Dear Ann: I am a happily married 41-year-old woman. I weigh over 300 pounds and have been dieting since I was 15. My doctor has told me that chronic dieting has damaged my metabolism and traditional weight-loss programs will no longer work. I am concerned about my health and know that being this heavy will create severe problems in the future.
After years of therapy and self-help groups, I have finally decided to have a gastric bypass operation to make my stomach smaller. While drastic, this surgery is considered a valid treatment for obesity. The problem is my sister. She is so upset about this surgery she refuses to speak to me. She says the operation is dangerous and I am a fool to consider it. My girlfriend insists my sister is concerned I will be thinner than she is and that is why she is discouraging me from having the operation.
I am hurt and angry about my sister's attitude, and what's worse, it is creating tremendous stress for me at a time when I need to be calm. I value your advice, Ann. Don't fail me. Anonymous, Of Course
Dear Of Course: You've already had too much advice. The only person you should listen to is your physician. Everyone else should butt out. Good luck. I wish you all the best.
Dear Ann: I am a 14-year-old freshman in high school. A lot of my friends are sophomores, and they are really nice kids. None of us do drugs or drink. My parents have told me I am not allowed to be at a friend's house when the parents are not at home. The problem is that one of the boys often has our group over, and his parents are rarely there. That means I cannot join my friends when they socialize at this boy's house.
Ann, I work hard at school and maintain excellent grades. I have never done anything to make my parents distrust me. I obey my curfew and comply with every rule they have set down. They absolutely refuse to discuss this situation and will not grant me any leeway. I think this is unfair.
I'm willing to negotiate. Please be on my side and speak up for me. Trustworthy in Memphis, Tenn.
Dear Trustworthy: Be grateful that your parents care enough to keep an eye on you. Too many parents these days don't pay enough attention to their teenagers' activities. I'm sure you are a terrific kid, but the fact that you are trustworthy is beside the point. Things can happen whether you plan them or not. There should be zero gatherings in homes when no adult is present. No exceptions should be made.
Dear Ann: I read with interest all those letters about vegetarian weddings. My husband and I encountered similar criticism when we decided not to serve liquor at our wedding.
We do not drink, and although we don't mind if others do, we did not set up a bar at our reception. We toasted each other with sparkling apple cider rather than champagne. Some of our friends told us we should have had alcohol available and said it was tacky of us not to provide it.
I always thought people attended weddings to share the joy, not to get free drinks. To those clods who think a gift entitles them to prime rib and unlimited alcohol, I say, think again. A Dissenting Vote in Kissimmee, Fla.
Dear Kiss: I vote with you. A pox on the clods.