Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Don't Avoid the Doctor Because of Weight Gain

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was told by my doctor three months ago that I need to lose weight. I was doing a good job of going to the gym and working out, but recently I have slipped. The cold weather and a lack of motivation have gotten me into a funk. Instead of losing weight, I feel certain I have gained. I am supposed to go back to the doctor for a checkup soon, and I want to cancel. I am embarrassed by my lack of progress. What should I do? -- Off the Wagon

DEAR OFF THE WAGON: Developing healthy eating and exercise habits can be challenging for people who are not disciplined in those areas. Indeed, that’s probably why you are in the predicament where you are under doctor’s orders. Rather than ducking your doctor out of embarrassment, face up to her and admit your struggles. Ask her to help you devise a plan that is actionable on your part. Figure out small steps that you can take toward improving your health.

I know one thing that many people do that works is to think about the future and what it means to you. If you have children, consider how much they will need you to be healthy in years to come. If you have elderly parents, how will you be able to support them if you are unwell? What goals do you have for your life? Write out a vision for your life and how you want to live it. Based on that vision, what do you need to do to get there? By defining goals, you may be able to increase your motivation to succeed. Good luck.

Read more in: Health & Safety

Friend Is Celibate With Boyfriends, But Has Booty Calls

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have gotten to know a woman in my neighborhood who is fun, quirky and talkative. She is on the dating scene, whereas I have been married for a long time. Listening to her stories is interesting. She told me that she was celibate, and she tells guys up front that she is not interested in having sex early on in a relationship. She said a lot of guys are turned off by that, but this is her rule. I like that she stands by that.

Recently, she admitted that she has a “maintenance man” -- a go-to guy for sex! She has sex with him whenever she wants, no strings attached, but other men she’s considering as marriage material get denied. This was confusing to me. I felt like a Neanderthal about dating and romance. Is she a hypocrite, or am I hearing something wrong here? -- Dating and Sex

DEAR DATING AND SEX: What may be most unusual about this story is that it is coming from a woman. This woman is attempting to navigate her dating life so she can find a partner while, at the same time, enjoying sex. That sounds like what many would call the stereotypical man. Often, men are not judged if they have casual sex with people and then later marry “the nice girl.”

As someone who has not been on the dating scene for a long time, you should just listen and take it all in. Cut her a break, too. She is doing her best to figure out her life. Be grateful that you don’t have to swim in those waters right now.

(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.)