This is a collection of my Let Inga Tell You newspaper columns, plus blog posts and favorite publications. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ingatellsall.
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Inga Tells All: A saga of single parenthood, second marriage, surly fauna, and being mistaken for a Swedish porn star
Several years ago at a holiday lunch, I was seated
next to a woman who had opened her own clothing boutique in North County. She
thought it was a travesty that women’s clothes were mostly targeted toward the
really slender. So in addition to carrying clothes for the emaciated svelte (my
term), it was her plan to design clothing for her boutique for the “larger
“What sizes?” I inquired, suddenly taking interest.
It was all I could do not to accidentally knock her
Nicoise salad (dressing on the side) into her scrawny size two lap.
Prior to my divorce 30 years ago, I always wore a
size 4, which in today’s deflationary size market is probably a 2, or even a 0.
(Personally I think size 0 is what you should be after you’ve been dead a
while.) Afterwards, I packed on 40 pounds eating the Post-Divorce Mrs. Fields Cookie
and Chardonnay Depression Diet. Alas, I’ve been heifering, er, hovering around
a size 16 ever since. I’d consider wearing sizes 8-12 really good news.
Every year, shedding at least 30 of those pounds has
been my number one New Year’s resolution. And every year on December 31, I say,
“Well, next year!”
Anyone who has lived in La Jolla for any length of
time knows that the Thin Police are on regular and vigilant patrol. It is their
mission to make sure that anyone who displays more than a certain level of
avoirdupois is (1) a regular topic of discussion, and (2) must be “helped.” When
I gained so much weight, it was abundantly clear to me how much air time my
weight was getting among some of the locals.
In my first few years in the oinker set, a very
slender acquaintance made it her full time unsolicited project to assist my
weight loss efforts, including showing up at my door one day with a package of
over-the-counter diet pills that had been opened with one missing, saying she’d
bought these for herself but wasn’t going to use the rest of them, and thought
I might be interested. Hell no!
I’ve never understood the compelling desire to tell
people how much better they would look if they were thinner.
To this day, what I wish I’d said to the fat helpers was, “OH MY GOD!YOU’RE RIGHT!I WOULD LOOK BETTER THINNER! WHY
DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?I JUST WANT YOU
TO KNOW THAT THE CREDIT FOR EVERY POUND I LOSE WILL ALL GO TO YOU AND YOUR
AMAZING SUGGESTION THAT NEVER EVEN OCCURRED TO ME!
This is what I like about writing a column; you get
do-overs, at least in fantasy. I’m annoyed at myself that I didn’t take this bull
by the horns then. But didn’t want people to think I was both fat AND surly.
I’ve always been a lifelong walker, walking at least
2-3 miles a day. Somehow this never seemed to impact my weight, which I think
you’ll agree is totally unfair. But for years I used to see the same uber-thin
woman whose kids were the same ages as mine out jogging on my same route who
would routinely jog up next to me and inquire enthusiastically, “Hey, have you
lost weight?” No other topic, ever. It got hugely irritating because I was
clear that in her mind, she thought she was helpfully encouraging me to shed
She suddenly disappeared (I rather hoped she’d been
bludgeoned to death by an infuriated fatty) but a few months ago, after a 15-year
absence, I was out for a walk when she jogged by, as slender as ever. As she
jogged in place (some things never change) alongside me, she mentioned that
she’d moved out to the desert some years ago but was now back in town being treated
for osteoporosis. What struck me immediately was that between years of leathering
desert sun and waaay too little flesh on her sunken face and skeletal frame,
she looked 100. Seriously. I wanted to grab her by her pointy clavicle and
scream, Stand still! You’ll break your
little tiny bones!
said, “you look great!” (If she’d said, “Have you lost weight?” I was prepared
to take her skinny ass down.) I don’t know how great I looked (same weight as
ever) but compared to her I felt like Cindy Crawford. OK, a fat Cindy Crawford.
I didn’t point out that among the advantages of being a little chunky as you
get older are that you’re your own weight bearing exercise. No osteoporosis for
Fortunately, the Thin Police have long since given
up on me. And for this I say “thank you.”
But I do have some advice for people who are tempted
to “help” other people lose weight: