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12:01 AM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Dear Annie: Husband packing on pounds

Dear Annie: My husband has gained about 15 pounds in as many months. “Robb” has been a naturally thin person all his life, or at least in the 10 years I’ve known him.

I know he realizes he’s gained weight, because he’s mentioned how his clothes aren’t fitting well anymore, and recently his brother visited and gently teased him about how he was getting a little belly.

Robb sheepishly agreed and said he needed to start working out more.

He’s been going to the gym twice a week for the past few months -- which is great. But the weight isn’t going anywhere. I think it’s because his eating habits are the culprit. Over the past couple of years, he’s been snacking more and more. We eat a big dinner, and an hour later he’s munching on chips.

I stopped buying unhealthful snacks for the house, but he just started buying snacks himself. I started stocking up on fruits he likes, and he’ll eat those, but then he eats unhealthful snacks on top of them.

I love him and am still attracted to him; it’s not about that. I just want him to feel good about himself, and I can tell he hasn’t been. It hasn’t helped that he’s also been in a slump with his career during this time. He is unhappy at his job but has only applied to a few other places.

Should I tell him I’m concerned about the weight gain? I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I also don’t want to sit by quietly and let this get out of hand to the point that it causes more serious health problems for him. - Weight Watcher

Dear Weight Watcher: To focus on the weight gain is to look at the symptom and not the underlying issue. He is in a slump with his career. It never feels good to be stuck in a rut, and eating is most likely just his way of numbing that discomfort. Talk to him about career goals, and come up with a plan together for him to get his wheels turning again.

That said, mental, emotional and physical fitness are interconnected, and a better diet and exercise routine would almost certainly boost his mood. You can encourage that by way of example. Invite him to go for a run, play tennis or just go for a walk with you.

Dear Annie: I’d like to respond to “Ethan in Hanover” about dating. I am also on the autism spectrum. When I was his age, I developed an unrequited crush on a woman named “Colleen.” She had no understanding of autism spectrum disorder and said that I was “too weird to be liked.” Her remarks affected me so much that I ended up losing 10 pounds in two weeks. It took me four years to get over this woman. I wised up after that experience.

If I were Ethan, I would give “Erin” (who is also on the spectrum) a chance. - Bob in Upstate New York

Dear Bob: Anyone who would tell someone he is “too weird to be liked” is too heartless to love. How sad. I’m sorry this woman hurt you, but I’m glad you saw her true colors right off the bat and were eventually able to move on. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom with the world.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.