Caroline Buchanan is our Agony Aunt at the Dorset Echo. She’ll be helping readers with their problems on a weekly basis.

Dear Caroline,

It’s January and so of course I’m on another diet! Please help me solve my weight problem once and for all. I have been dieting on and off all my adult life and at times have got pretty near my goal weight. I never quite manage to get there, though.

Every time I lose a stone or two, I vow I will never put the weight back on but somehow it always starts creeping up again. I’m an intelligent woman – so why can’t I just get it right once and for all? I dread to think how many times I’ve lost the same few stones!

Verity, by email

I fully understand, Verity, and you’re far from alone! You know what they say, dieting makes you fat! If you keep on doing what you keep on doing, you’ll keep on getting what you keep on getting. For good and for bad! So simple but true.

Therefore, if you don’t want to undo your good work next time you lose weight something obviously has to change. You do so well and then you self-sabotage. Why? Don’t you think you deserve to be at your goal weight? Why on earth not? Do you eat when you’re anxious, unhappy, stressed or angry? It’s so important to stop and think about whether you’re genuinely hungry or wanting/craving emotional sustenance. Nine times out of ten it will be the latter.

Deal with that appropriately and then you will find the weight will take care of itself.

Dear Caroline,

I am a single mum with a beautiful little boy who obviously means the world to me. My career has been going well, and although it has its

ups and downs, it is so going in the right direction.

The trouble is it means time away from my son, which I feel so guilty about, even though I know he is well looked after. I feel so torn in two sometimes.

If I follow my dream career and become financially secure it can only be good for his future. But the thought of him missing me when I’m

not there torments me. Please help.

Louise, by email

Every working mum is torn in two sometimes and, yes, it’s a horrible feeling. I’m sure many working dads feel it too. But it’s part of life. As long as your little boy has lots of love and security from the trustworthy and trusted adults in his world, he will be fine.

None of us can be perfect parents but we can do our best. I’m sure your son is your top priority and if you know you’re doing all you can to ensure he’s safe and well cared for when you’re not around, then you can definitely afford to stop torturing yourself.


CAROLINE Buchanan is a journalist, author, agony aunt and Relate- trained counsellor who lives in Dorset and West London.

Her latest book is The 15-Minute Rule for Forgiveness. Her previous book, The 15-Minute Rule - How to Stop Procrastinating and Take Control of Your Life, is a bestseller.

If you would like Caroline’s advice, send your problem to joanna.davis@dorsetecho. and it will be passed on.