DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been about the same size since we got married, more than 20 years ago. I have gained quite a bit of weight. We have a scale that talks. I heard my husband weigh himself and, to my horror, I heard he weighs less than I do.
I know I have to do something to get my weight under control. I'm too embarrassed to talk to him about it. My husband has been so disciplined over the years with exercise and diet. I can't bear getting a lecture from him. But I do need to take action to get my body together. What do you recommend? -- Overweight, Milwaukee
DEAR OVERWEIGHT: You don't have to talk about your weight. Action is the most important step. Start by going to your doctor to get a physical. Learn whether you have any serious health concerns that need to be addressed. Ask if you should see a nutritionist. This health professional can help you to manage your diet, which is key to losing weight.
Start moving your body every single day. The easiest free thing you can do is walk. Get some good walking shoes or sneakers and start your day a little earlier so you can walk. Start off slowly, going as far as is comfortable. Build up to 10,000 steps, about 5 miles. Get a pedometer of some kind to track your movement.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been dating a very nice guy for about a year. He is super-ambitious and consistent. I know he likes me a lot, and the feeling is mutual. He is getting a master's degree and working hard to improve his life. The problem is, he lost his apartment more than two years ago and now lives in a men's shelter. I didn't know that at first. It's not that he hid it from me. But as you can imagine, he didn't talk about it when we first met. I can tell he's going places and getting his life together. I'm sure he won't be there forever.
When I've told my friends about him, including his living conditions, they say I'm crazy and should run for the hills. They called him a loser who can never provide for me. I'm not looking for someone to "provide for me," though my guess is that he will be able to take care of both of us in due time. How do I manage my friends' judgment? I don't want to lose them or him. -- Being Judged, Harlem, New York
DEAR BEING JUDGED: If you feel like you want to be with this man, make that clear to him and to your friends. Encourage your boyfriend to continue on his journey of improving his life. Let your friends know you appreciate him for all he is, including how he is working to get out of his current living conditions. Ask them to stop judging him on where he lays his head or how much money is in his pocket. You believe in him.