DEAR HARRIETTE: A new friend of mine who is a fitness buff recently told me that when she was much younger, she was bulimic. She described the whole scenario of how she got caught up in this behavior when she was in college and how, eventually, she got past it.
She looks healthy today, but I do know that she is an overexerciser. She used to run, until her knees gave out. Now she bikes nearly 30 miles a day.
I am impressed by her fitness routine, but her recent revelation makes me wonder if the extreme nature of her exercise is unhealthy, too.
I do virtually no exercise, so I have no idea how to gauge whether or not she is actually healthy.
How can I support her, especially since she shared this story with me? I read once that the need to keep moving constantly can be a sign of an eating disorder.
Help My Friend
DEAR HELP MY FRIEND: The fact that your new friend confided in you means there is a level of trust you two have forged. That’s a great thing.
Since she is open to talking about her journey, continue the conversation. Listen to hear how she cares for herself, what she eats and generally how she feels about herself. You are not a doctor, so do not attempt to evaluate her health. Just listen. If anything she says worries you, tell her as much.
You can also admit that you got a little concerned, so you did some research. There is something known as exercise bulimia, which does not include purging — vomiting — but is an attempt to control body size through excessive exercise. Read here to learn more about it: healthline.com/health/exercise-bulimia-symptoms-treatments-and-more.
If you truly are worried about your friend, tell her that you learned about this. Encourage her to check in with herself and make sure she is not overdoing it.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My son is heading off to college in what we know of politically as a purple state. We live in a blue state.
He is not yet registered to vote and was about to do that before leaving home. But when we began to think about it, maybe it could be more impactful for him to cast his vote in a state that could use his vote more.
In our state, it seems that most everyone votes for Democrats. That’s not the case in his college town.
Do you think we should urge him to vote in this new town?
Casting a Vote
DEAR CASTING A VOTE: What’s most important for your son is to exercise his right to vote. He needs to engage on this topic. Since you have talked to him about the political process for his whole life, you can make recommendations, but let it be his decision.
Encourage him to pay attention to the political issues of his college town and at home. Point out that if he signs up to vote at home, he will likely have to cast an absentee ballot for midterms, so he has to pay attention to dates for mailing. If he chooses to vote in his college town, he has to make sure he has obtained the identification required there and knows when to vote and what the topics are.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.