Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister just told me that she has diabetes. Her numbers were off the charts when she last went to the doctor for an appointment. I just went to the doctor for a physical and was told that I am prediabetic. I am devastated. I have known for years that my father’s family is prone to diabetes early in life, but I was determined that it wouldn’t happen to me. So far, it seems that it has. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to give in to this disease. Any ideas? -- Family Death Sentence, Washington, D.C.

DEAR FAMILY DEATH SENTENCE: Get proactive. Given that this disease runs in your family, you must be extra vigilant to ensure that you do not succumb to it. Start by getting clear directions from your doctor about what you should and should not eat. Typically, this means that you must dramatically reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet. This is not easy to do, especially if you eat out a lot or eat canned or prepared foods. Do your best to prepare your own meals from scratch. This way, you will know exactly what ingredients you are consuming.

Start an exercise regimen. Many people become diabetic due to poor diet and lack of exercise. Move your body daily. Get your heart rate up and lose weight. You may be able to reverse your prediabetes by taking strident steps today. For ideas on good food choices go to:

DEAR HARRIETTE: Every year for Christmas, my mother makes cookies for all of our family and friends. She has been doing this forever, and it’s a lot of fun. My siblings and I are grown and have families of our own, but she still makes cookies for us. I’m worried that she is overextending herself, though. She is getting up in age and has arthritis. I have told her that it’s OK to make fewer cookies, but she won’t entertain that idea. How can I help her to see that it’s OK to slow down? -- No More Cookies, Savannah, Georgia

DEAR NO MORE COOKIES: Don’t steal your mother’s joy. She loves her tradition and should not be discouraged from contributing to the holidays in a way that is meaningful for her. Depending on your schedule and those of your siblings, you can offer to make cookies with your mother. Rather than her laboring alone at home, you can turn the cookie-making ritual into a shared family experience. Figure out who can be present with your mother leading up to the holidays. Then present the idea to your mother so that she welcomes the family in to participate in the baking. Ask her to teach you how to make her delicious cookies. Make it clear that you want to spend more time together as you also help her keep her holiday tradition going. You can also offer to make personal deliveries of the cookies when they are packaged and ready to go. This could create a new bonding experience for all of you.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)