Friday, 28 August 2009

Confessions of an Underweight Girl

Scientifically, I'd be classed as underweight: my BMI is about 16. I don't look it and it doesn't really look unhealthy. I'm just naturally petite and thin.
Sometimes I do feel like I need to put on some weight. And then I see girls starving themselves and going to ridiculous lengths to get to this weight, and being thin.

But being this thin isn't all that and has a darker side.

I'm naturally really small. This means that I also have a small head. I can't wear large sunglasses. I love the look of them but because my face is so small, when I do wear them, they cover me whole face and I look weird. I also can't follow trends like high waisted trousers (they don't stay high) or slouchy hats. And headphones on planes do fall off my head (thanks Leia for reminding me).

Easier to get injured: I have next to no fat on my body. That means when I do fall or hurt myself, I have nothing to 'cushion' the fall with. I bruise very very easily, and I always have at least one bruise on my body at all times from small knocks.

Jewellery doesn't fit:
I have actually stopped wearing rings because they keep falling off and I keep losing them. Same with bracelets. I'll have it fastened as small as it gets and it still manages to make i
ts way down to my knuckles. With jewellery so big on me, theres no point wearing that much. This makes accessorising so much harder.

Clothes don't fit: I have the same problem with clothes that I do with jewellery. It's so hard to find clothes in my size. I'm a UK size 6-8, and most of the clothes in shops usually don't go below a UK size 10.

No boobs: I have very small 'assets', and because of this people do think I'm 15. In fact, I swear they're getting smaller with time *sigh*. But yeah, being 21 and flat chested is no fun.

Knobbly knees: I don't really have this problem, but others have really complained about this. They say that because thir legs are so small, they can't wear short skirts, dresses or shorts. I think if I was even a little bit thinner, I would be in this category as well.

Picture from here.

You still won't be happy with your weight: I still look in the mirror and think 'I look really fat'. It's weird, but I don't think anyone will ever be 100% content with their weight. It's one of those crazy things. We'll work hard to achieve a certain weight, and when we get there, we still feel fat and not like what's in the mirror.

Other people: I get really annoying looks from other people and they say things like 'why are you so thin? Are you ill? Are you sure you're not ill: you look it, you should really put on some weight!' People saying things like that makes me really self conscious and makes me feel so weird for being the way I am. Yes, I'm thin, but it's not really in an unhealthy way, so when people say things like that, it can be really upsetting.

Sherin xx


Anna Jane said...

Brilliant post. I could relate with every last one of those points. I have a B.I. of 17 (the same as Kate Moss apparently) but I'm certainly not happy with it! I try and eat as much junk food/chocolate as I possibly can but it's not very effective. :( I do find living at university helps ironically though!
However, despite all the disadvantages that you mentioned, there are ways to work around them. For example, you could wear stretchy bangles instead of loose ones so they don't fall off, child sunglasses instead of adult ones (and believe me, you can find some trendyyy kiddy sunglasses!) As for the rude comments, theres little you can do about it, but at least you know in your head that your weight is genetic, not part of a disorder.


knalleffekt said...

oh my good. they are too skinny. that is very sad.

monkeytoes said...

look at those photoshopped mags.., media takes big role in setting skinny as beauty standard.. and they should take the blame as well..

Claire said...

Great post - it's so worth remembering that not everyone is the same and that not everyone gains weight really easily!!! It's worse when people deliberately starve themselves to get to a lower BMI, as dangerous as it would be for you guys to try to get to a much higher BMI!!

Whilst it's not something I've experienced that much, certainly when I did have to try to gain weight after losing a bit through illness, it was harder than expected!!

Well worth putting up online. A friend of mine definitely struggles with the same sort of thing.

Also, even girls with a "normal" BMI are flat-chested too (*cough*)!!

Claire said...

OH and also, being naturally petite doesn't give you licence to eat whatever you want!! I read this articler on the Guardian a few weeks ago and thought you'd be interested (I maybe mentioned it when we met up?)

nettychan said...

That's a wonderful post! So many people today are obsessed with being thin and while it may be the 'fashionable' thing at the moment it's nice to know that no matter what your size there are always problems.

