DEAR HARRIETTE: I am dreading going home to see family this year. I have gained about 50 pounds since I saw them two years ago, and I can already hear their comments. While I miss my family terribly, I am in no mood for a lecture. I know that I'm not in optimal health. I don't need everybody I see to remind me.
Is there anything I can do to head them off before they lay into me? If not, I think I will skip the trip. -- Feeling Fat, Los Angeles
DEAR FEELING FAT: Do you have a particular family member in whom you can confide? Maybe you can find an ally who will support you in discouraging other family members from riding you about your weight. You probably won't be able to get everybody off your back, but you can say something when they start.
Admit that you know you have gained weight and need to do something about it. Tell them that you are happy to see them and that it makes you uncomfortable when they pick at you about your weight. Ask them to love you and leave you alone.
This may be easier said than done, but you are most likely to get the treatment you want if you request it. Your family members probably don't realize how uncomfortable or even hurtful their comments are for you. Pointing it out may help them to quiet down.
I encourage you to get a physical and talk to your doctor about how you can improve your health. You deserve to be happy and healthy. It is up to you to make the choices that will lead you in that direction. Good luck!
DEAR HARRIETTE: The young people in my family love to take pictures and post them on their social media websites. I do not care for this. I don't want my picture posted, and I definitely do not want the pictures of my children posted. Whenever I say this to the teens and young adults, they call me weird and outdated and post them anyway. I want this to stop.
I know that as it relates to minors, people are supposed to have photo releases signed in order to run their photos, right? Does this apply to social media? And can I actually sue my family to stop their postings? -- No Photos Please, Shreveport, La.
DEAR NO PHOTOS PLEASE: In this day and age of people posting their every move, as well as those of their friends and loved ones, it does seem difficult to control images of you and your children.
Each social media site has its own rules, which you will need to check. If you do not want images of your children who are younger than 13 to appear on Facebook, for example, you can write to the company, provide a link to the image(s) in question and request that they be removed. Children ages 13 to 17 have to ask Facebook directly have images removed, unless the laws in your state prohibit the posting of that image without permission.
Meanwhile, talk to the adults in the group and explain your position. Ask them to stop posting your children's photos. Tell them if they don't stop posting, you will stop visiting.