Just Because I'm Skinny Doesn't Mean I Have an Eating Disorder

As soon as I saw my friend's eyes welling up with tears, I knew it was serious. We were sitting in a bar, finally having a girls' catch-up night. Lily (not her real name) is one of my best friends. We've known each other since college. "Can I ask you something?" she said. By the look on her face, I knew whatever was coming wasn't going to be, "Wanna get another round?" I told her she could, and then she almost burst out crying before asking, "Are you bulimic?" I nearly spit out my wine. It wasn't the first time I'd heard whispers and rumors that people "wondered" about my weight. But this was the first time it had come from someone who knew me so well. Let me explain ...


I've always been thin. As a kid, I was the same size as everyone. In high school, I was what they then called a size 4. It's now called a size 0. Trust me, the first time I tried on something and saw it labeled "size 0", I almost fell over. When did they come out with that?! How can a size be a zero?! Does that mean I no longer exist?

By the time I was in high school, I was probably skinnier than most, but I still didn't stand out too much. I wanted to be bigger -- I wanted big boobs, big hips, a big ass. But no amount of ice cream eating was bringing them on. By the time I was in my late 20s, I was beginning to gain more weight. Thank the metabolism, I guess, which slows as you get older. However, I didn't like it much. Most of the weight avoided the places I wanted -- and instead went straight to my stomach and face.

So I made a few dietary changes -- goodbye weekly French fries and pizza -- and began, for the first time in my life, to work out regularly. I figured if I didn't start then, by the time I got into my 30s and 40s, I was going to regret it.

Since then I've maintained the exact same weight I was in college. I can still fit into clothes from 20 years ago. I do nothing out of the ordinary other than eat sensibly and work out four times a week. For some people, this wouldn't be enough. For me, it is.

For others, it's a real problem. All around me, my friends are gaining weight rapidly -- and I'm not.

So my friend was suspicious. Combine this with the fact that I have the weakest bladder on the planet and go to the bathroom at least 10 times a day, and that I occasionally say things like, "I'm going to the gym tonight," and, well, I must be bulimic!

My friend wasn't trying to hurt my feelings. She was genuinely concerned. Very concerned. She'd actually been holding this suspicion inside for months and had finally gotten the nerve to ask me. Combine this with the one time that she saw me come out of the bathroom and my lipstick was apparently smeared -- and bulimia worries danced around her brain.

Since my friend thought this, it made me wonder how many other people think it, though, to be honest, I'm beyond the age where I care much what anyone thinks of me.

"Honestly, NO," I told my friend. The idea of ralphing up my meal disgusts me. Not to mention that bulimia leads to things like hair and tooth enamel loss, bad skin tone, and major health problems. HELLS no. I'd rather look chunky than bulimic. No offense to bulimics.

Have we, as a society, really gotten to the point where anyone under 125 pounds is accused of having an eating disorder? Anyway, I won't fault my friend for asking. I appreciate that she cared. But I'm NOT BULIMIC. Next question?

Has anyone ever thought you had a health issue when you don't?


Image via Kiri Blakeley

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