DEAR HARRIETTE: In a premature effort to lose weight with my friends, we signed up for a fitness retreat about a month ago. This retreat should not have the word "treat" in it -- a bunch of out-of-shape men working out and eating salads all day is definitely not a treat. I do want to change my body, but I definitely jumped the gun in signing up for this retreat. It's later this month, and I am already trying to find ways to get out of it. My friends are all still very excited and keep trying to rouse excitement in an email chain. I just don't think I'll be able to keep up and will have a bad time. I'm trying to think of a plausible excuse to avoid going on this retreat. It has already been paid for, but I don't think I can exercise for that many days. -- Not a Beach Body, Jackson, Mississippi
DEAR NOT A BEACH BODY: Don't give up before you give it a try! Your friends have the right idea -- go as a group to a retreat site where professionals can teach and motivate you to take care of your bodies. You will likely learn what to eat and how to exercise in order to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Will it be hard? Probably. But that's OK. It's also OK if you can't do everything. What's most important is that you put forth the effort and do your best. Changing eating habits and beginning to exercise are smart for maintaining good health. Don't give up on yourself now. Go for it! You deserve it.