DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a 36-year-old African-American female who is 5 feet 7 inches and used to weigh 400 pounds. In the last 18 months, I have lost 200 pounds, and I have about 50 pounds to go. I feel great. I'm able to buy nice clothes that I really like, and I'm enjoying the new me.
Until recently, I did not have to worry about men finding me attractive. Since I have lost the weight, I don't know what to do. Now the men are telling me that I'm beautiful and sexy, and they want to take me out to dinner. I'm scared of the sudden newfound attention I'm getting, and I don't know what to do. Help! -- Looking Good, Chicago
DEAR LOOKING GOOD: First, congratulations on your weight loss and on claiming good health. You have made a major transformation in your life, and I hope you realize how great your effort has been thus far.
One of the challenges people face when they dramatically lose weight is that people see them differently. You look different, even though you are the same person. It is wise to be cautious as you begin to date. As nice as it is to have men respond to your new physique -- and you should enjoy that -- you want to be careful not to fall for someone who is interested only in how you look.
Make a list of the personality traits and other attributes that are important to you in a man. As you study your list, you may notice that the suitors who are most persistent are not right at all. Your perfect match may be less immediately drawn to looks but more to your personality. The guys who are pressing you right now may not be good enough for you!
Your list will help you to not get caught up in the hype about how you look. If you take your time and really get to know your suitors, you should be able to identify who is sincere and who is just attracted to a pretty face. Good luck!
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm in need of some extra cash, and I thought I would sell some of my family's old clothes and other things that we don't need. Usually, I give away all of that stuff to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I get a tax write-off for that, but it's not the same as cash.
A friend of mine said she uses eBay. I've never done that before. But I was also thinking about selling at the local flea market. I've been there a few times, and it looks like a lot of people go there. I've never done anything like this before. What do you think? -- Stuff for Sale, Grand Rapids, Mich.
DEAR STUFF FOR SALE: There are lots of options for selling your items. A flea market could be great if you have the time to sit at the table and actually sell items. It is true that eBay works for many people, as does Craigslist. An old-fashioned yard sale could work, too, if you have a yard.