Be deferential, err on the far side of polite, offer to help, assume you should leave your well-cleaned shoes by the door and most definitely turn off your phone. Our insurance must pay for it, whether or not it was a preexisting condition. As a country, we need to stop this reactive pattern if we want to cut back on our outrageous costs and prevent the collapse of the entire health care system. It is time to focus on the population group that is largely driving up prices and burdening the rest of Americans--those who are unhealthy because of the choices they make. Until about 1980, the average weight of an American adult was stable. Then we saw a sudden rise in obesity. There are many reasons why we got fat as a country, but there is one that nobody wants to talk about: the entry of women into the workforce. Don't get me wrong: I wouldn't be where I am without women's strides toward equality and independence in the twentieth century. But there are certain prices we had to pay for that independence. One of them is that fewer women, who traditionally cooked meals for their families, are doing so today. Without home cooking, we have become dependent on packaged and processed foods, notorious for higher salt and fat content. Conflict may seem like the worst deterrent imaginable, but it is worse still to suffocate your convictions in favor of approval. That will eat you alive. Here is my best advice: keep living. Keep being the same person you've been. Keep doing the good and kind things you've always done. Keep loving Jesus. Keep pressing hard on your faith; I hope we are doing this until we are dead. Keep being kind.

Keep serving. Respectful behaviour counts very much in your favour. Be openly but gently complimentary about their home and the food. And significantly, about the way they've raised their child, qualities you enjoy in your partner that obviously they influenced. Now, you might think it's horn-blaringly obvious that you like your partner's qualities, why else would you be an item? But by praising them explicitly to parents, you tick the boxes they really care about - being a good parent, nurturing their child's potential -- it will go a long way in building a strong base of goodwill. Showcase your relationship in its best possible light to them. This is not the moment for excessive teasing, minor criticisms, or steamy displays of affection. Dress for their approval, of course, and not for your partner's. Think conservative and a bit understated: ultra-fashionable monochrome, too casual denim, or too sexy skin-displays are wholly taboo. Do check beforehand with your partner for any controversial subjects that you should avoid at all costs. Another reason we're overweight, and related to the first one, is that we have fast food on every corner. Takeout is a staple in most people's homes, including my own. I won't say I come home and cook dinner every night, because I don't. (In fact, my husband cooks far more often than I do. ) The convenience offered by takeout, however, can feel like a lifesaver at times in a busy home. A third reason is that we've seen a significant decline in physical activity. It comes as no surprise that our waistlines are wider than ever before. Look around you, even at the gym, and you'll see big people everywhere--60 to 75 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. This number is only increasing.

The prevalence of obesity has convinced many of us that it's acceptable. Asking new questions isn't the spiritual catastrophe you've been told. The slippery-slope argument is lazy, as if you are a spineless sheep incapable of higher-level thinking and discernment. You are a grown woman. Stand on your own two feet. I have some good news. There is a whole wonderful world outside. You are not alone, no matter how crazy others make you sound. Millions of faithful people have asked new questions of faith and systems, and guess what? They still love God! They are serving despite religious disapproval. Find out in detail what they already know about you and -- horrid but necessary - make sure you drag out of your partner anything they didn't like the sound of in you, as it might come up as a challenge. Allow parents the space to challenge you, to object and voice their concerns. And that's hard. Even though their comments, subtle or brutal, might be rude coming from someone else, curbing your anger when challenged by parents is vital to a positive outcome. Well, of course you can expect them to be protective and anxious; that's what makes them good and loving parents. Thankfully the rules of politeness offer an easy way to cement a good impression. Do remember to take a gift, arrive there calm and on time, and send a pleasant thank you note after your visit. Remember all these things, keep them confidently in your grip as you enter the room.

Then you know you've done everything possible to make this landmark encounter a pleasure. We have completely normalized being overweight with big & tall stores, husky jeans, plus-sized clothing, and plus-sized models. Rather than encouraging people to lower their weight to a healthy range, the market has responded by supplying the products demanded by a fat America. I read an opinion piece recently by a woman who had a humiliating experience trying to board an airplane. The gate agent told her she had to buy a second seat because her girth would not fit into the economy seat she had purchased. The woman, who described herself as weighing 300 pounds, felt she was a victim of discrimination, and said so to the gate agent. She was too embarrassed by the incident to make any further commotion, so she conceded and paid for the extra seat, later detailing the account in an opinion piece. She concluded the piece by saying she is proud of her appearance and believes she deserves respect. Her piece was met with glowing praise and support for her expression of self-love. Her choice to protest the incident to the airline was an empowering moment. Like many, I admire women with self-confidence. They are good brothers and sisters who, against all odds, still sometimes love the church, and that is primarily because they are the church. And a final word to my readers still spiritually thriving inside the traditional system: I could not possibly be happier for you, and that is sincere. Those forms can be life-giving, and, as I mentioned earlier, some of the finest people on earth serve there. I learned to love Jesus inside those structures, and look at me - it sure stuck. If each iteration of the church raises the next generation to take the baton, even if they run their leg a little differently, we have to be grateful for their legacy. I am regularly mentored by a few leaders whose entire operation is in the bullseye of traditional church. They are dear brothers and sisters, and I can attest to their undisputed faithfulness. They are not all anything. Furthermore, spiritual exploration is nurtured in plenty of conventional spaces.

No type of church is a monolith, and we would be liars to suggest the steeples are all stale and the only freedom is out in the wilderness. Have you ever wished you were someone who could easily get to know high value people? Say, business leaders, celebrities, or even just cool, in-demand characters with value in an unusual or a glittering social domain - a nightclub manager, for example? Well, that's harder than the average social face-off, but as always, there is a set of skills that will help you. The first thing to consider is that such people are usually manically busy, don't like meeting new bods, and are sick (i. e. nauseated) of everyone wanting to take something from them. They walk through a hectic crowd of grabbers: some want their money, some want to hawk a deal, others want a capital injection, twenty want freebies and most want a selfish selfie on top. Meeting people with a little more social value is not that hard, of course. Usually being very friendly and offering them stuff will do the job. Say, offering to buy a drink very quickly, even if their glass is nearly full, is always a good move to convey you aren't just trying to take from them. I love that she stood up for herself and resisted the pressure to conform to society's idea of what she should look like. At the same time, when we praise her for these qualities, we're praising a woman who is morbidly obese, and that's not okay. Yes, she is a beautiful woman. Yes, she is strong and has good self-worth. However, her obesity will lead her down a path toward illness. We want to be kind to those who aren't as healthy and fit as they should be, but are we just enabling the problem by praising such behavior? My son is attending Ole Miss, so for his high school graduation party, I asked a caterer to bring in some southern-themed food. It was a culinary experience! We had fried chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and everything else unhealthy you could imagine.