FabBlab said...

I will admit: I promptly checked my BMI out- it's 19!
And I agree, there are so many people obsessing day and night about how fat they're getting but nobody really pays attention to those attempting to cope with being too skinny.
Fab post, darling! XO

Smelly Cat said...

the most important thing is that you're healthy, people just like to be judgmental without knowing anything about the person.

Thanks for stopping by my blog :]

Little Red said...

This is really a great post. It's something I can kind of relate to. And I think it's important that people realize that even girls who are skinny have issues with their body as well, not just girls who are bigger.

I'm only 5'2 and a size zero. I'm naturally thin. It seems to run on my mom's side of the family. I've always been able to eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight. However, my BMI is classified as normal for someone of my age and body type. Although, according to my Wii Fit, I'm only a little above the underweight category.

I've had comments of... "You're too thin." "Are you losing weight?" "You need to eat something." So, I can relate. I know it can be upsetting for a person of any size to receive negative comments regarding their weight. Fortunately, I've only heard those comments a handful of times. But it's hard to have people think you have an eating disorder just because you're skinny.

I am the same way with bruises. Just slightly bumping into something can cause a bruise. It can really be a pain to find jeans that fit just right. Although, I do have some boobs and I don't have the issue with my knees or my head size.

And despite the fact that I may have difficulty with my size, and sometimes a person might make a comment, I actually am happy with my weight. I'm healthy. I like being my short and tiny self. That's all that matters.

Everyone should learn to love their body. Be happy with who you are. Ignore the negative comments. As long as you're healthy and happy, that is what's important.

Wow, that was long! Haha.

Neira said...

im definitely not in the underweight category, but i can agree on every woman is never going to be happy about their weight, its what makes us WOMEN unfortunately, but you are beautiful! and I hope you can see that!

ana said...

You are absolutely right Sherin! thank you very much for this post! It's great

Jennifer Fabulous said...

I must say, you are lucky to be so naturally thin, but yeah, I do not envy the downsides...
I know how you feel about looking young. It's so annoying. I'm 25 and get mistaken for 15 every single day, even in my work clothes. So embarrassing. :S

Cafe Fashionista said...

People watch what I eat, make comments when I don't feel like going out to eat with's frustrating. I'm thin, so what? I believe that eating disorders are a pandemic in the world right now. At the same time, it is not for other people to judge and critique. The only person who can help in these situations is the person afflicted with the problem.

Wonderful post, Sherin! :)

Couture Carrie said...

Thank you for this glimpse into your struggles, S. Very brave and beautiful post!


Kait said...

As long as you are healthy that's all that matters. I understand why very thin people are offendended and not flattered by the "you are too skinny" comments. I have a friend who is really thin and she feels self conscious because she looks so much younger and wishes she had curves and looked more womanly. It's so true that we are all insecure sometimes no matter what our weight. It's because a positive body image starts in your mind. Even if you were at your goal weight if you never changed the way you THOUGHT about yourself nothing would change.

Maria Confer said...

All through my younger years and into my late teens I was very thin. It mostly had to do with the fact that I was short and also that I played lots of sports. But people were always very cruel calling me names and making fun of my thinness or just hating me because I wasn't heavier. Now that I'm older and have more weight on me, I don't get those comments anymore, but I do remember quite vividly how bad they hurt.

Just remember to love yourself for who you are and take good care of yourself. That's all that matters.

caroLove said...

What a great post. I was reminded of Audrina form The Hills, she mentioned that when she was young, she was forced to drink milk to slow down her metabolism, well I am not too clear on the facts, but she too was just naturally tiny and that brought concerns to her family and doctor.

Its a lot to deal with when people are constantly judging or making assumptions about you, but you have to be content and happy with yourself.

xoxo anna

clarewbrown said...

I am def. in the underweight category. While I mostly pretty pleased with my body... I can NEVER get used to my wretched bird legs! Lawd, boots don't fit, leggings are baggy, skinny jeans look like boyfriend jeans. It's quite a shame!

Luinae said...

This is a really great post! I eat healthy, am a competative dancer, and do other kinds of exercise. I have a chocolate bar every now and then, but I do it pretty healthy.

