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Dear Abby: I am a woman who is more than 50 pounds overweight. It didn’t happen overnight, and I completely understand that I am the only person to blame for it. I gained the weight because of years of unhealthy eating, lack of exercise and the birth of my two daughters over a period of six years.

Recently I decided to do something about it. I took the initiative, adopted a sensible diet and have started walking two to three miles a day with my friend, “Shannon.”

Abby, on almost every occasion, Shannon and I are made fun of as we walk. It’s embarrassing and extremely discouraging. We realize we are overweight. We don’t need people calling attention to us or making fun of the “fat girls.”

Won’t you please let your readers know that struggling with weight loss is hard enough without adding the fear and anxiety of being made a laughingstock while exercising?

– Losing Slowly in Ohio

Dear Losing Slowly: I applaud you for recognizing you had a challenge and rising (literally) to meet it. When I see someone who’s carrying extra weight walking or working out at a gym, what comes to mind is, “There’s a person who is doing something positive about his or her problem.”

Because a jackass brays doesn’t mean you have to take it to heart. The individuals making those unkind remarks are trying to make themselves feel superior by putting you down. Please don’t let it discourage you. You’re on the right track.

Reader should get a grip

Dear Abby: The adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say ...” is easier said than done. When I am tired or stressed, I have a tendency to be less tolerant of others’ quirks, and sometimes I voice my annoyance.

While my opinions do have a basis, I sometimes feel guilty about insulting or hurting the person’s feelings. I envy those who are strong enough to not allow the stress of certain situations to affect them.

I have never been a believer in “killing them with kindness” because that seems to enable their behavior. My intolerance is probably due to unhappiness about my own life. So how do I allow these annoyances to roll off my back and bite my tongue?

– Can’t Tolerate Fools in Des Moines

Dear Can’t Tolerate Fools: One way to do that would be to remind yourself that the more you take your unhappiness out on those around you, the more you will isolate yourself.

When you are tired or stressed, and before shooting off your mouth, ask yourself: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it helpful? And if what you were about to say is not all three, bite your tongue, zip your lip, or walk away until you get a grip.