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What to Say When People Tell You You're Too Skinny

Group Therapy: Skinny Girls Get Weight Hate Too

This question comes from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I'm a new grad who has recently started working at a local bookstore. I absolutely love it there — my job is fantastic and my co-workers are wonderful. Lately though, one of my female co-workers has been making some comments about my weight that quite frankly make me feel awkward and uncomfortable. Whenever a customer asks me where the weight-loss section is, my co-worker will say something like, "Oh, don't send her over there; she might try to actually go on one of those diets;" the other day, when I bought a Snickers on my break, the woman said, "Oh, is that yours? Good. Buy five more of them, you're so darn skinny." Added to these incidents are the little remarks like, "Oh, where's [my name]? Look hard for her . . . if you turned her sideways, she'd completely disappear," as well as remarks about my 12+ years of vegetarianism and regular workouts.

I'm 5 foot 5 and weigh about 110 pounds, so I've never considered myself fat, but I don't think I'm so desperately skinny as to be warranting comments like this. I'm a vegetarian because I'm morally opposed to meat; I work out because I consider it part of a healthy lifestyle. I know this might sound like a case of "poor little thin girl," but I'm honestly really embarrassed by my co-worker's comments and feel really awkward and don't know how to react when she says something. My co-worker is somewhat plump and has a few health issues, so I don't know if she considers her words compliments, but either way, I'm tired of being told I'm too thin and am interested about different ways to handle these remarks.

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sierrab sierrab 5 years
I have been on both sides of the weight fence, so I know how you feel AND you are absolutely correct about the weight hate going both ways. Only when it comes to fat folks, it really is more hate and repulsion, and on the skinny side much more to do with envy and jealousy. Of course it all stems from a lookist society that comes down much harder on women. As women we are raised to pay more attention to our looks, so much so that they form a huge part of our identity. I know if I'm not attempting to look ornamental jewelry, makeup, the latest, cutest clothes (to me) I feel like less of a woman. Men are judged by who they are and what they do; how they look is purely incidental. Not for us. How pretty and pleasant we are can determine the quality of our mates, even our job prospects, and unfortunately our weight plays a major role. I confess that I weight hated on skinny women when I was fat and I was disgusted with fat women when I was skinny. People said stupid things to me when I was effortlessly thin in my teens and early twenties. As a teen, my brothers told me that “no man will want you because you’re too bony. Men like women with meat on their bones.” And recently I was pointedly asked by a coworker "Do you eat?" I have also been encouraged to scarf sweets because I "could afford it."As annoying as all these remarks are, I now recognize the envious feelings behind them. Skinny is what nearly everybody wants to be, and those who are not often envy the person who is naturally slender or stays slender through good lifestyle habits.Fat is a different matter. People really actually HATE fat people. They think of them as lazy, gluttonous and morally reprehensible and repulsive. So, what I'm going to say to you is - yes, it sucks to hear those silly jibes from others about being skinny. But suck it up!The fact of the matter is nobody is ever going to deny you a job because of your weight or say truly cruel things about you. Annoying yes, insensitive sure, truly hateful and cruel, no. You're fit and you're healthy. Think up some good comebacks for the dumb comments I'm certain you hear over and over again, put the jealous idiots in their place and go on with the business of being your awesome self. For the record, a good way to handle any jibes is to put the person on the spot by asking them what they mean by what they just said. It’s fun to watch someone who thinks they’re insulting you try to explain precisely why they are doing so. There’s no way to recover without looking like the complete and total jack**. Good luck!
