DR. WALLACE: I live with my mom and three younger sisters. Our father left the family home five years ago, and we don't know where he is or if he is even still alive. Because of our economic situation, we receive federal food stamps to help our family. My mom does have a pretty good part-time job.
Yesterday, I went to the grocery store and bought 5 pounds of hamburger meat and 2 pounds of tomatoes and paid for the food with food stamps. When I was checking out, the store lady who took my stamps told me that she wasn't earning enough money to afford such nice food and asked me how our family could. I didn't say anything to her, but I left the store feeling very embarrassed.
My mom said that I should have told her to mind her own business, but I don't like confrontation with anyone, especially strangers. What should I do if this same clerk embarrasses me again? I'm 16 years old. — Embarrassed Teen, Chicago
EMBARRASSED TEEN: How your family spends your food stamps is none of the clerk's business, but telling her that would not have solved the problem. If it happens again, say nothing to this clerk, but before you leave the store, ask a different clerk if you can speak to the store manager. Tell the manager what the clerk has been saying to you. You can add that you like the store, but if it happens again, your family will shop at a different store where the employees are courteous. I trust a good manager will take care of the situation and even make a sincere apology to you and your family. Your family is doing the best you can, and all of you absolutely deserve an apology for this inappropriate comment.
TIPS TO FIT INTO A BIKINI
DR. WALLACE: I have noticed reading your column that when spring is here, girls write to you wanting to know the best way to lose extra pounds gained from overeating during the holiday season or throughout the winter.
Suddenly, many young ladies realize it won't be long before the swimsuit season arrives. Please allow me to share my method for losing those holiday pounds.
When it comes time for me to lose weight, I buy a few nice pieces of clothing that are a size too small. This forces me to go on a healthy eating and exercising program.
Every week, I try on my tighter new clothes and, in about four or five weeks, the clothes fit perfectly, and I'm ready to where last year's bikini. — Girl With a Plan, via email
GIRL WITH A PLAN: Thanks for sharing your weight loss program! It's not too scientific and does not even mention calories, but I do understand where you are coming from, and I can partially buy into your logic. You are basically motivating yourself to reach a goal, and by doing so, you aim to build up the self-discipline to achieve it. My additional advice would be to first create a healthy target weight and check with a doctor or a parent to be sure that your goal still allows you to maintain a healthy weight for your age, height and body shape.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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