by Paris Permenter and John Bigley

A new year inevitably means a new look at diet and fitness, both for two- and four-legged family members who may have indulged a little too much over the holidays. Dieting doesn't have to be a solitary endeavor, though. The new book Dieting With My Dog: One Busy Life; Two Full Figures and Unconditional Love proves that dieting with a partner -- especially a four-legged one -- can be a win-win situation for both parties.

Author Peggy Frezon chronicles her weight loss journey with her rescue dog, Kelly, at her side. Frezon says the "Eureka" moment that started her own quest to lose weight "came when Kelly's vet told me all the risk factors for being overweight -- diabetes, bone and joint problems, heart disease -- and I realized that my own doctor had been giving me the same warnings. That's when I made the connections: My bad habits and my lifestyle were affecting her too. If I ate greasy pizza, chances were she was on the receiving end of the crusts. If I sat at my desk and worked all day without a break, she wasn't getting a break for a long, healthy walk together either."

From that point forward, the two embarked hand in paw down the road to fitness. "It wasn't easy breaking my sedentary habits and getting into the routine of taking walks every day," recalls Frezon. "But once I saw how much Kelly loved getting outside and walking around the neighborhood, I caught her enthusiasm. She's a great motivator!"

Frezon also offers easy, practical tips. She recommends measuring your dog's food ("I was giving Kelly two scoops a day. It turned out my scoops held much more than the 3/4 cup she needed.") and getting active, even during the coldest months. A resident of upstate New York, Frezon has even developed in-house fitness routines for snowy, icy days, substituting extra playtime for long walks, tossing Kelly's tennis ball down the hall and even up the stairs. It has all spelled success for Frezon and Kelly, not only in losing weight, but also in embracing a new, healthy lifestyle.

"Before, I thought she deserved cookies and treats as a way of showing her love," says Frezon. Now I see that, instead, she really needs me to keep her healthy, and keep myself healthy too."








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