DEAR HARRIETTE: A guy who went to college with me calls every six months or so, always wanting me to hook him up. By the second sentence of the call, the ask is there, and it’s always for a significant favor that is far beyond my scope of interest, network or anything else.Harriette Cole
This guy is pushy and gross, as far as I am concerned. But we do share the bond of going to the same college a thousand years ago. I do my best to help anybody from my school that I can.
But this has gotten out of control. How can I get him to back off? I have tried so many things, including hardly ever being able to help — not because I am holding back, but more because I really can’t.
DEAR ENOUGH: It is OK to stop engaging this man. If he has shown himself to you to be a taker and a user without ever reciprocating, you can make the choice that you do not have to talk to him anymore.
That can be as simple as you no longer accepting his calls. Period.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister and I started a weight loss program at the beginning of the year, and we are continuing to do it the best we can. My sister, however, is doing much better than me.
She is down almost 20 pounds. I’m down 7 and struggling to keep that off. Never mind I want to lose 40. I need to. She is probably 5 pounds from her goal already.
I’m beginning to feel like a loser because I am going so much slower than my sister. She is very encouraging to me, but I’m at a loss. I have changed my eating habits. I am exercising with a trainer twice a week.
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DEAR NOT FIT: It is wonderful for you and your sister to encourage each other, but do your best not to compete. You are two different people with different bodies, metabolism, etc. You are different, and your bodies are responding to your fitness and nutrition changes accordingly.
The good news is that you are losing. Keep up the momentum. Doctors say that nutrition is even more important than exercise when it comes to weight loss, though both are essential for your overall health. Talk to your sister about exactly what she eats — and what she doesn’t. You may get some further inspiration from her about her food choices.
If you need to lose 40 pounds for health reasons, you may want to visit a nutritionist who can recommend a particular eating strategy for your body that will help you to reach your goal.
It is important to follow an eating plan that works for you and that is not so strict that it could harm your body or provide only temporary results. I mention this because many people are gung-ho at the beginning of the year and begin to follow extreme weight loss programs only to find themselves having gained back whatever they lost plus some once they come off of it.
Don’t do that. Decide on a strategy with your medical professional and stick to it. What I have learned that works for most people as a general rule is to eat less sugar, less salt, less meat, less fatty food, less processed food and more organic food, and to drink more water.
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Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.