sierrab sierrab 5 years
I have been on both sides of the weight fence, so I know how you feel AND you are absolutely correct about the weight hate going both ways. Only when it comes to fat folks, it really is more hate and repulsion, and on the skinny side much more to do with envy and jealousy. Of course it all stems from a lookist society that comes down much harder on women. As women we are raised to pay more attention to our looks, so much so that they form a huge part of our identity. I know if I'm not attempting to look ornamental jewelry, makeup, the latest, cutest clothes (to me) I feel like less of a woman. Men are judged by who they are and what they do; how they look is purely incidental. Not for us. How pretty and pleasant we are can determine the quality of our mates, even our job prospects, and unfortunately our weight plays a major role. I confess that I weight hated on skinny women when I was fat and I was disgusted with fat women when I was skinny. People said stupid things to me when I was effortlessly thin in my teens and early twenties. As a teen, my brothers told me that “no man will want you because you’re too bony. Men like women with meat on their bones.” And recently I was pointedly asked by a coworker "Do you eat?" I have also been encouraged to scarf sweets because I "could afford it." As annoying as all these remarks are, I now recognize the envious feelings behind them. Skinny is what nearly everybody wants to be, and those who are not often envy the person who is naturally slender or stays slender through good lifestyle habits. Fat is a different matter. People really actually HATE fat people. They think of them as lazy, gluttonous and morally reprehensible and repulsive. So, what I'm going to say to you is - yes, it sucks to hear those silly jibes from others about being skinny. But suck it up! The fact of the matter is nobody is ever going to deny you a job because of your weight or say truly cruel things about you. Annoying yes, insensitive sure, truly hateful and cruel, no. You're fit and you're healthy. Think up some good comebacks for the dumb comments I'm certain you hear over and over again, put the jealous idiots in their place and go on with the business of being your awesome self. For the record, a good way to handle any jibes is to put the person on the spot by asking them what they mean by what they just said. It’s fun to watch someone who thinks they’re insulting you try to explain precisely why they are doing so. There’s no way to recover without looking like the complete and total jack**. Good luck!
prettythingirl prettythingirl 5 years
I can completely relate. Firstly, I want to just say, that I don't care if someone is Vegan or not. That isn't the issue here on this post. I would like to think we all do what we can in our own ways to make this a better world, doing with what resonates with us the most. That being said, I totally agree with what others have said: it would be considered inappropriate , rude, and hurtful for ANYONE to make fat jokes and comments to an overweight person. Some people are overweight because they have health issues, or eating disorders, and it's not their fault, others are overweight because they have unhealthy lifestyles, they eat crap all the time, eat too much, consume too many calories, and never exercise. It's the same with skinny people. Some are thin because they starve themselves, or have health problems, but a lot of thin people are thin simply because they are just born that way, that have high metabolisms, very few fat cells, thin genetics etc... And it's just as rude, hurtful and insulting for people to tell thin people they don't eat, are too thin, etc. It's not a bad thing to be thin, unless you have an eating disorder, or are at a very unhealthy weight due to any medical reason. If it's just the way we naturally are, then it's actually a good thing. We are at a lower risk of a lot of health problems,I am only 5', and just under 100 lbs. I am Healthy, and Thank God for that. You would think that's all people would/should care about, right? WHy is it that most fat people excuse their weight by saying they have a 'thyroid ' problem, their may be some that do, but most people use that as an excuse, and a way to get sympathy and make sure no one comments on their fatness. But for skinny girls? Automatically everyone says.. we either have an eating disorder, or starve ourselves. It's absolutely a double standard. And personally, I think everyone should leave everyone else alone, and not insult each other, or say hurtful things, or make insinuations etc. All we should care about it people being healthy and happy, and mostly, happy with themselves.I have had comments my ENTIRE life, ( and I'm now 41) about my weight. I got it from all the girls in school ( because they were jealous, because they boys all loved me) I got it in all my workplaces, again, from women, never men. And not all women, just ones not as thin as me, or overweight, or who had body issues, or were unhappy with themselves. I have always been thin, and not because I don't wat, because i sure do! I LOVE my food! I didn't always eat super healthy, in fact, until about 5 years ago, i kinda ate like crap, fast food, snacks, candy, chocolate, etc.. I was always on the go and working, so i grabbed whatever I could to eat, and didn't care what it was, and still... i never gained weight! I have a super high metabolism, and my father , to this day, at age 72, is still stick thin. I obviously get it from him! But I like how I look, I always have. I am a beautiful girl, and I have a beautiful body. I'm very well proportioned, I have a nice butt, nice boobs, and I even have hips, because I have a tiny wasit! I love how I look, and so did all the men in my life, and now my husband,which is why it was always so frustrating to hear the comments. In the last 5 years, I have started really changing my lifestyle. I eat much healthier. I drink high calorie and high protein shakes in the morning, protein bars as a snack with 30G of protein and 400 calores. I eat meat, carbs, veggies, fruit, and I don't eat any junk food any more ( except the occasional chocolate during my lady's days!) I