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Ask Dr. Barb: Empathy helps those struggling to change

Dr. Barbara RosenbergDear Dr. Barb: My father died from diabetes, and my brother has had it for 15 years. He has been overweight since his 20s and continues to gain. He has always eaten like a child (junk food, soda, ice cream), and he smokes and drinks. My brother thinks insulin shots will make all this OK. Two years ago, he learned he also has high blood pressure, but he has kept up his unhealthy lifestyle. When I suggest healthier foods or that he change his habits, he just shuts me out. I am afraid I will lose him. What can I do?

Dear Reader,

Sadly, it is not unusual that suggestions to change unhealthy habits, even those that may be life threatening, are met with resistance. Giving up cigarettes, avoiding junk food and starting physical exercise may seem pretty straightforward and not that difficult. However, some individuals become so used to their bad habits that trying to change them becomes an ongoing losing battle, even when they know they are putting themselves at risk. 

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N.J. outdoor yoga: summer classes in Union County, many free 

Yoga in the Garden at Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit.Salute the sun with an outdoor yoga session on summer's first day tomorrow, and then take yoga practice right through summer with many free opportunities to stretch out at Union County parks and limber up to dance beneath the stars.


Summit: Summer outdoor yoga sessions across Union County start tomorrow with Yoga in the Garden at 7 p.m. at Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit. Celebrate the June 20 Summer Solstice with Sun Salutation Flow led by Claire Diab, the arboretum's yoga specialist and founder of The American Yoga Academy Studio in Summit. A $20 donation is requested upon arrival. Reeves-Reed Arboretum is located at 165 Hobart Ave., Summit. Visit for more information.


Cranford: Hanson Park Conservancy, 220 Walnut Ave., will be the setting for Yoga for Everyone sessions on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. There is a $10 suggested donation. Visit and or call (908) 709.-283. Check for community yoga sessions in other areas of the county, including Fanwood, Scotch Plains and Springfield.


Mountainside: Starting June 29, and on every Wednesday in July, those attending Union County's free summer concerts at Echo Lake Park will have an opportunity to enjoy free Yoga in the Park classes starting at 6:30 p.m. before each 7:30 p.m. concert. 


Clark: Yoga in the Park continues on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. from Aug. 3 through Aug. 24 at Oak Ridge Park. Each yoga session will be led by instructors from area yoga or fitness centers. See the full yoga and concert schedule at


Elizabeth: On July 19, kids can try out yoga at 7:30 p.m. at Warinaco Park. Yoga is among the fun fitness sessions planned before Tuesday night family movies running July 12, 19 and 26, and Aug. 9.  Each week there's a different fitness session, including cross-fit, Zumba and karate. See the full ftness and movie schedule at


Participants should bring a yoga mat and water for the yoga sessions, and a blanket of lawn chairs for the concerts.





Outdoor wedding ideas: DIY Chandelier made from hanging planter basket  

A hanging wire basket made for plants is beaded and transformed into an outdoor chandelier in this project from Jo-Ann fabric and crafts.An ordinary hanging planter becomes a gorgeous DIY chandelier with instructions from Jo-Ann fabrics and crafts. Beads are strung on lengths of wire to surround the basket and its hanging wires for an outdoor accessory that can add a little more sparkle using battery-operated candles, so no electric power is required.


While the idea is perfect for outdoor weddings, it is also a fun way to beautify any outdoor "room" for a warm-weather celebration or just to create a romantic setting with the benefit of several flameless candles with battery-powered light.   


All materials are available online, but head to the store at 1272 Route 27 in Colonia to see more options and get any project questions answered in advance.  

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