DR. WALLACE: I think I'm addicted to food. Of course, everybody eats when they're hungry, but I often eat when I'm not even hungry. I'm not fat, but I could afford to lose about a dozen pounds. My friend is 30 pounds overweight and she started attending Overeaters Anonymous. She is excited about their program and wants me to attend with her.
The problem is that she is much heavier than I am and I'm not sure this program is meant for people like me. I'm 19 and with the right outfit I can hide my extra pounds fairly well. If I were only 12 pounds overweight every day for the rest of my life, I'd be totally satisfied. It is the possibility of being 30 pounds overweight that has me concerned. Is Overeaters for me? — Nameless, Galesburg, Ill.
NAMELESS: I contacted Overeaters Anonymous and this is what I found out:
Overeaters Anonymous asks 15 questions. If you answer yes to three or more, it is probable that you already have a compulsive eating problem, or are well on your way to having one. I took the quiz and — honestly — I answered yes to only one question: No. 3.
1. Do you eat when you're angry?
2. Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason?
3. Do you have feelings of guilt and remorse after overeating?
4. Do you give too much time and thought to food?
5. Do you look forward with pleasure to the moments when you can eat alone?
6. Do you plan secret binges ahead of time?
7. Do you eat sensibly before others and make up for it alone?
8. Is your weight affecting the way you live your life?
9. Have you tried to diet for a week (or longer), only to fall short of your goal?
10. Do you resent the advice of others who tell you to "use a little willpower" to stop overeating?
11. Despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet "on your own" whenever you wish?
12. Do you crave to eat at a definite time, day or night, other than mealtime?
13. Do you eat to escape from worries or troubles?
14. Has your physician ever treated you for being overweight?
15. Does your food obsession make you or others unhappy?
THE ONLY SAFE WAY IS ABSTINENCE
DR. WALLACE: I think you missed the mark in your reply to the girl in Oakland, California, whose date asked her if she was a virgin. She was surprised and told him yes, but then started having second thoughts about the question. You told her the question was out of line and advised her to dump him immediately. You also said that whether she was or was not a virgin was none of this guy's business.
I am a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center and am occasionally privileged to address high school students on the topics of abstinence and safe sex. The fact is that sex is only truly safe if it's between two people who remained virgins until marrying each other, and who are faithfully monogamous for life. It's possible the guy was simply a prudent young man who was seeking such a partner: one who is committed to purity and monogamy. He may have been unwilling to invest emotionally in a relationship that had no future.
The girl should have asked the guy if he was a virgin. If he said no, then by all means, dump him. — R.N., Cleveland, Ohio.
R.N.: I appreciate your taking the time to express your view on this. What you say is, indeed, a possible motivation for the boy's question, but I doubt it. My gut feeling is that this guy was not interested in finding out about her sexual past because he was looking for someone committed to purity and monogamy. I think he was looking for a little action. I stand by my answer. As far as I'm concerned, it's improper for a guy to ask a girl if she's a virgin.
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. E-mail 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.