DEAR HARRIETTE: Overweight and self-conscious, I decided to make a lifestyle change. I threw out all of my junk food at 2 a.m. and decided I'm through with excuses -- I am going to bring my body back to health. I ordered a meal delivery plan that gives me all of the meals and drinks I need for the day. I felt the difference after a few weeks, and now others have noticed my slimmed-down physique. However, I have begun to miss going out to restaurants with my friends or on dates. I don't think it's allowed, let alone socially acceptable, for people to bring their own food to a restaurant, so I go without fun dinners.
I want to find a way to stay included in the social act of eating without compromising my diet and wasting the money I spent on my delivery plan. -- No Food, No Service, Baltimore
DEAR NO FOOD, NO SERVICE: Until you have your weight and eating completely in control, you should not compromise your plan by going out to eat. This, by the way, is one of the downsides of any strict eating plan, especially those that deliver food, but if it is working for you, keep it up.
Suggest other activities to do with your friends. Be honest with them. State how much you miss them and that you want to get together. Many people would be happy to replace going out for drinks with going for a walk or a run. Consider the classic movie date with a walk afterward so you can talk. Invite your friends over for a social gathering at your home, where you can control the food and drink and still have a great time.