Dear Abby: Teen fears family won’t support her conversion to a vegetarian

The girl wants to lose weight and stop feeling gross about eating meat.

SHARE Dear Abby: Teen fears family won’t support her conversion to a vegetarian
dear_abby_12880069_e1420416724734_655.jpg

DEAR ABBY: I am a 15-year-old girl who wants to become a vegetarian. I don’t exactly know why. I only know I want to stop eating meat and choose a healthier alternative lifestyle. I also want to lose weight, which may happen after becoming vegetarian.

There’s been a lot going on in my life lately, so I’ve been stress-eating. I don’t hate my body, but I sure don’t love it. Every picture I take, I suck in my gut because I’m insecure.

The problem is, I’m not sure how to present this to my family. I’m sure I’ll get the annoying, “How could you give up steak/bacon/chicken?” from my dad and sister. Mom will probably be supportive, as she has always encouraged us to eat healthier in general, and she’ll most likely help me come up with somewhat of a meal plan.

I realized I wanted to stop eating meat when I was eating bacon and suddenly felt like I wanted to throw up because I was eating something that used to be alive. Basically, I was weirded out.

How do I explain this to my family? Additionally, how can I then get my extended family to understand that I won’t be able to eat meat at events such as parties and gatherings? — FUTURE VEGETARIAN IN NEW YORK

DEAR VEGETARIAN: There is nothing wrong with being a vegetarian, but it is not a guaranteed way to lose weight. Whether or not you realize it, half your letter discusses your lack of confidence about your body. You should definitely discuss it with someone. A counselor at school could be helpful.

Before changing your diet, discuss it with your doctor or a registered dietitian so you can manage it in a healthy way. Also, go online and start researching vegetarianism.

As to your extended family, people can have full social lives without consuming meat or causing inconvenience or discomfort to others. One simple solution would be to ask what will be served and bring something with you to eat if necessary.

DEAR ABBY: I was in an on-again, off-again relationship with a woman for well over a year. She was a single mother, and we took our time introducing me to her son until we were sure we were serious. The boy became very attached to me, and when it ended, he continued to ask about seeing me.

He’s 4 now, but he remembers all the things we did. His mother occasionally will let me see him for a day and then disappears for months before repeating. At first I was advised to walk away, but he never forgets. When he sees me, he gets extremely excited, and I consider myself more of an uncle/big brother than anything.

I understand the situation is awkward and probably makes some in her family and mine (my family knows how much I care about him) squirm. But is it wrong that I answer when the opportunity comes, or should I let it go? — FATHER FIGURE IN FLORIDA

DEAR FATHER FIGURE: Listen to your heart. Seeing the boy occasionally as you have been won’t hurt him. It will reinforce that he is important to someone besides his mother. Because you care about him, continue to see him on the basis that your ex-girlfriend has established.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

The Latest
The arrangement, in an acknowledgement of continued hybrid work, marks a downsizing from the paper’s home on the Near West Side.
College coaches were in the gym watching the two players who, in the eyes of the City/Suburban Hoops Report, have raised their stock the most in June: Bolingbrook’s Mekhi Cooper and Macaleab Rich of East St. Louis.
Amy Brown, 22, was in a fight in the 5300 block of South Carpenter Street when she was stabbed in the chest and arms, police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.
They pushed a man to the ground and beat him under the platform in the 900 block of West Belmont early Wednesday. Then they went to the platform and beat another man, police say.
Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, a Northwestern University cardiologist who heads the American Heart Association, says in a new advisory that adults should average seven to nine hours of sleep a night.