Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Horrified to Follow Overweight Family's Footsteps

DEAR HARRIETTE: I used to be aghast when I looked at my aunts on my father’s side -- all big women weighing over 200 pounds. They were typical Southern women who cooked with lard and bacon fat. They served traditional soul food that was very tasty and laden with calories. My mother never cooked like that. She cooked clean food with little fat. I will admit that it wasn’t as tasty, but she was determined to give us a healthy diet.

Fast forward to today: Though I do not cook like my aunts, I feel like I have become them. I have a similar build, and now in my mid-50s, I am carrying around similar weight. When the scale tipped over 200, I thought I would die. I have become the very thing I abhorred as a child. Is there a way to reverse time and, perhaps, genetics? -- Like My Aunties, Sarasota, Florida

DEAR LIKE MY AUNTIES: No, you cannot reverse time or change your genetic makeup. Sorry. What you can do is change your diet and move your body. Think about how your mother fed you as a child. Go back to a lean protein, low fat, low carb, high vegetable diet. Cut out extra sugar and fat. And start to exercise. You can walk and start to strengthen your body. The recommendation is for everyone to walk at least 10,000 steps a day, or about 5 miles. Start off slow and build up to that. Get a physical to determine the overall state of your health before you do anything. You can reclaim good health!

(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.)

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