Itís been a world of discovery since having weight-loss surgery more than a year ago.

Iíve discovered that weight loss can lead to improved overall health, as I am no longer on prescribed medications for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Iíve discovered that my overall energy level has increased, which has resulted in increased exercise and the recent participation in a 5K run ... or in my case, a 5K walk.

Iíve discovered that it becoming easier to shop for clothes, as am I no longer limited to only shopping in the big-and-tall section at department stores.

But the biggest discovery had nothing to do with any of those topics.

In fact, it was all about two four-legged family members ó my dogs Annie and Whitney.

My wife, Janelle, and I welcomed our two dogs into our lives about four years ago. Annie, a greyhound mix, and Whitney, a Boston terrier/dachshund mix, are more than just dogs. They are our children.

Annie and Whitney are affectionate dogs and love to have their ears and bellies rubbed.

But there is one thing Annie and Whitney love more than anything else ó treats. I guess you can say that they take after their daddy.

When my girls do something good, Janelle and I reward them with a treat. Annie and Whitney are good girls, so they get lots of treats.

Donít worry. Annie and Whitney donít take after me, so they are not battling problems with obesity.

But they had to make an adjustment when I had weight-loss surgery.

In the days following surgery, I had to make sure that Annie and Whitney didnít jump on top of me, as my body was still in its recovery stage.

I know Annie and Whitney didnít like it at the time, but it was necessary in an effort to avoid any complications.
Once I healed, Annie and Whitney are jumping any chance they get to make up for lost time.

Since I am exercising more, Annie and Whitney are benefiting from it, since I take them for more walks around the block. To be honest, Annie like it more than Whitney, but I guess that is only natural since she is a greyhound mix.

But what Annie and Whitney love more than anything else is helping clean my plate.

Since I am eating less, I always have a bite or two left over with every meal. Luckily, I have two dogs more than willing to help me out.

If I have a piece of grilled chicken left over, Annie and Whitney are eager to swallow that last bit of morsel of food. They do that with almost anything that wonít hurt them, such as scrambled eggs, steak, pork and even grilled asparagus.

Iím grateful to have two dogs willing to do their part in an effort to help limit my portions at every meal. Annie and Whitney would have done that even if I didnít have weight-loss surgery, but that is beside the point.

Annie and Whitney are just like Janelle and the rest of my family. They all want me to live a healthier life so I can be around for many more years.

But in the back of my mind, I know Annie and Whitney have ulterior motives. They want me around to give out more hugs, ear rubs, belly rubs and, of course, treats.

Iíll be more than happy to oblige the wishes of my four-legged, furry girls.

Starting weight (April 1, 2014): 401.2 pounds

Surgery weight (April 15, 2014): 383 pounds

Current weight (as of May 5): 295 pounds for a total weight loss of 106.2 pounds

Remaining pounds to lose to reach goal: 95 pounds
Brent St. Germain is the sports editor of The Houma (La.) Courier and The Thibodaux (La.) Daily Comet. He can be reached by email at