Showing posts with label ideal weight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ideal weight. Show all posts

Friday 19 January 2024

An important trick to eating less and achieving a good BMI

Although there are many factors in reducing your weight and achieving a good BMI, in this short post I want to address one particular issue. It's actually one particular moment.

An important trick to eating less and having a good BMI
Beat that desire to eat more. The desire will pass quickly if you deny it. And eventually you won't experience the feeling at all.

It's the moment when you finish eating. You have eaten quite a small meal because you are on a journey to losing some weight. You immediately feel like eating more. That feeling comes about because you enjoyed eating. You want to continue the enjoyment of eating.

This is the brain playing tricks. It's almost how addiction works. You like to do something and therefore you want to do more of it. Food gives you pleasure and therefore you want to do more eating to get more pleasure. Simple formula.

And so there's that one moment when you finish eating when you want to eat more and you go to the kitchen to get some more food. And you go on doing that perhaps until you are sated. Until you are full up.

But the trick is this: you should know that that feeling that you want to eat more only lasts for quite a short time. That's how the brain works. If you deny that desire to eat more, which is quite a difficult thing to do sometimes, within about 20 minutes the urge to eat more will have disappeared. You then have no desire to eat more and you will have beaten a major problem of losing weight.

It all turns on that split second and having enough self-discipline or commitment to tell the 'devil' to go away. Soon afterwards it will be history and you'll feel better. 

There is an added benefit. You'll have trained you stomach to want less. A time will come when the desire to eat more won't happen.

You will have a clear conscience that you did the right thing and that you are on the way to a good BMI and better health and therefore more happiness because there's nothing that makes older people more miserable than chronic ill-health and obesity is likely to cause ill-health in old age. 

It can be tackled. It can be beaten and in this article I address one small but vital trick, one tool in the toolbox to beat obesity.
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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Monday 25 September 2023

Young cats are skinnier than middle-aged cats

 A user on the Reddit.com website was concerned about their recently adopted young Maine Coon. As you can see in the photograph, he is quite skinny. He looks a little bit underweight to me. But young cats tend to be skinnier than older cats. They are more active and they don't tend to eat enough to bulk up to counteract the increased activity in my view. 

And in any case, Maine Coon cats tend to be quite rangy or skinny below that shaggy coat. That's the normal shape but you don't want your young Maine Coon cat to be too skinny.

Young MC is skinny. Image: Reddit user: u/morbidleo

I think it's okay to feed treats in moderate amounts which might help to bulk them up a little bit. My cat is not a Maine Coon but he likes king prawns! He likes them so much that I can bulk him up a bit because he was skinny when he was a youngster. In middle age he's become a little stockier in appearance which is fine.

If a young cat is skinny, it's okay. You might describe them as fighting fit. But you've got to make sure that they are actually fit and not suffering from some sort of health problem. Being underweight is a symptom of illness but the trouble is that there are a large number of illnesses which can cause a cat to be underweight.

But it should be apparent if a cat is ill causing the cat to be underweight because they would have lost their appetite. This is a case of watching a cat and making sure that they are eating enthusiastically. Young cats should eat pretty enthusiastically. They should be doing everything enthusiastically!

Friday 18 August 2023

How do you define "cat obesity"?

When you think of the word "obesity" you think of very fat people or sometimes very fat cats (and I don't mean the human fat cat namely the greedy, alpha male smoking a cigar happy in the knowledge that they have ripped off people to make a large profit).

Just 15% above the normal

But it might surprise people that feline obesity refers to cats with a weight which is 15% above the ideal. That's not much more than 10% above the ideal. You might think that is acceptable. You might not even really notice it and I wouldn't blame you. That's because people, including me, tend to normalise weight gain. You gradually lose your bearings as to what is the correct weight both for yourself and for your companion animal. The problem creeps up on you almost invisibly sometimes.

So, a weight gain of 15% in your cat might not be noticed but a veterinarian would describe your cat as obese. And it might not surprise you that the most prevalent nutritional problem for domestic cats and dogs in Western Europe and the United States is obesity!

You may have heard about the obesity epidemic both in humans and cats and I suspect dogs as well. It affects between 10 and 20% of pet cats but that figure is probably out of date as it is constantly climbing. The figure relates to a book published in 2007. That's long enough ago for the obesity epidemic to become much worse.

Infographic

Overfeeding

The reason for cat obesity might be a medical condition and it should be ruled out before a weight loss program is started. However, in the vast majority of cases weight gain is associated with over-nutrition i.e. feeding too much. The cat is taking in an increased calorific intake or there is a reduced requirement for the body to burn up those calories. The infographic above mentions other issues.

To put it another way, the cat is either eating too much or not burning off enough calories or both. My mind immediately turns to the trend which I believe is taking place in America and in the UK to keep cats indoors full-time. This restricts activity. Cats become bored and they eat addictive foods for pleasure. This is a formula for obesity.

Health problems as a result of feline obesity

And the problems associated with obesity include:

  • Respiratory difficulties
  • decreased cardiac reserve
  • insulin resistance and the development of diabetes
  • poor response to infectious diseases
  • fatty infiltration of the liver
  • increased surgical risk due to increased risk of anaesthesia, fat necrosis, slow wound healing, technical difficulty in performing surgery and
  • feline lower urinary tract disease.

A quite comprehensive list which comes from (verbatim) NUTRITION AND WELFARE in my book The Welfare of Cats Edited by Irene Rochlitz.

Slow weight loss

Veterinarians would provide a word of warning about reducing a cat's weight. It should not be done too fast as this can lead to hepatic lipidosis which itself is a serious disease which can, unless it is turned around, lead to the death of the cat.