My BMI is about 16.5, and I am 14 years old. I look quite thin and I feel your pain on the clothing thing! I am a UK 4-6 on top and 6-8 on the bottom, but with hips and a chest so I can't buy children's clothes.

And everyone going "OMG, you're so thin?!?!? Do you have an eating disorder?" I hate this because it detracts attention from the people who really have eating disorders and need help.

nicola ticola ponders said...

wow, that's crazy, I can't believe people say that to you, imagine saying to someone 'why are you so fat? You really should lose a few pounds' it's the same thing! How vulgar.

I never thought of the downsides of being thin - I honestly hadn't thought there were any!! I'm a UK size 10, which isn't overweight, but very short and dying to lose a little bit of weight, and have always envied naturally thin girls like you...but you're right, I doubt anyone will ever be completely content with their weight. And being my shape and size does have it's advantages too!

Thanks for this :-)

nicola xx

Jackie said...

I relate to this post! I'm a petite gal who barely fits into my 32A bra. I get mistaken for a 12 year old, and I get told I'm too skinny. And the fashion trends I appreciate I can't exactly follow because they're not suited for my body type.

But, to be honest, all of that is trivial when compared to the discrimination overweight women face daily.

Cheryl said...

I'm 5 ft. tall and it looks like I'm gaining weight every day,age and metabolism problem,hehe! So while you're still young celebrate what you've got and flaunt it.Flat tummy and lean torso.;)

At least you can eat what you like and have a full meal always without worrying that you'll gain weight the next day. :)

selinaoolala said...

aww great post! it annoys me that people say models are bad role models and have eating disorders, is it hard to believe that people can be naturally slim?!

cathi said...

Great post!

Amy said...

Welcome to my world. I'm seveteen, and can pass for eleven. Good times!

Claire said...

I can relate to several aspects of this post, but I have to say that I think it's the opposite of helpful to say "even I feel fat sometimes!". That's just reinforcing the "fat = bad" viewpoint and that doesn't help anyone. It just makes people who *aren't* thin even less inclined to be sympathetic to the clothing or body image troubles of those of us who *are*. Sure, say "sometimes I feel unattractive".. but saying that you feel 'fat' is honestly just self-indulgent.

You AREN'T fat. Stating that you perceive yourself to be is allowing social conditioning to take over, and actively offensive who have troubles relating to the amount of fat that the DO have.

I know it's tricky to get over. but even if you can't stop yourself from *thinking* "I look/feel fat", you can at least refrain from *saying* it on a public forum.

I beg pardon for coming to your space and shouting you down.

Claire said...

*offensive TO THOSE who have troubles etc etc


Anonymous said...

My BMI is 24.5 yet most of the things you talked about apply to me to, they're nothing to do with your weight.

"Easier to get injured". I also have multiple bruises all the time and usually have no idea what caused them. It's nothing to do with "cushioning" as you put it, fat people get bruises too (and no, I'm not anaemic).

"Jewellery doesn't fit". I also find that ladies' rings and bracelets fall off and can only wear a child's watch. This isn't a weight thing because someone has to gain quite a lot of weight before it makes a significant difference to their wrists & fingers.

"Clothes don't fit". I don't know where you shop but it seems like whenever I browse the sale racks, they consist almost entirely of clothes that are below size 10 or above size 16 because these are the least commonly worn sizes.

"No boobs". Honey, at least you're in proportion. Despite being borderline overweight, I'm so small that my bra size doesn't exist. Nowhere stocks 38A bras, it's so depressing.

"People do think I'm 15". I'm also 21 and got IDd for buying paracetamol so clearly fat 21 year olds can look 15 too.

But even though I can relate to all these things about you, like Claire I was pretty upset by the bit where you say you think you look fat. If you're fat, what does that make me? A depressed elephant, it seems.

Anonymous said...

Sherin, well done for being so open. I never knew you felt that way about your weight. 'Tis true, we are never happy at what we are! B (you know who) xXx

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I'm 22 with 2 kids and everyone loves to comment about them being as big as me & all the lovely people assuming the worst like Im 12

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