DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage son was previously overweight. Recently, he has committed himself to exercise and has lost so much weight that none of his clothes fit. Like me, he hates shopping, so he has been wearing my pants and his baggy shirts -- he doesn't care that they're too big. The rest of the family chides him on looking "homeless" in his large clothes, and I know he needs new attire, but I can't bear to set foot in a store.
Although one of the problems with my son's new lifestyle is his appearance, an even bigger concern of mine is his advice to others. To change his life around, he used an app to input his height, weight and daily caloric intake to find out how much he would have to exercise to lose a certain amount of weight. He has taken to the habit of asking people what their height, weight and daily caloric intake are so he can help them lose weight. My son is not doing this to offend, and he feels as though he is genuinely helping others. My daughters do not feel the same way, and I doubt the various cashiers and salespeople do, either. How can I get my son to focus on his own appearance and stop telling others how to change theirs? -- Weighted Advice, Syracuse, New York
DEAR WEIGHTED ADVICE: It is common for people who have made a dramatic shift in their way of living to become advocates for their lifestyle choice. Too often, that advocacy can turn into proselytizing, something that few people want to hear. You can gently point out to your son that, just like it took however long for him to recognize that he needed to make a change in his diet and exercise choices, the same is true for others. Further, the various people he is approaching probably find his solicitations offensive rather than helpful or encouraging. You must tell him this. By framing it from his past experience of rejecting input, you may be able to open his eyes. If not, those he encounters will eventually shrug him off dramatically enough to stop him in his tracks.