have also started becoming more phusically active. I do yoga, Tai Chi, Cardio and weight training. Not because I'm a fitness addict, but because it's good for me, and I want to stay tones, in shape, strong and healthy. The tai Chi and Yoga relax me and keep me very flexible. These are all good things... but because i have a high metabolism, and work, and also work out, It is impossible to gain weight, no matter how much I eat.I think what bother's me the most, are my in-laws. Ever since I came into the family 6 years ago, they have been non stop every time i see them with the "skinny" comments. I feel like i am constantly under scrutiny with them. As soon as they walk in the door, my mother in law ( who is a skeleton) calls my skinny ( at least I look healthy and have curves) and then my father in law, without a doubt, will every single time, ask me " have you lost weight? you look thinner" I could not see them for a year, and he's say the same thing. I could have seen him a month ago, and he'll say the same thing. i constantly have to say "No, I weight the same thing i ddi 3 days ago, 3 months ago, 3 years ago" It is riduculous. If I ever look different, it may be because I look more tones, but not thinner or skinnier. It is VERY annoying. I find that when i first came into the family, it made me very sad, and I wouldn't ever respond, now i actually stick up for myself, and when my mother in law says "hi skinny" I say "thank you!" and when my father in law asks if I've lost weight, instead of saying nothing and feeling badly about myself or self conscience, I come right back with a firm and strong " NO.. I haven't. I weight the same as always" We have even had conversations about my weight, and I have once or twice explained to them that I have a super high metabolism, that I have always been this way, that it's normal and natural for me, it runs in my family, that I am healthy and my doctor is happy with my health, that i am very physically active, and eat very well, (they have even SEEN me eat the way I do!) and to please stop saying things,Yet... still, every time they see me, I hear the same comments, like they never heard a word I said. Just once, it would be nice, if when they saw me, if I could hear " Hi! You look good!" But I know that will never happen. At this point, I wonder if they aren't doing it on purpose. I think what bugs me, is knowing I eat well, very well,and balanced healthy food and meals. I get lots of protein and calories as well as carbs and yes, even some fat! I am physically active, and they are all things good for me and my health. It's also why I all during my life, I have won every beauty pageant I have ever entered, and have 14 crowns in total now, have done modeling, and am currently a poster and calendar spokesmodel for a famous guitar company,and why everyone thinks I'm in my 20's when I'm 41. So, I guess this is my long, roundabout story about my situaiton, and way of saying... there are just some really ignorant, rude, thoughtless people in this world, who like to get on peoples nerves, and get them upset to see their reaction. There are a lot of people unhappy with their own bodies, or are overweight, and are just plaing jealous so they make snarky snide caddy comments. And then their are the senile in-laws. LOL. As long as you are healthy, and enjoying your lifestyle, and feel good about yourself, it doesn't matter one iota of what anyone else thinks. SO next time a co-worker or someone else makes a snide comment about your weight, and being so thin, just say " thank you! isn't it great that I feel as good as I look!" then go back to what you were doing. That will shut them up. Good Luck!! :-)
prettythingirl prettythingirl 5 years
I can completely relate. Firstly, I want to just say, that I don't care if someone is Vegan or not. That isn't the issue here on this post. I would like to think we all do what we can in our own ways to make this a better world, doing with what resonates with us the most. That being said, I totally agree with what others have said: it would be considered inappropriate , rude, and hurtful for ANYONE to make fat jokes and comments to an overweight person. Some people are overweight because they have health issues, or eating disorders, and it's not their fault, others are overweight because they have unhealthy lifestyles, they eat crap all the time, eat too much, consume too many calories, and never exercise. It's the same with skinny people. Some are thin because they starve themselves, or have health problems, but a lot of thin people are thin simply because they are just born that way, that have high metabolisms, very few fat cells, thin genetics etc... And it's just as rude, hurtful and insulting for people to tell thin people they don't eat, are too thin, etc. It's not a bad thing to be thin, unless you have an eating disorder, or are at a very unhealthy weight due to any medical reason. If it's just the way we naturally are, then it's actually a good thing. We are at a lower risk of a lot of health problems, I am only 5', and just under 100 lbs. I am Healthy, and Thank God for that. You would think that's all people would/should care about, right? WHy is it that most fat people excuse their weight by saying they have a 'thyroid ' problem, their may be some that do, but most people use that as an excuse, and a way to get sympathy and make sure no one comments on their fatness. But for skinny girls? Automatically everyone says.. we either have an eating disorder, or starve ourselves. It's absolutely a double standard. And personally, I think everyone should leave everyone else alone, and not insult each other, or say hurtful things, or make insinuations etc. All we should care about it people being healthy and happy, and mostly, happy with themselves. I have had comments my ENTIRE life, ( and I'm now 41) about my weight. I got it from all the girls in school ( because they were jealous, because they boys all loved me) I got it in all my workplaces, again, from women, never men. And not all women, just ones not as thin as me, or overweight, or who had body issues, or were unhappy with themselves. I have always been thin, and not because I don't wat, because