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Friday, July 31, 2015

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Take back control

Tags: Columnists control diet food relationships texting

Dear Ella,

After my divorce, I met Julia. She helped me through my depression when I gained 30 pounds. Julia says I’ll lose it when I’m ready, but since we’ve moved in together, she’s done the shopping and cooking while I continue to gain weight. Julia has never had a weight problem and can eat whatever she likes. Everything she makes is laden with calories. I’ve been on enough diets to know that she’s serving me poison. I don’t want to hurt her feelings and have tried talking to her, but she says I’m being silly and look fine. I don’t want to hurt her, but I’m growing on an hourly basis and feel very unhealthy.
Killing Me with Food

Dear Killing Me with Food

This is less about Julia and more about you. If you’re overindulging in the wrong foods, it’s because that’s what you’ve chosen to do. Sparing Julia’s feelings is an excuse to continue in this pattern.
It’s easy to come home and have a delicious home-cooked comfort meal waiting for you after a stressful day. How many people could actually resist that? Enjoying it with someone you love is the icing on the cake (excuse the pun).

If you’re really serious about regaining control over your body and mind, you need to take matters into your own hands and not sit back and enjoy being catered to. Enough time has passed since your divorce, and you’re well into a new and loving relationship, but it’s hard to say no, especially when it’s so satisfying and enjoyable. You’re not unusual. Who wouldn’t like it? But letting it go on so long is where the danger comes in.

Take control. Insist on being part of weekly food planning. If you know your way around dieting, or “lifestyle change” as it’s called today, you know how to put yourself on a healthier path with diet and exercise. There’s no magic pill. Just do it.

Explain to Julia that you know she cares, but your excessive weight gain is making you unhappy, and enlist her help. Once she realizes she has been enabling your misery, she’ll do what it takes to make you feel right again. Julia sounds like she really cares and wants what’s best for you. Don’t make this about her. It’s all about you. Take your life back.

Dear Ella,

I was cleaning up after dinner when I heard a familiar sound coming from my son’s pocket. He received a text message. Jeff was sitting on the couch in the family room with his sister and dad watching a movie. He typed something and no sooner did he put his phone down than two dings came from Jenna’s phone. Jeff texted his sister who was sitting less than 15 feet away. When I confronted them, all I got was eye rolling and a dismissive tone. Can this actually be normal? Why can’t we enjoy some family time together without everyone being so focused on their phones?
Texting Instead of Speaking

Dear Texting Instead of Speaking

Texting has become part of our lives. You will rarely take a walk, sit in a restaurant, doctor’s office, theatre, bus or anywhere else without seeing someone texting. You can’t change it, so get used to it. It’s a normal way to communicate.

The question is why are your kids texting each other in the same room? Is it because they can’t be bothered to speak? Were they discussing something they didn’t want you to know? Or did they not want to disturb their dad’s movie? Whatever the reason, it’s your home, and if this really bothers you, take control.

Establish a rule that for a couple of hours during family time, smartphones must be switched off. You can be sure the backlash will be loud and fierce, but you’re fighting against what has become a literal extension of our selves. Adults are just as guilty, so both you and your husband had better be prepared to adhere to this new rule of family communication.

If this is the worst problem you’re having with your kids, you’re doing very well. You may want to rethink why this is bothering you, considering that your family is home, together and sitting safely in front of you. This may not be as big a problem as you’re making it out to be. 

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