Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Concerning Parents’ Health, Lead By Example

DEAR NATALIE: As a millennial, I feel informed about the relationship between what we eat and the impact on all areas of health (mental and physical). My parents are skeptics. They recently began facing challenges with issues that are quite crippling. We live in different cities, so my support is consistent yet remote. I encourage meditation, elimination of processed foods and exercise. But, they want a magic pill and think my ideas are "too New Age" to be effective. How can we make our parents understand modern recommendations? -- You Are What You Eat

DEAR YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT: We can never persuade anyone to do anything that he or she is not ready or willing to do. The best way to highlight the benefits of a healthy lifestyle is to embody them. Be the light for your parents to follow. Instead of preaching, just lead quietly by example. You looking and feeling your best may encourage your parents to come to you with questions on their own. Because they don't see you every day, you can have even more of an impact when they do see you looking fit and healthy. The only way to win them over is to be positive, be an example and showcase that eating healthy and exercising as a family can be fun! Maybe when you see them next, take them to a healthy trendy restaurant, enjoy a fun physical activity together or even try and get them out of their comfort zone with a cooking class. Who knows? With a little love and luck, you may indeed change their hearts and minds about feeling great - no magic pill needed!

DEAR NATALIE: I'm majoring in marketing/communications, but I really love to write. I am worried that I won't be happy working in that field. What do you recommend that I do? I'm 21 and feeling like things aren't moving fast enough. -- Not Fulfilled

DEAR NOT FULFILLED: There is nothing stopping you from working in marketing and taking on freelance writing work from time to time to see if it is something that you love to do. Work on your own passion projects - a blog, poetry, your novel, whatever it is - while seeking writing jobs on the side. You can't just have one thing going if you want to be successful or fulfilled, so don't be afraid to spread your wings and fly to new creative heights. Never shut the door on yourself. Even if you hear the word "no," and you will from time to time, take it as "not right now, try again later," and then keep trying. Push on, push forward and create a life for yourself that includes your passions.

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Plan in the moment. If someone says to you, "Yes, let's meet for coffee," don't hesitate. Pull out your planner or your phone and set a time and date right then and there. This is a very effective way to get the meeting you want on the books without wasting time emailing back and forth.

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)