Clearly, for an obese cat to lose weight requires self-discipline on the part of the cat's caregiver. It's probably wise to obtain veterinary support to encourage the owner to follow dietary recommendations. This may be crucial to success on occasions.

Eating less is more effective than exercising

In respect of people becoming obese and desiring to lose weight, my personal research indicates that the strongest way to lose weight is to reduce food intake compared to doing more exercise. The latter will certainly help but the former will have a more dramatic effect and it should be a permanent change in diet for the lifetime of the person and the cat!

Wednesday 5 July 2023

Novel and amusing way to categorise domestic cats by their body shape

Category 1: Fine boi
Category 1: Fine boi. Screenshot from video below.

I love this amusing video. The vet clinic who made it are, I believe, trying to get a message across to cat owners but doing it in a funny way. It's probably the best way to tell cat owners to 'please watch your cat's weight'. You must have heard about the 'cat obesity epidemic'. Yep, it exists. When humans become obese there is a tendency for their cats to follow. It's about normalisation. Although my neighbours are obese and their cats aren't! 


So many health problems start with obesity both in humans and our feline friends. We really have to be self-disciplined. It can be tough but the rewards are high. My philosophy is that we owe it to ourselves to be as happy as possible. That's our target while respecting others and society. 

It is near impossible to be happy when unhealthy. Poor health causes distress at least and pain at worst. The same applies to cats. Obesity causes ill-health. QED. Keep cats healthy!

Link to the Alicia Pet Care Center TikTok page.

I do not want to be a spoiler; spoiling the fun of this video but a serious point has been made in the video. An estimated 40% of all domestic cats are obese. I suspect that that figure relates to the West i.e. developed countries.

Obesity contributes to arthritis, a fourfold increase in type II diabetes among domestic cats, poor hair coat, and hepatic lipidosis; a potentially life-threatening health problem.

A frequent error is feeding dog food to cats. Never do this! Cats require twice as much protein and B vitamins as do dogs. And they can't convert certain dietary precursors into necessary amino acids and water-soluble vitamins. A cat given dog food over a long period can develop taurine deficiency. They can also develop vitamin A deficiency, niacin deficiency, retinal degeneration and other serious or fatal issues.

Sunday 18 April 2021

Feeling your cat's shoulder blades, ribs and spine

Judging by searches on the Internet, there is a concern among some cat owners about the weight of their cat and the fact that they can feel their cat's shoulder blades, ribs and spine. I'm not necessarily referring to feeling these aspects of anatomy at the same time but all three bone structures can be felt when a cat is in good health and not necessarily underweight. The photo shows a slender stray cat. They are often slender because they eat less than domestic cats and move more! This cat is slightly underweight.

Image by Liselotte Brunner from Pixabay showing a slender cat

Shoulder blades

These invariably stick up when a domestic cat is in a certain position. They are quite prominent most of the time in a cat of the correct weight. There is quite a large depression in between them. It's all normal. Obviously there are various degrees of prominence of a feline's shoulder blades. No doubt when they are very prominent the cat is likely to be underweight. But when they are modestly prominent and can be felt by their owner and indeed are visible as well, the owner should not be concerned about their cat being underweight.

Ribs

They should be felt as if covered slightly or lightly by some fat when a cat is of the correct weight. It is notable that there should be some covering of skin and fat to take away some of that definition from feeling the ribs. Under these circumstances the cat will be of the correct weight. If they can be felt quite markedly and if the spine is also overly visible or can be felt too easily then I would suggest that the cat is underweight.

Spine

My cat is about the correct weight. He tends to be what I would describe as "fighting fit". That means slender. He is slender because he is active and does not overeat. I can just about feel his spine when he sits down in the upright position i.e. on his bottom in that familiar pose that we see in ancient Egyptian statues. Also when he is walking around on my lap. This is all normal. You can feel your cat's spine when he or she is within the normal weight range. But you might not which would also be in the acceptable weight range. 

Once again, the amount the definition that you can feel will vary and at one end of the spectrum where the definition is pronounced it is likely that your cat will be underweight. If the spine is visible then it is likely your cat is very underweight.

But the point here is that if you are able to feel your cat's spine by rubbing your hand along it with slight pressure, it does not mean that your cat is underweight. Although it might mean that he is underweight depending upon, as mentioned, the amount the definition of the spine that you feel or how pronounced the spine is. But you can't jump to an automatic conclusion that just because you can feel your cat's spine that he or she is underweight.

The reason why I am going on about this is because I sense that quite a lot of cat owners are concerned, because they can feel these bone structures of their cat, that there cat is underweight. And weight loss is a very general symptom for a wide range of illnesses. Illness leads to lack of appetite and of course lack of appetite needs to loss of weight.

How do I conclude this short post? I believe that if you want to assess a cat's weight you have to look at various visual aspects and the test does not exclusively include feeling for the bone structures mentioned.

Assessing weight

To be honest, I think people should take a commonsense approach to assessing their cat's weight. We all know what an overweight person looks like and we all know what an underweight person looks like. Use that basic common sense to assess your cat in the same way. There are many resources online as well if you are unsure. For example, on another website of mine you can have a look at some photographs or illustrations which may guide you by clicking here.

Senior cats

Senior cats tend to put on weight, the opposite problem. So unless maintaining a good body weight is a problem, senior cat should be on a reduced-calorie diet. There is an obesity epidemic we are told by the veterinarians. Obesity leads to illnesses such as diabetes. If your cat is overweight she should lose weight gradually to avoid fatty liver disease. You can read about that by clicking this link.

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