Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Does Not Want to Provide Nutrition Advice

DEAR HARRIETTE: I live a healthy lifestyle in which I try to get plenty of exercise and eat unprocessed foods. It’s something that I am passionate about and have fun with. Recently, I have had distant friends from college and even high school reach out to me for nutritional and diet advice. While I am always eager to share a few pearls of wisdom, the truth of the matter is that I am not a nutritionist, nor do I have time to pretend to be one. Do I have to respond to every message I get? I feel guilty, but ultimately I know these people will not heed my advice for more than a few days. -- No Fitness Guru, Chester, Pennsylvania

DEAR NO FITNESS GURU: What’s happening is that your friends and loved ones are seeing the positive effects of your smart life choices, and they want the same for themselves. This is fantastic. However, it can feel like a burden, as you have described. To the best of your ability, don’t shrug them off. You can recommend that they follow a healthy path, which starts by getting a complete physical to find out their health status.

Be clear to your friends that you are not a nutritionist, and you do not have the knowledge or authority to tell them how to change their lifestyles. When you talk about nutrition or exercise, frame it about yourself, because that’s all you have the expertise to discuss. If they ask you what they should do, suggest that they get their own nutritionist or trainer.

If you continue to get a barrage of requests for nutritional and diet advice, consider writing a blog about your personal experiences. When people ask, point them to your blog to check out what you know.