DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been finding myself overeating more and more recently. At first, I was just treating myself to a little more pasta or a second helping of dinner. Now, I eat until I feel pain in my stomach. I know this isn't normal, yet I can't bring myself to stop. My exercise routine hasn't changed (about 60 minutes a day), so I can't find a logical excuse for this. I don't want to seem like the boy who cried wolf while going to the doctor. How can I stop myself from stuffing myself to the brim? -- Stuffing, Atlanta
DEAR STUFFING: It is time for a trip to your internist. Get a physical to rule out any underlying health issue that may be accelerating your desire to eat. Be sure to tell your doctor everything that you remember about your behavior patterns and eating habits, including when this increased eating began and what was going on in your life at the time. Pay attention to these variables. Has anything changed in your daily routine, in your relationships, in your work? Sometimes emotional changes can trigger eating changes. Review everything as you attempt to pinpoint what’s going on for you.
If your doctor is unable to identify the culprit, take matters into your own hands. You have already taken the first step, which is identifying the behavior that needs to change. Next, you can consciously decide not eat the things that will not honor your body. When you feel the urge to eat, choose fruits and vegetables. Drink more water. Throw the pasta away so that it cannot be a fulfilled temptation. You can do it!
DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in a typical “millennial office.” We have beer in the fridge, a frequently used table tennis table and no dress code. Most of the employees are men in their mid-20s, so shorts and a T-shirt is the go-to work look for them. As a woman, I feel like I would look silly if I started wearing dresses and more formal wear to the office even though I want to, since I usually have plans after work. I don't want to look stuffy at work, but I don't want to look like a slob when I'm out with my friends. Is there any in-between? -- No Tees in the Bar, New York City
DEAR NO TEES IN THE BAR: Get creative. You can develop a personal style that stays casual but is more dressed up than the average guy at your office. Look around. There’s bound to be someone who dresses a notch above the norm. You can also choose to dress up on occasion when you have after-work events. If somebody ribs you, tell them you have an event to attend and leave it at that. You can also bring a change of clothes to work and slip into your dress just before you head out. Most important is for you to feel confident in your appearance and clear that you can make personal choices that extend beyond the casual norm.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)