Sample text for The dog diet : a memoir : what my dog taught me about shedding pounds, licking stress, and getting a new leash on life / Patti Lawson.

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Bridget Jones had nothing on me.
I got up and weighed myself in the middle of the night more times than I care to remember. I kept meticulous records of my meals and intake of calories, fat, protein, fiber and carbohydrates¨except for the things I ate standing up, in the car or very late at night. Grapefruit diet, juice diet, egg diet, 4-Day Diet, no-carb diet, all-carb diet, no-meat diet, steak diet, cabbage soup diet, broth diet, tea diet, fasting . . . I tried them all. At any given time, along with a friend or two, I was trying out a new diet. I bought every diet supplement on the market as long as it had a "guaranteed or your money back" promise.
IĂd spend hours in the grocery store filling my cart with endless combinations of foods that were going to do it for me "this time." After IĂd reach the checkout, the process would start all over again, as I would grab and throw into my cart each and every magazine that even hinted of diet secrets that I was missing out on. Each time a new "miracle" was discovered, alas, the foods I had just stocked up on were not the right ones. "Okay," IĂd say. "Eat these and just start this new strategy next week."
And on and on it went.
My obsession did not begin and end with food, however. I hired personal trainers, I ran, I walked, I stretched, I huffed and puffed, and I exhausted not only myself, but also everyone around me. I joined gyms and bought exercise equipment. I wore out a treadmill and kept an extra set of free weights in my car trunk for overnight stays. I joined contests and had before and after photos taken¨or maybe I should say before and before photos. I once even tore a photo out of a family reunion scrapbook because I was too fat that year. I jumped on trampolines, ran up steps, stretched rubber bands, wrapped my thighs in plastic, suffered in steam rooms and walked across pools with ankle weights on. I had a collection of ab rollers, thigh masters and sauna suits.
I even associated major events in my life with whatever was or was not going into my mouth at the time. First wedding? Oh yes, I was on the champagne-only diet. (The champagne diet also served as a good excuse for that first-wedding fiasco.) Graduation from law school? Sure I look happy in the photo¨not only had I just gotten my law degree, I had spent the last two weeks on cabbage soup and had entered that blissful euphoria I imagine people must experience just before starving to death. First divorce? The 4-Day Diet¨ almost longer than my marriage. ItĂs true that misery loves company. I pulled and dragged along anyone I could on these diet adventures. My friend Marty and I would go to a juice-fasting spa in Key West. We never experienced the joy of a cheeseburger in paradise; however, we can tell you all about happy hours with potato water and sneaking into the spaĂs kitchen late at night for a morsel of solid food in the form of a grapefruit section. There was my mother, who sent me a refrigerator magnet that said "Square Meals Make Round People" and convinced me the key to dieting was in drinking apple cider vinegar first thing each morning. Bobi, my best friend, and I would live on coffee for days, often because we had no money for anything else, but that is another story. Julie and I gorged on fat-free foods; my sister and I lived for weeks on Alba 77 milkshakes. Season and I experienced a nearly illegal high eating bacon, eggs, "real" mayonnaise and cheeseburgers without buns.
And so it went until a little dog taught me some big lessons about life. I met her one sunny Saturday when, during a crazy period of my life, I cruised up to our local PetSmart in my pristine Mercedes convertible. Now, understand, this is a car I have never even let one person drink a clear liquid in, yet in a matter of less than an hour I found myself tooling back down the highway with a dog kennel on the backseat. In that kennel was a little black and tan dog that I had promised to take care of for "one night."
I eventually named her Sadie, and she not only became my best friend, she ended my crazy quest for the ultimate diet secret. With Sadie I lost the weight I had lost over and over again for many years . . . and this time I lost it for good. With Sadie I let go of the obsession for perfection and started enjoying my life in the most unexpected ways. Sadie pulled me from a bleak depression, lightened up my mind and my body as well.
So, if you are like I was, youĂre probably wondering, "But what did you do? What should I eat?" While this book will have some food suggestions, it goes way beyond these. You will see how to rev up your metabolism and slow down your life. I will show you how Sadie taught me to find joy in simple things, and in doing so, I found out that I was not a number on a scale, a perfectly balanced meal or a five-mile run. I hope my experience of saving a small dog, who in turn saved me, will inspire you, encourage you and most of all make you laugh¨at yourself!

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Dogs -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Anecdotes.
Dogs -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Humor.
Dog owners -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- Anecdotes.
Dogs -- Food -- Recipes.
Lawson, Patti.