Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Lose some pounds, keep some bucks

Cassie the Corgi is getting a bit on the chunky side.Bad. The corgi is built like a dachshund: short legs under a long spine. This mutation puts a lot of stress on the spinal column, making the dog susceptible to back injuries and debilitating arthritis. Apparently overweight is the most common cause of crippling back pain in these dogs, and the most common cause of premature death.

So it’s time to put the pooch on a diet.

I’ve been feeding her about 8 ounces per twice-daily feeding: 2 ounces of starch, 2 ounces of veggies, and 4 ounces of meat with each meal. Pretty clearly that’s too much: she’s gained three pounds since she moved in with me. That’s a lot, when you’re supposed to weigh about 21 to 23 pounds: 13 percent of her desired body weight!

The rule of thumb for feeding DIY doggie cuisine is 2 percent of of the ideal body weight. Assuming Cassie should weigh 23 pounds, that would be 7.46 ounces a day, or 3.68 ounces a meal. That is not much food! In fact, it seemed way too little to sustain such a lively little dog, and so I just started feeding her by guesswork.

Evidently I guessed wrong. I’ve been feeding her 8 ounces per meal.

Interestingly, not only was she beginning to look like a tiny barrel with legs sticking out, she also had lost her enthusiasm for the beloved doggy dish. She had to be coaxed to eat. No wonder: the poor little thing must have felt like she had a cannonball in her belly.

Yesterday I cut her ration to 5 ounces. This morning she was dee-lighted to scarf breakfast, and she greeted the day by rocketing around the house like a Roman candle run amok. Clearly she feels better on a lighter diet.

This is going to save some cash: half as much frozen vegetables, rice, and chicken represents a significant savings on dog food. I think I’ll ease her down to 4 ounces per feeding and see how she does.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

It occurs to me that what’s sauce for the pooch could be sauce for the human: What if I restricted my feed to 2% of my desired body weight?

That would come to 2.6 pounds of fine cuisine per day.

Seems like a lot. A typical meat portion for me is about 4 ounces. Because there’s nothing to eat on the campus that isn’t junk food, I don’t eat lunch. Somehow I doubt that 2 pieces of bacon, a piece of toast, orange juice, and strawberries in the morning plus 4 ounces of grilled meat and a salad at night come to something over 2 1/2 pounds of food. However, this morning I ate enough oatmeal to create the lead-ball-in-the-belly sensation. And I do eat a fair amount of watermelon and fruit during the day.

The difference is that Cassie eats better than I do. My diet is not a carefully calibrated fusion of mixed vegetables, starch, and meat. I eat whatever comes to hand, which tends to be high on cheese, meat and fish, crackers, and fruits and low on vegetables.

What if I weighed my food and tried to keep the daily volume to 2 percent of the body weight I’d like to have? Or less? What if I made an effort to balance veggies and starches 50-50 with animal proteins? This could be an interesting experiment.

Might save some money at the grocery store, too!

Author: funny

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  1. Smaller animals will need to eat more per day for their body weight than people. Small animals have a higher surface-to-volume ratio, so they lose more heat. This is compounded by the fact that they usually run at a slightly higher body temperature and have a faster heartrate. (By the way, heartrate for the most part scales with body size in mammals; mice have a resting heartrate of around 600-700 beats per minute.) All this means that small animals have a lot more metabolism to do just to maintain themselves than people. So, I don’t recommend you try the 2% rule.

    Incidentally, the Etruscan shrew apparently has to eat 2-4 times its body weight a day. Granted, that’s only 4-6g a day, but they eat insects, which are pretty nutritious. Hummingbirds also famously eat many times their body weight a day, but you would too if you had to flap your wings that fast.

  2. Good point! It explains why eating 2% of my body weight would make me fatter than I already am! 😀

    When I was writing an article on hummingbirds, I came across the assertion that if an adult human male burned as much energy as a hummer does, he would expend so much heat he would glow red.

  3. Also, I don’t know about the glowing red, but he would probably die. Lower surface-to-volume ratio means he couldn’t get rid of the heat as efficiently, and he would overheat. Mammals can tolerate having a cooler body temperature way better than having a warmer one, and overheating by only a few degrees (celsius) kills. Glowing red sounds way cooler than dying, though.

  4. LOL! Maybe we could find a way to generate energy from the wind off hummingbird wings; sure would be a lot more aesthetic than acres of windmills. 😀

    On shorter rations, corgi is looking and acting a lot better already: bouncing happily all over the place. Human remains…well, portly and lazy.