CAROLE CONFIDENTIAL; She's Shared a Thousand Problems ...Now Let Our Lifestyle Adviser Carole Caplin Help Solve Yours

Article excerpt

Byline: CAROLE CAPLIN

Q Since quitting smoking two years ago I have put on three stone.

Friends tell me that weight gain is to be expected but I am desperate to lose it. I have taken up exercise and changed my diet but I'm binge-eating, albeit on healthy foods. At least once or twice a week, I can't stop eating. I can see what I'm doing and hate it but can't stop. I have not started making myself sick afterwards but fear that this will be next. I'm 40. Please can you help?

Darren, Ipswich

A You are 'fixing' on food, using it to alter the way you feel. What you describe is compulsive behaviour and impossible to avoid through willpower alone. Binge-eating reflects underlying unhappiness. You are replacing one destructive behaviour (smoking) with another ( bingeeating). Controlling this is desirable but I suspect little will be achieved unless other unresolved issues are addressed. For one-to-one work, cognitive therapy can be effective (babcp.org.uk). Contact people with similar issues through Overeaters Anonymous (oagb.org.uk).

Ten years ago I had an industrial accident and I've been confined to a wheelchair ever since. My wife is having an affair with one of my best friends, which they believe I'm unaware of. I am unable to have a normal sexual relationship, so have allowed the affair to continue even though it is breaking my heart. I feel totally useless and I think she would be better off without me.

I can't provide for her, either physically or financially, so what good am I to her?

Joseph, Wolverhampton

A Understandably, your situation has not only had a crushing effect on your self-confidence but has also distorted your perspective.

No matter how hard it has been for your wife, your being in constant emotional pain due to her 'secret' liaison and feeling 'no good' for her helps no one. …