Please Pass on Diet Pills

By Dr. Robert Wallace

June 23, 2020 5 min read

DR. WALLACE: I'm a 16-year-old girl who needs to lose 25 to 30 pounds by the middle of this summer. I know how I packed on the extra pounds: I was depressed this year, and I tried to eat my way back to happiness. It didn't work. All I did was gain a lot of useless weight.

Now that I'm mentally healthier after going to therapy regularly, I want to try losing weight. I'm told by a few of my girlfriends that diet pills really work for losing weight, but I also understand these pills can become addictive for some people. I'm not sure if I'm one of those people, but I really, really want to drop some weight fast. — Seeking to Slim Down, via email

SEEKING TO SLIM DOWN: You should not get involved with diet pills. They are, indeed, highly addictive, and most who use these types of pills gain the lost weight back quickly after they quit taking the pills. This can start a dangerous binge-purge cycle that is very unhealthy.

The safest way to lose weight and to keep those extra pounds off is to change your eating patterns. Learn what to eat, how much to eat and, most importantly, what not to eat. Couple this with an active and regular exercise program, and you will maintain a healthy weight.

If you start eating properly and exercising regularly, some of your excess weight will be history come September. By the new year, you should happily see the "new you."

You should plan to lose pounds gradually, just a few pounds each month, versus seeking an immediate steep loss of weight, which could be dangerous to your overall health.


DR. WALLACE: I'm a 16-year-old girl who will turn 17 late this summer, and I live alone with my mother. My parents have been divorced for a long time, more than 10 years, and I haven't seen my father since I was 8. I know my father remarried about five years ago and has another family now with two small children.

I would like to see my father again, and I'd also like to meet my little half brother and half sister and start a relationship with them. I'd like to contact my dad and invite him to my graduation next June. I'm lucky that I'm only a junior in high school this year because our poor seniors had no graduation ceremony and no prom due to the COVID-19 virus. I'm hopeful this virus will be gone by next June, when I am a graduating senior, because this would be a perfect chance for me to reach out to make contact with my father again. I'd also have a lot of time between now and then to make this contact as carefully and respectfully as possible so it will be well received. However, my mom is advising me to wait until I am a college student to contact him again. She says that once I'm an adult of 18 and off to college, it will be easier for my father to accept hearing from me after so long. She also went into a mini rant and told me he wasn't a good father or husband, but I want to find out for myself. From what I remember about my father, he was always really nice to me when I was a little girl.

When do you think I should contact my father — before I graduate from high school or once I'm in college? — Curious Daughter, via email

CURIOUS DAUGHTER: You should contact your father whenever you feel comfortable doing so. You can even do this before your high school graduation, since that is a full year away.

In any event, be sure to discuss the situation again with your mother in advance of taking action, and let her know how important it is for you to make contact with your father again now that you are older and curious about him. He is, after all, your father, and it's natural to miss him and to want to at least contact him to see where things go.

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

Photo credit: suju at Pixabay

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