DEAR AMY: My husband is in his mid-40s. When he went to the doctor recently for a physical, he was told he needs to lose 100 pounds.

I went with him to a weight-loss support group, hoping he’d join, but he has not. He doesn’t exercise. The only way I can get him to go for a walk is if he can buy a treat. During his free time, he watches TV and plays computer games.

Last night at supper, when I suggested he have just one hamburger instead of two, he got all defensive.

He has been gaining 10 pounds a year for the past few years. He needs to take charge of his health. I’m not sure what else I can do for him. -- At a Loss

DEAR LOSS: You can’t lose weight for your husband. You’ve led him to dieting, and he responded by ordering another hamburger.

Food addiction is like other addictions: Nothing will change until the compulsive eater chooses change. You should convey to your husband, “I am very worried about you. I hope you’ll take your doctor’s advice to try to lose weight, but I know I can’t control you.”

Continue to set the stage for a healthy lifestyle, but don’t police or comment on his eating.

No one approach works for everyone, though I like the common sense method used by Weight Watchers, which focuses on choices, portions, personal responsibility and group support.

Their online program might appeal to your husband because it’s private and self-policing. You could send him a link, but don’t force the issue further.

You might receive some insight from reading through the literature of Al-anon or Overeaters Anonymous,

DEAR AMY: A group of relatives (a generation or two younger than us) was invited for a weekend at our home. Food, accommodations and recreation were carefully planned to meet their individual preferences.

When they arrived, they hardly acknowledged us, instead retiring to the living room with their iPads.

We finished preparing and serving dinner (which they actually ate without electronic aid). They even commented a time or two that we had served some of their favorites, but as soon as they were finished eating, it was back to the living room with their toys.

The rest of the weekend was similar. The males managed to get outside for a bit of recreation, but the females mostly stayed attached to their electronics. One commented that she would never be as old as we are.

We are educated and intelligent people, but we feel that we have been “tossed in the dustbin.” Any suggestions? -- Lost in Cyberspace

DEAR LOST: I can’t explain or excuse the rudeness of your family members because the whole “I’ll never be as old as you are” comment is truly beyond the pale.

Unfortunately, you can’t compete with technology’s hold on your family members (and you shouldn’t have to). But for many younger and wired people, sitting together and parallel playing with their devices is their version of gathering ’round the hearth. It is not a reflection on your hospitality.

However, if you care to ever try this again, you might gain some traction by doing a little less, so that your guests might be inspired to do a little more.

Next time, instead of preparing their favorite dishes for them, you should get the ingredients and ask them to work with you to put a special meal together. And by all means, it’s fine to say, “Ladies, could you put your technology away for a while? Let’s go for a walk.”

DEAR AMY: “Neighborly” wrote that she had an adjoining property owner who was “taking care” of a portion of her yard. She wanted to “get through to her without becoming enemies.”

You told her to be friendly and firm.

“Taking care” of someone else’s property is the first step in stealing it by the legal principle of adverse possession (only two years in some states!).

Neighborly must start asserting her property rights immediately if she doesn’t want to be a victim. -- Also a Neighbor

DEAR NEIGHBOR: Many readers mentioned adverse possession as a possible consequence of this behavior. Thank you, all.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services