DR. WALLACE: I'm a girl who is 12, my brother is 14 and my older sister is 15 and a half. My sister and I share a bedroom, while my brother has a bedroom to himself. My sister thinks she's old enough to have a room by herself, so she's pressuring our mom to get me to move into the other room with my brother so she can have her privacy. She likes to talk to her friends on the phone a lot, and when she does, she makes me leave our room. She said it would just be easier for me to move in with my brother, but I don't want to because he's a gross boy. I don't want to share a room with him. Who do you feel is right about this, my sister or me? — Sharing Little Sister, St. Petersburg, Florida
SHARING LITTLE SISTER: Mom would be making a mistake if she forced you to share a bedroom with your brother. I understand your sister's frustration, but the current room arrangement is better for both you and your brother. Your sister and you, with your parents help, can work together to find ways to give each other privacy. I vote for your family to continue with the existing bedroom arrangements
NONSMOKER'S NEW CHALLENGE
DR. WALLACE: I just read your column about the mother who recently stopped smoking. I'm proud of her because I, too, am an ex-smoker, having quit four years ago. But one sentence in her letter jumped out of me: "I threw away all my cigarettes, ate a ton of munchies and was determined to stop smoking cold turkey."
When I stopped smoking cold turkey, I didn't buy munchies, but I still added 30 pounds to my small frame! I thought, "Yikes! Which is worse for my health?" Now I'm happy that I kicked the smoking habit, but I am desperately trying to lose weight and curb my raging appetite. It seems that all I've done is trade one addiction for another. Please warn those who stop tobacco to be careful of gaining weight. — An Ex-Smoker Battling Weight Issues Now, via mail
EX-SMOKER: Thank you for sharing your experience. According to the American Cancer Society, many people who stop smoking, especially when they go cold turkey, do indeed turn to food as a substitute and end up gaining weight. The Cancer Society recommends first overcoming the nicotine addiction and then, when the desire to light up has completely vanished, trying to shed those extra pounds. For instance, snacks of fresh fruit and vegetables are low in calories, and they are healthy alternatives to junk food. It would be wise to study up on nutrition and to even consider spending an hour or two with a professional nutritionist to discuss your situation. I trust your experience is not uncommon, and a professional could help you with sound advice and motivational ideas.
Congratulations on kicking your tobacco addiction and on being proactive about your personal health.
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.