This question comes from a 51 year old reader, who still retains her youthful svelte figure at 5’0″ tall and 98 pounds:
I wanted to ask you, to this day I still get comments about how small I am and sometimes they hint that I must have an eating disorder, which kills me because I hate that people would think this. I have a very healthy appetite and love food and wine. When I’m eating with people sometimes a comment will be made that I don’t eat the same amount as everyone else, but I just get fuller faster because I am so small. My size is usually the first thing a person will comment on when they first meet me. I feel like such a freak sometimes. Do you ever encounter this problem, and how do you handle it?
Yup, I’ve been there. I’ve always felt scrawny, as a child, and even to this day. Having size 00 clothing hang off my frame doesn’t help either. I’ve also worried about how scrawny I look to other people.
I also have a small appetite. I eat small portions at meals, but I eat often during the day. I get ravenous quickly and suddenly without warning, and can get quite cranky if not fed in a timely manner. And, I’m in no way a delicate little petunia when it comes to food. If it’s slathered in butter, send it my way. Soaking in chili? Even better. Smothered in creme? I’ll take it! Double meat please!
And no matter what I eat, I’m still scrawny. And even though I’m totally stuffed on fettuccine alfredo and simply couldn’t take another bite without bursting, I’m still self conscious of the looks from the other table as I dump half my plate in a take home box.
And that’s because I get comments about how thin I am. About how much I don’t eat. I get light-hearted threats to force feed me sticks of butter. And, yes, I’ve been asked if I have an eating disorder.
So why do people make comments? Because most people fail to realize I’m proportionate for my height, and being so tiny opens me up to public interest.
What people often overlook is that I’m 4’11″. I’m really, really short. And on top of being really really short, I’m thin. If you were to take a thin, average sized woman, and shrink her down to 4’11″, keeping all her proportions intact, she’d look an awful lot like me.
Tiny petites can also spark people’s curiosity, and since we happen to be “different”, people feel it’s okay to comment on it. Plus size girls have been complaining about this very thing for ages…complete strangers, or even mild acquaintances feel it’s permissible to comment on size, or health, simply because we’re different from the norm.
Here is a personal anecdote I like to think about:
When I was a child, my mom was concerned about my lack of appetite (which is funny because she was the exact same way when she was a child). She asked my pediatrician if she should worry. His response:
A Volkswagen bug needs less gas than a mack truck…she’s fine…
Can anyone else relate? How do you handle situations like this?