i sure do! I LOVE my food! I didn't always eat super healthy, in fact, until about 5 years ago, i kinda ate like crap, fast food, snacks, candy, chocolate, etc.. I was always on the go and working, so i grabbed whatever I could to eat, and didn't care what it was, and still... i never gained weight! I have a super high metabolism, and my father , to this day, at age 72, is still stick thin. I obviously get it from him! But I like how I look, I always have. I am a beautiful girl, and I have a beautiful body. I'm very well proportioned, I have a nice butt, nice boobs, and I even have hips, because I have a tiny wasit! I love how I look, and so did all the men in my life, and now my husband,which is why it was always so frustrating to hear the comments. In the last 5 years, I have started really changing my lifestyle. I eat much healthier. I drink high calorie and high protein shakes in the morning, protein bars as a snack with 30G of protein and 400 calores. I eat meat, carbs, veggies, fruit, and I don't eat any junk food any more ( except the occasional chocolate during my lady's days!) I have also started becoming more phusically active. I do yoga, Tai Chi, Cardio and weight training. Not because I'm a fitness addict, but because it's good for me, and I want to stay tones, in shape, strong and healthy. The tai Chi and Yoga relax me and keep me very flexible. These are all good things... but because i have a high metabolism, and work, and also work out, It is impossible to gain weight, no matter how much I eat. I think what bother's me the most, are my in-laws. Ever since I came into the family 6 years ago, they have been non stop every time i see them with the "skinny" comments. I feel like i am constantly under scrutiny with them. As soon as they walk in the door, my mother in law ( who is a skeleton) calls my skinny ( at least I look healthy and have curves) and then my father in law, without a doubt, will every single time, ask me " have you lost weight? you look thinner" I could not see them for a year, and he's say the same thing. I could have seen him a month ago, and he'll say the same thing. i constantly have to say "No, I weight the same thing i ddi 3 days ago, 3 months ago, 3 years ago" It is riduculous. If I ever look different, it may be because I look more tones, but not thinner or skinnier. It is VERY annoying. I find that when i first came into the family, it made me very sad, and I wouldn't ever respond, now i actually stick up for myself, and when my mother in law says "hi skinny" I say "thank you!" and when my father in law asks if I've lost weight, instead of saying nothing and feeling badly about myself or self conscience, I come right back with a firm and strong " NO.. I haven't. I weight the same as always" We have even had conversations about my weight, and I have once or twice explained to them that I have a super high metabolism, that I have always been this way, that it's normal and natural for me, it runs in my family, that I am healthy and my doctor is happy with my health, that i am very physically active, and eat very well, (they have even SEEN me eat the way I do!) and to please stop saying things,Yet... still, every time they see me, I hear the same comments, like they never heard a word I said. Just once, it would be nice, if when they saw me, if I could hear " Hi! You look good!" But I know that will never happen. At this point, I wonder if they aren't doing it on purpose. I think what bugs me, is knowing I eat well, very well,and balanced healthy food and meals. I get lots of protein and calories as well as carbs and yes, even some fat! I am physically active, and they are all things good for me and my health. It's also why I all during my life, I have won every beauty pageant I have ever entered, and have 14 crowns in total now, have done modeling, and am currently a poster and calendar spokesmodel for a famous guitar company,and why everyone thinks I'm in my 20's when I'm 41. So, I guess this is my long, roundabout story about my situaiton, and way of saying... there are just some really ignorant, rude, thoughtless people in this world, who like to get on peoples nerves, and get them upset to see their reaction. There are a lot of people unhappy with their own bodies, or are overweight, and are just plaing jealous so they make snarky snide caddy comments. And then their are the senile in-laws. LOL. As long as you are healthy, and enjoying your lifestyle, and feel good about yourself, it doesn't matter one iota of what anyone else thinks. SO next time a co-worker or someone else makes a snide comment about your weight, and being so thin, just say " thank you! isn't it great that I feel as good as I look!" then go back to what you were doing. That will shut them up. Good Luck!! :-)
allycatsmom allycatsmom 6 years
Honestly, I just say thankyou. I get that crap too, and it is usually their insecurities. It's a jealous way of saying your thin without being to mean about it. I have a sister with an obesity problem, and a friend who is much larger. I had kids, so I selfishly talk about how fat I look forgetting about them. When she tells you your too thin and eat a steak, its bitterness. She is insecure, and making her feel bad wouldnt help. I would just say thankyou next time she tells you to eat a donut your thin :)
KatieGeorge KatieGeorge 6 years
I agree and I think she's creating a hostile work environment. If you made comments about her being overweight, I'm sure that would be considered harassment. I am 5 ft 2 and weigh 105. I'm healthy. It's just that the size of the average American has become so much larger. I think I look great, but people ask me all the time if I'm aneorexic! I'm a normal size and weight, yet I can't even find clothes to fit me! I often have to shop in the Juniors or even children's department because they are making clothes larger now because everyone else is getting so big. Sorry that I find fast food disgusting and would rather eat fresh fruits and veggies. When people make rude comments to me I say, I eat all the time, I'm sure it will catch up with me when I'm older and my metabolism slows down. That usually soothes their jealousy and insecurities.
