By KRS Edstrom



Dear KRS,
I have a friend who has been living with AIDS for several years now. She recently found out she has cancer, and now the doctors say that she may not make it to summer. She’s an otherwise strong person, with an excellent positive attitude. I was hoping that you might have some ideas on how I can feed that positive attitude, or just know the right words to say. I want to write her a letter and would like to  include some words of wisdom.... but from a professional, which I am not. I’d appreciate any guidance you might be able to offer.
Friend Dying of Aids

Dear Friend Dying,
How inspiring that you have chosen to prioritize your friend’s feelings over your own painful feelings at this time. Many people back away from those who are ill, particularly at the end, because they feel inadequate and consumed with sadness. Consider calling your friend as well as writing her. The energy of a loving  human voice has a powerful healing effect, both physically and emotionally. Whether you call or write, the most valuable thing you can offer your ailing  friend at this point is the sentiment in your heart. Remind your friend of how much good she has done on this earth and how much she means to  you.

Encourage yourself to gently ask your friend about her fear of dying. This is the hardest question for supporting friends to ask, but often the most important. More often than not, floodgates of thoughts and emotions will open from the dying person. Listen. Follow your friend into this conversation and keep it going with loving, honest feedback and further questions, if appropriate. If writing, encourage your friend to communicate her fears. Depending on her faith, you may even want to explore a conversation about letting go of her fear so she can actually anticipate her pain-free union with God.

Ask her if there’s anything you can do for her. When I asked a terminal patient if he was afraid to die, he answered quite quickly that he was most afraid that he wouldn’t get to say goodbye to his family. Since he was too weak to write, I asked if he’d like to dictate letters to me for each of  them. He loved the idea and was able to sign them himself. After this session I noticed that calmness seemed to replace his former state of agitation. [An interesting footnote:  The letter writing experience to his family members seemed divinely guided. I was able to turn off “me” during the writing and didn’t recall anything I had written when we were through. I delivered the letters to his family members after his passing. It was beautiful.] Trust your intentions, work from your heart and your friend will feel your love.


Dear KRS,
Every day around 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. I get hungry and start snacking on low-fat and fat-free foods and can’t stop. I feel like I never get full and I am always going back into the kitchen for more. I usually end up eating until I feel like I am going to explode because I can’t tell when I’ve had enough. Could you tell me what low fat snacks are out there that will fill me up after one serving?
Binging on Low Fat Foods

Dear Binging,
The low fat snacks that will fill you up and signal that you have had enough to eat are those that are nutritionally balanced and will supplement that which your body is lacking at that moment. People are often so preoccupied with the fat content of a food that they forget about the nutritional content. When your body gives you hunger signals it is actually giving you nutritional requests. It is saying, “I’m running out of gas and I need some high octane fuel instead of empty calories, if you don’t mind.”

Thinking we are fooling the system, we give it the equivalent of cardboard in the form of refined carbohydrates and nutritionally deficient low-fat foods. The body continues to scream, “Get back to that refrigerator and try again — I’ve got  a stomach full of useless cardboard here!”

But off you run, continuing to allow your mind to overrule your body. And so the cycle spirals and the pounds accumulate (yes, you CAN gain weight on low -fat foods). It is a very frustrating cycle that can be hard to figure out when you don’t give your body equal time to speak. You can begin to break that cycle by asking your body what it really needs before you get to the kitchen. Ask your body if, for example, a handful of raw almonds might actually taste better than low-fat cookies. Also ask — is this really hunger or is it an attempt to numb emotional cravings?


Dear KRS,
I can do a very fast walk in 35 min and go 1.4 miles or jog the same distance in about the same time. Which is better as far as the health benefits?  Thanks.
Jog or Walk?

Dear Walking,
Walking gets the vote for health benefits, especially for women. You eliminate the risk of injury and “gravitational pull” on your body (both internally and externally) with walking. Since a fast walk can actually take more effort than a slow jog, you may even be burning more calories with your  walk.

KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, please visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at   For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail: www.askkrs@aol . com  

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