Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Mom's Constant Workouts Worry Reader

DEAR HARRIETTE: My family has always been very active. We all love playing sports and exercising regularly. Recently, my mother has been very into yoga. I admire her for maintaining her health and always trying to get some activity every day, but it has gotten to the point where she is obsessing over her body. She restricts her diet so much, and has been taking two or three workout classes a day.

I tell my mother that she does not need to lose any more weight, but she continues to count calories and work out extensively. How do you recommend I handle this? I want to make sure I am doing the right thing, the right way, so I do not offend my mom. -- Mother's Weight Obsession, Los Angeles

DEAR MOTHER’S WEIGHT OBSESSION: It would be great if your mother would get a physical exam. This is important because a medical evaluation of your mother’s health will tell her if she is making smart choices in her fitness and diet regimen, or if she is going too far. Suggest that your mother get her annual physical soon. Point out that since she has revved up her fitness routine, you believe it would be wise to check in with her doctor to ensure that she is being safe. Tell her that you are planning to get a physical as well. In this way, you aren’t just pointing your finger at her. One of the great things about Western medicine is the diagnostic capability that it has. With a complete medical workup, your mother will learn the status of her health and whether she should make any adjustments to her routine. Ask her if you can go with her when she schedules her visit. Then you can hear for yourself how she is doing.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I baby-sit for a family almost every weekend. This upcoming weekend they have asked me to stay over both Friday and Saturday nights because they will be out of town at a wedding. I usually don’t mind staying overnight because it saves money and time on commuting to their house. However, they have recently downsized, and there is no longer a guest room for me. They asked if I would sleep in the daughter’s room in her bunk bed. I am not a fussy person and don’t have a problem with doing this, but another part of me is saying that I shouldn’t be staying in the daughter’s bunk bed as a 22-year-old. What do you think of this? -- Sleeping in the Bottom Bunk, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR SLEEPING IN THE TOP BUNK: You need to get practical here. Since there is nowhere else for you to sleep, that’s why your employer is offering you the bunk bed. It’s not about your age or station in life. This is simply a reality check. Given that you like the family and get along well with the children, I suggest that you move past the accommodations challenge. Do you know the saying “It is what it is”? That applies here.

(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.)