Everything you need to know

Dear Joe,

I decided the other day that I’m going on a diet. I’m currently about 40–50 pounds overweight and would like to know some suggestions about how to lose some inches. Any advice would be great.

—Lean in Wean

Dear Lean,

I have been fortunate enough to stay thin my entire life, even though all evidence of my eating habits suggest it should be otherwise. Often, I hear among the skinny crowd disbelief as to how obese people can’t just stop eating and lose weight. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. In the world of staying fit, it’s not so much quantity as quality. The hardest part of your dieting won’t be the bad taste of healthy food or even hunger. The real challenge is remembering you’re on a diet in the first place.

Think about it. For the past 20 years, you’ve probably developed some pretty nasty eating habits that are sabotaging any plans you have for losing weight. My downfall is sour cream. I would eat it straight out of the package if it were socially acceptable. Your job is to find your “sour cream equivalent.” Maybe it’s getting chili on your salad. Maybe it’s deep frying your Lucky Charms.

You don’t have to strip down to roots and bark to lose weight. If you just sat down for a few minutes and evaluated your eating habits, you’d probably be shocked by the kinds of trash you’re consuming. In the end, the question will come down to whether you want to give up your habits. Personally, if I had to choose between sour cream or the perfect body, I would pick sour cream even before knowing what else I had to choose from. Hopefully, you’re better than that.

Sour dreams,

Dear Joe,

I live somewhat off campus, and have a 10-minute drive for practice in my varsity sport. Because of this, I have a car. While I see it as something only to use to get to school and practice, other people think differently. I’ve been asked to drive people to places they can easily walk to. Someone even wanted to be driven across campus! Why do I have to be a personal chauffeur to everyone I know just because I’m unlucky enough to have a car?

—Road Raged

Dear Raged,

It’s times like these that make me think of a better time at Carnegie Mellon. Back in the day, people used their legs for all sorts of tasks. These included walking across campus, waiting in line, and even taking a flight of stairs rather than clogging the elevators. Nowadays, people tend to leave their legs alone, and decide instead to nag to others to cart them around.

This is where you come in. Having an alternate form of transportation, you’re going to hear requests from everybody. You may feel obligated to give in all the time and run a taxi service, but you should know that it’s okay to say “no” every now and then. Just because someone wants a ride from Porter to Baker doesn’t mean you have to give it to him. In fact, denying rides may even help people. For instance, glance over at the other advisee. I’m sure Lean in Wean would fare better if forced to walk more every day. Just make sure you don’t use that as a reason when you deny car rides.

Advice driven,