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Woman’s eating habits take an unhealthy turn

Dear Abby: I have recently developed what I consider to be a very healthy lifestyle. I exercise, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and mostly whole foods.

My problem is I think I may be becoming obsessed. It has become harder and harder to eat away from home. I constantly plan what I'm going to eat next. I'm still happy, but too much of my time is being spent on this.

Apparently, there's a disorder similar to anorexia known as orthorexia. It's the psychological obsession with eating healthy. I don't think I could be classified as an extreme case, but what should I do before I become one? – Obsessed in Boston

Dear Obsessed: As with any obsessive disorder, the first step is realizing and admitting you may have one. Then discuss it with your physician and ask for a referral to a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders.

This is not to say that you have a disorder – but because more and more of your time is being devoted to thoughts of food, it would be a good idea to check. Too much of a good thing can be harmful if it is taken too far.

Dear Abby: I am 23 and have one child. I have been married for 3 years, and my husband has recently become physically abusive. He was prosecuted for his actions and pleaded guilty, but he still blames me entirely for the scenario and refuses to accept any responsibility.

I fear for the safety of myself and my daughter every day, and I want to leave him for good. Many of the shelters I have called require that I quit my job, which is something I feel is counterintuitive to establishing a life on my own, so I refuse. That said, I don't make much money, and the money I do make goes toward paying the fine my husband incurred for harming me.

Am I aiming too high? I feel the only way to break free from him entirely is to quit my job, but I don't want to have to resort to this. What would you advise? – Conflicted Out West

Dear Conflicted: I would advise you to take your child and get out of there before the next episode of domestic violence. And, if you truly want to break free entirely from your abuser, that you follow TO THE LETTER the instructions you receive from the people at the domestic violence shelter. And one more thing: Let the person who incurred the fine pay it himself!

Dear Abby: I have a question about office microwave etiquette. I work in a building with one kitchen for 40 people. Often there is a wait to use the microwave around lunchtime. Recently I needed to use it and found a warm packaged meal in there, and no owner around. I waited 5 minutes and came back. It was still there as if it had been forgotten.

I decided to place it on the counter with a napkin covering it so I could use the microwave. When I was finished, no one appeared to claim it, so I put it back in and went on my way.

Did I do the right thing? There was no way to know whose meal it was. What's proper in this situation? Should I have just waited? – Hungry in Ithaca, N.Y.

Dear Hungry: You handled the situation appropriately. However, had it been me, I would have left the item on the counter so it wouldn't be touched by the other 38 hungry people in your office who also needed to use the microwave.

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

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