Walker County Messenger

Brother’s weight gain worries sibling

- BY HARRIETTE COLE Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriet­te@ harriettec­ole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndicatio­n, 1130 Walnut St., Kan

DEAR HARRIETTE: My brother has been really depressed lately and is gaining a lot of weight as a result. I’ve noticed him eating a lot and not exercising at all. It’s been gradual; since last November, he’s been slowly gaining more and more weight. I think losing our great-aunt may have triggered this depression. They were very close, and he really hasn’t been the same since she died. I’m concerned for his health and his happiness. Losing control of his weight may worsen his depression. How can I intervene without upsetting him or making him feel bad? — Intervenin­g

DEAR INTERVENIN­G: The combinatio­n of losing your great-aunt and the impact of a yearlong quarantine has likely doubly impacted your brother’s health. This has been a tough year for many. It can be hard to notice the effect of this time on the human spirit and body. Your brother probably hasn’t even noticed how he has changed. Of course you want to tread lightly, but you also should take the risk of making him slightly uncomforta­ble in order to get him to wake up.

One thing you can do, if you have time, is invite your brother to do things with you that get him moving. Ask him to take a walk in the park. You could also coax him into participat­ing in exercise challenges with you where you both commit to moving your bodies several days a week, even if you are not in the same place. Becoming his accountabi­lity partner can help him — and you — to become more fit as you are connected around a shared healthy living goal.

Talk to him directly about how he’s feeling, and point out your concerns. Tell him you do not mean to hurt his feelings or make him feel uncomforta­ble, but you have noticed that he seems depressed and has put on a lot of weight. Tell him you are concerned about him. Recommend that it could be good for him to see a counselor to process his thoughts and feelings. Recommend that he get a physical and possibly see a nutritioni­st, too.

DEAR HARRIETTE: The subdivisio­n I live in has had two separate robberies this year. I’ve always been very anti-gun, but now I’m starting to think that a gun may be a viable option. I was raised anti-gun, so it’s just a morality thing, but I need to take the correct measures to protect myself. My home has a great security system, but I do live alone. How can I protect myself without abandoning my morals? — Anti-Gun

DEAR ANTI-GUN: Having a gun will not likely protect you from a home invader because you are not trained in how to use it. Apart from your anti-gun sentiment, you need to be practical. I would upgrade your home security system and talk to the neighborho­od associatio­n about hiring security guards or creating a neighborho­od watch. You can hold on to your moral compass and work with your community to try to make your neighborho­od safer.

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