updated 02/05/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/05/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

Carnie Wilson
My husband and I both had gastric bypass surgery when Carnie did and have lost more than 350 lbs. between us. Some people may criticize us and say it's an easy way out, but these people don't realize obesity is a major illness in this country, and there are some unfortunate people who have tried everything and nothing works. I thank my doctors every day when I look in the mirror and see myself 155 lbs. thinner.
Barbara Harter, Bellevue, Neb.

To all those who'll be writing to blast Carnie Wilson for having gastric bypass surgery, put a sock in it! Anyone who thinks having major surgery is the lazy way out just doesn't get it. Overeating to the point of obesity is a disease and an emotional problem. If you think overweight people are lazy, strap 150 lbs. on your back, walk around for a week and see how much energy you've got.
Deborah Close, Old Orchard Beach, Maine

I had the same surgery as Carnie and it has been a life-saving operation for me, but there are health risks. I have had gallstones, kidney stones, hair loss, low blood pressure, liver dysfunction and many other things. I was told about these complications before the surgery and had a choice. Despite all the problems, it has been worth it to be able to feel and look "normal" again. And best of all, to be able to hold my little boy on my lap—which I couldn't do when I weighed 306.
Stacy Lowery, Aragon, Ga.

I am appalled by Carnie Wilson's statement that she had no alternative to surgery. I lost 130 lbs. in 15 months, less time than it has taken Carnie, and I did not have my internal organs mutilated to do it. I too ate three light meals a day, but I also worked on the brain. I focused on rebuilding my self-esteem and working on overcoming the reasons that drove me to overeat in the first place.
Julia Griggs Havey
The Health and Wellness Institute, St. Louis

It's great that she can enjoy life as a thin person, but the $20,000 price of Carnie's surgery reduces hope for most overweight people to live the life she now cherishes.
Cindi Schwirian, Columbus, Ohio

I congratulate Carnie Wilson, but as a graduate of the same surgery I would caution her to be more realistic about her chances of regaining a significant amount of weight. I also lost more than 150 lbs. and maintained that loss for over five years, but I have now regained 25 lbs. The surgery is not a magic bullet. Her physician's comment that "it would be very hard to regain the weight" is nonsense. The gastric bypass patient will typically regain as much as 50 percent of the weight lost in 5 to 15 years after surgery.
Name Withheld

Dr. Alan Wittgrove replies: "Our statistics don't show that. The surgery does not cure morbid obesity but provides a powerful tool. It's important for patients to continue follow-up treatment and not feel they are cured. Snacking is the operation's saboteur."—ED.

I was disgusted to see Carnie Wilson on the cover, knowing the extreme measure she took to achieve a tiny body. Haven't we learned anything yet about the message we are sending to young women who have to have a little boy's body to wear today's fashions? It's not an achievement to lose weight through surgery, and you should not flaunt this idea to impressionable females.
Denise O'Neill, Kitimat, B.C.

Carnie Wilson lost weight via a radical and dangerous surgery. I wish her well, but she is no inspiration to those who struggle daily with their weight.
Trina Minella, Antelope, Calif.

James Cavanaugh
Your article "Death at Work" fails to mention a major reason why workplace killings are much more common here than elsewhere. A key difference between the U.S. and other industrialized societies is the ease with which anyone in America can get hold of a gun.
Elizabeth Duckett dell'Osso, Portland, Ore.

Living in Europe, I found amusing the reply to the question "Is [workplace violence] worse in the U.S. than elsewhere?" Of course. The idea of having a personal stockpile of weapons anywhere else in the world—unless one is a terrorist—would be unacceptable.
Cindy Woodall, Le Vaud, Switzerland

Mario Lemieux
In a time when many professional athletes claim allegiance to a city, then go where they can get the most money, Mario Lemieux stood out by choosing to play with the Penguins his entire career. He proved his loyalty not only by staying in town after his retirement but also by ensuring that the Penguins would too. I've been to see Mario play since his return and heard the deafening cheers when he stepped on the ice. It's a hero's welcome for a man who has proved that he truly deserves the title.
Kelly Williams, Pittsburgh

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