DEAR HARRIETTE: I just went to pick up a prescription at my local pharmacy, and I sat down at a blood-pressure machine. It says that I am obese. I know I have gained weight, but that was a shocker. I thought I was a little bit overweight -- but not according to this machine. I have always had a hard time working out and sticking to it. I need to take my health seriously. How can I get motivated? I have two small children. I need to be healthy for them. -- Fighting Obesity, Washington, D.C.
DEAR FIGHTING OBESITY: Start with a complete physical with your doctor. Do blood work to determine your health status, and mention any concerns you may have. Ask for a nutritionist to guide you on healthy, low-calorie eating. Join an exercise class or go to the gym. See if a neighbor or friend wants to buddy with you to work out. Having support can sometimes help you to develop discipline. Let your children be your motivation. If you want to live a healthy life to be able to provide for them, post their photos in a prominent place with a note saying, “Do it for them!” Keep a journal that records your successes and setbacks. Give yourself goals for fitness and health improvements. This will help you to stay focused.
(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.)