DEAR HARRIETTE: I struggled with my weight throughout my teenage and young adult years, but I am now content with how I look and feel. An aunt I don’t see often has been on a fitness journey and has been losing weight. I’m happy for her, but she always mentions my appearance and gives advice on what I should do. It makes me feel like the way I look isn’t OK or is unhealthy. I don’t like being around her or talking with her because it never fails -- she mentions how I look. It's frustrating me because I have grown to be confident in the way I look. How do I stay strong and respectful to my aunt’s body image advice? -- Staying Confident, El Paso, Texas
DEAR STAYING CONFIDENT: Start with yourself. For your own good, get a physical to find out if you are at a healthy weight and if there is anything you should be doing to support a healthy life. That’s for you to do and know for yourself, and you do not need to share this with anyone.
As far as your aunt is concerned, you need to speak up and ask her to back off. Tell her you are paying attention to your health, that you like the way you look and that you do not appreciate her constant badgering of you about your appearance. Yes, this is strong talk, but it seems like she doesn’t realize how her words are affecting you. Be clear that you love her, but add that it is hard for you to talk to her because you feel she is always criticizing you.