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home : columns : dear harriette May 13, 2021

3/31/2021 8:08:00 AM
Older dad doesn't want to make lifestyle changes

DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm concerned about my dad's eating habits. He is getting a bit older, and although he has no preexisting health conditions, he's not in the best shape. He consumes way too much sugar and sodium, and he doesn't get nearly enough exercise on a weekly basis. I've tried to help him, but he is stubborn and stuck in his ways. He feels that at his age, he is entitled to eat and live however he wants. I'm scared that if he doesn't make a change, something bad is going to happen to him. How can I convince my dad to live a healthier lifestyle? -- Dad Needs Diet

DEAR DAD NEEDS DIET: Studies show that people who lead a sedentary lifestyle filled with sugar and sodium are setting themselves up for unhealthy bodies and disease. Sadly, one of the many negative side effects of COVID-19 on our communities is that many people have become more sedentary and not as mindful of what they consume. This is a recipe for disaster. Medical professionals point to lack of physical activity as having a direct effect on overall health and wellness. Being sedentary can lead to a host of diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even early death.

Talk to your dad. Tell him you want him to live and that you are worried that his current lifestyle is not pointing him in that direction. Get him reading material so he can see for himself. Here's one helpful article:

Invite him to go on walks, drink more water and change his diet. Keep encouraging him. Your positive attitude may inspire him to develop better habits.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I were on a break during Valentine's Day. We've been together for two years, but we were having a bit of a rough patch last month, so we decided to cool things down for a minute. We are back together now, and things are just fine. My problem is that I'm upset with him for not doing anything for me on Valentine's Day. He knows that I love that holiday. I understand that we were technically on a break during that time, but I also know he had every intention of getting back together. He could have done something small for me just for the gesture. I'm resentful because I felt completely alone and unloved on that day. Am I being ridiculous, or am I right to feel this way? -- Valentine

DEAR VALENTINE: Stop fretting over the past, and focus on the present. What do you like about your relationship? Why did you choose to get back together after your break? Evaluate the serious issues that prompted you to take a break in the first place, and decide whether you have adequately addressed them.

While Valentine's Day can be fun, it's a manufactured holiday. Your life is something different. Figure out what you want and whether your boyfriend wants the same things. Then work on building your bond better.

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.

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