Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Healthier and Happier

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My parents and siblings often complain that they can't lose weight. However, they douse their food in salt and sauces, drink alcohol before bed, and have no qualms about pulling out the potato chips or chocolate candy. I used to be like them, but I've lost a great deal of weight and feel fantastic.

When my family complains about their weight, I suggest that they accompany me on my walks or eat the same foods I eat, but they decline. They tease me when I measure out portion sizes or choose healthier options for my meals. They congratulate me when they notice my continuing weight loss, but then they urge me to "slow down." What does this mean? Are they jealous of my success?

Annie, I can't stand to watch them put unhealthy things into their mouths anymore. What do I do? -- Healthier and Happier

Dear Healthier: Nothing. You have discovered that losing weight is important for your health, but you didn't do it because someone told you to. Your relatives must be self-motivated. The most you can do is set a good example by modeling the type of behavior that will help them. When they are ready, they will take the next step. It's possible they are jealous, or they may be genuinely concerned that you have some type of eating disorder. But if your diet is healthy and well-balanced, you should continue to focus on your own good habits and do your best not to lecture them on theirs. If eating around them is too difficult, take your meals elsewhere.

Dear Annie: Throughout my life, whenever I've been in a mixed group of men and women, the men frequently talk over the women or interrupt them before they are finished. Now that we are over 60, the problem is worse, as many of our male friends are hard of hearing. Do you have any suggestions about how to get a word in edgewise or finish a sentence tactfully? -- Pat

Dear Pat: We hate to say it, but some men are simply dismissive of women's conversation. If you are close friends, you should mention it, asking them to be more considerate and reminding them when they forget. Otherwise, there's not much you can do other than talk over them, ignore them or direct your conversation to a more amenable listener.

Dear Annie: Your response to "At a Loss," the grandmother who was afraid of losing her grandson, missed the point. You said to check grandparents rights in her state, but that her best bet is to get back into her daughter-in-law's good graces. I think that is unrealistic.


As a trial lawyer and grandfather, I would have advised her to call a family lawyer. They also should be advised to document everything they have done, and continue to do, for their grandchild, as well as every occasion on which they are denied visitation. They need to understand that the grandson has the right to see loving grandparents, as well.

One consultation with the lawyer would suffice to tell them what their rights are. -- Louisville, Ky.

Dear Louisville: True, but not so simple. In fact, recently, courts in several states have ruled that statutes providing for grandparent visitation violate either federal or local state constitutions. Plus, there are multiple requirements that must be met before visitation is granted, and if the parents are still married and neither wants the grandparents to see the child, visitation is tremendously difficult.

We appreciate your encouragement for "At a Loss" to seek legal redress, and we hope it helps. But we still believe her best chance is to reconcile with her daughter-in-law.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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