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home : columns : dear harriette July 10, 2020

5/7/2020 8:01:00 AM
Reader needs motivation to get in shape

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who posts on social media regularly. Over the past few months, he has lost about 40 pounds. He works out every day and looks amazing. I am inspired by him -- but not enough to actually get up and do anything for myself.

When I saw his picture today with what looks like a burgeoning six-pack where he used to have pudge, I nearly lost it. Yes, I am jealous. I don't mean to be, but I am not motivated at all to get up and do anything. I can't figure out how he got so pumped to work out and I didn't. Now that I am stuck at home, it's only gotten worse. I probably have gained 20 pounds as he continues to lose. What can I do to turn myself around? -- Need Motivation

DEAR NEED MOTIVATION: Go stand in front of the mirror. Look closely at yourself, and ask if you deserve to be healthy. Look long and hard at yourself. The motivation has to come from within. Something happened in your friend's life to jump-start his fitness routine. What can it be for you? Ask yourself if your life is worth saving and strengthening. Really. Encourage yourself to do one thing each day that will benefit your health. Even now when you are at home, you can choose to make smarter choices that will be good for your body. That may include drinking more water and fewer sugary drinks; getting up and stretching before you sit down; or putting on a mask or face covering and taking a 15-minute walk in your neighborhood. Start small and safe. You can begin to improve your health.

You may want to contact your friend. Ask him what happened to get him started. His personal story may inspire you. To learn some easy at-home exercise routines, check out

DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend was just diagnosed with diabetes. He was very sick but is on the mend now. I have been talking to him a lot, kind of like a cheerleader. What I haven't done yet is reveal that I, too, have diabetes. I am a very private person, and I don't talk about it at all. I take my medicine and follow directions to the best of my abilities. Am I being a hypocrite by not sharing that part of my story with him? I have been a good listener for him. He sounds like he appreciates my attentiveness, but deep inside I know that I have left out a pretty significant detail in my own story. Should I tell him? -- Keeping Secrets

DEAR KEEPING SECRETS: You can support your friend without talking about your own health. That is your prerogative. Being a good listener is invaluable, and I bet he appreciates you. What you may also want to do is ask yourself why you have chosen not to tell your story. It can be helpful to talk with other people about your health journey. When times get tough, having someone who can also hear your side of things may inspire you to be more vigilant in your health regimen. Explore why you have chosen to remain silent. Even if you decide not to tell this friend, you should find another confidant. When you talk about your challenges, you can grow stronger.

By the way, that confidant could be the social worker from your health care provider's office. Next time you get a check-in call from them, answer the phone!

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