on the web that have been modified to reduce calories and taste delicious.

9)  Avoid showing up to a party hungry. Keep low calorie snacks like fruit with you.  Eating something before you arrive will keep you from eating mindlessly. When you are starving, the tiny quiches look much more appealing than the fruit and veggie platters.

10) There are only a few days that are actual holidays–eat normally the rest of the days. Allow yourself to indulge on the actual holidays themselves — like Christmas Day, or New Year’s Eve.

On the rest of the days, stick as close to your normal healthy eating plan as possible. If you allow yourself a daily treat, that’s the time to work in a small piece of peppermint bark, or a small cookie.

Use these tips and you can enjoy the holidays without stressing out about the weight gain

If you have any personal secrets to keep you from gaining weight during the holidays, I’d love to hear about them.  You can share them by leaving a comment below!

Blessings to you and yours!


Lose Weight With Easy Low Calorie Recipes!

Eat at Home for Weight Loss

One of the easiest ways to lose weight without dieting is to make meal planning and eating at home a regular habit. Preparing meals at home not only helps you lose weight, it ensure that you are putting healthy food in your body. When you control the calories and the ingredients in your food, your chances of successful weight loss and good health are much higher.

If you are used to eating out often, the idea of cooking at home can seem a bit overwhelming. Other commitments like after school sports, exercise, business engagements or deadlines, and homework can leave little time for cooking meals.  At the end of a hectic day, the take out window looks pretty appealing.

Keeping it Simple!

So how do you accomplish cooking healthy, low calorie,  great tasting food without adding another project to your day? The trick is to keep it simple!

The first thing to consider when planning meals for the week is what your calendar looks like. How long will your chosen recipes take to prepare? Choosing recipes that take no more than 20 minutes will allow you to eat healthy and lose weight without feeling totally overwhelmed.

Five Steps for Quick and Easy Home Cooking

1)  Plan your meals for the week.  Choose quick low calorie recipes for each night you plan on cooking. I recommend Cooking Light’s Super Fast Recipe Selection. These recipes are 20 minutes or less and they are delicious! Add a salad as a side to your meals to feel more full, and get extra fruits and veggies in your diet.

2)  Make a shopping list. Make a list of all the ingredients you will need before heading out to the store. This will eliminate last minute trips to the store which can suck up your time or tempt you to opt for take out.

3)  Make extra! Make extra servings that can be used for lunch or dinner the next day.

4)  Have a back up! Keep healthy frozen meals in the freezer for the days that do not go as planned. I keep frozen organic pizzas, wild caught fish sticks, frozen vegetables, and french fries on hand at all times.

Pick a few staples that appeal to you for your own freezer. Or, freeze leftovers to keep on hand for a last minute meal.  Make a salad while the meal is heating in the oven, and you’ll have a healthy meal to keep your weight loss efforts on track.

5)  It’s okay to cheat. Buy pre-made items that will save you time. Things like organic pasta sauces, jarred salsas, and sauces are great time savers when recipes call for making these sauces from scratch. Avoid buying anything with partially hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup in it. It’s best when you recognize everything on the label.

You don’t need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen to eat healthy. And, you do not have to be a master chef either. Keep it simple and you will lose the weight without adding the overwhelm.

Have a quick and easy low calorie recipe you’d like to share?  Please comment below! I would love to hear from you!

Blessings to you and yours!