Dear Annie: I have three childhood friends who also still live in the area where we grew up, and we get together for lunch or dinner every month or two. The most recent time we got together, one of my friends talked about being on a low-carb diet and losing a lot of weight. I personally started exercising at a young age and have been working out my whole life. I mix it up and at times have been a runner, weightlifter, swimmer and even yoga student. The point is that I love to exercise and can see that it makes me feel and look younger than most people my age. I am not skinny and have a little padding on my body, but I am not what you'd call fat.
We are in our 40s, and my friend who lost weight by cutting down on carbs looked straight at me and said to the group, "Exercise is only good for 20 percent of weight loss, while diet is 80 percent." One of our other friends asked me whether I agree, and I said I don't know. "I really enjoy exercise and have never really had to focus on weight loss," I said. But they all seemed to agree that diet is much more important than exercise. It doesn't feel right to me, so I'm curious to hear what the truth is. -- Loving My Workouts
Dear Loving Workouts: Weight loss and fitness are not necessarily the same thing. The odds are good that your friend will regain some of that lost weight once he or she starts eating carbohydrates again, whereas it is likely that you will stay youthful and energetic with all your exercise. I would rather be a little chubby but fit from exercise than be thin from dieting but out of shape inside. It's true that burning enough calories to lose weight requires much more exercise than the average person is willing to do, so in that sense, diet could be 80 percent of weight loss and exercise 20 percent. But if good health and overall fitness are your goals, a balance of the two makes sense. New studies also show that getting at least eight hours of sleep a night is equally important for weight loss and good health.
Dear Annie: My husband and I moved in to a new apartment complex several months ago, and our downstairs neighbors are crazy. The adults yell and scream, and the kid down there cries. This goes on almost every day. We called public safety, and when that didn't result in any changes, we called Child Protective Services. Still nothing. They still scream and yell; the kid still constantly cries. It's to the point where we want to move, but we're financially unable to. We don't know what to do. -- Fed Up in the Upper Peninsula
Dear Fed Up: Call 911 instead. This will ensure that officers come out to the house and can assess the child's home situation.
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