soulsearcher83 soulsearcher83 6 years
It's jealousy. I agree with trinity by offering her your tips for a healthy lifestyle. Do it everytime she says something. I'm far from thin but I dont' put down others that are thin. I'll admit that I do envy them. I'm currently trying to lose a lot of weight. So I get the other end of the spectrum. Fat jokes from guys, being ignored, etc. I hope whatever you do works out for you.
WideEyes WideEyes 6 years
usually the girls who say that are actually envying you deep inside, and they use those type of teasing to excuse their weight or their problems (sometimes psycologycal issues). Its not your fault youre skinny, all sorts of people come in different sizes and of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Speak up, its not fair for her to tease you that way if its unconfortable, and let her know too, because she probably thinks you dont mind
WideEyes WideEyes 6 years
usually the girls who say that are actually envying you deep inside, and they use those type of teasing to excuse their weight or their problems (sometimes psycologycal issues). Its not your fault youre skinny, all sorts of people come in different sizes and of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Speak up, its not fair for her to tease you that way if its unconfortable, and let her know too, because she probably thinks you dont mind
HollyJRockNRoll HollyJRockNRoll 6 years
She's a hater. Just say to her to stop talking about your weight. If she gets defensive, blow her off. She's the one with the problem. Jealousy-that's all it is.
vivaladun vivaladun 6 years
I completely understand.. I am 5'4, 98lbs. I eat just like everyone else, but I stay small because it's in my genes. You need to tell her to stop talking to you in that way. It is rude and hurtful. I wish people would stop acting mindless and realize some people are NATURALLY thin.
cherryk cherryk 6 years
Like you OP, I am also thin (5'5 and 110 lbs as well!). I am subjected to these types of comments everywhere: work, school, and even when I meet strangers I get comments on my body. I disagree with some of the posters here who say to shrug it off and not make a huge deal about it, because it is just rude! For example, switch that sentence around: "Oh, is that yours? Good. Buy five more of them, you're so darn skinny," to "Oh, is that yours? Don't buy it, you're too fat." No one wants to hear that kind of talk, so why should we? I have no problem reminding people that comments on my body are uncalled for. Tell that person that you are healthy and you eat well and that she needs to stop with the comments. And be serious about it.
katialoves katialoves 6 years
no worker should make comments and jokes about their coworker's appearance or health unless they are already friends and know its alright (and those cases are rare.) and they certainly should not do so in front of clientele. would this happen in front of you if you were a customer in a fancy store? would you see an customer service associate make a joke about/to his/her coworker regarding body size? absolutely not because its completely unprofessional to do so. either just go to your boss or explain to her nicely(but not jokingly) first as others suggested. or next time she says something in front of a customer, retort: hahaha. my health is not a joke, (her name here.) and do that a few times and see if she gets the messageor if you do talk to your boss, just say that unwanted comments and jokes about anyones lifestyle or body are not part of a happy/safe work environment. dont say, 'i know i am skinny and other people might be jealous,' or 'i'm a vegetarian for moral reasons,' that info is not necessary or work-related, the only problem is that she is being inappropriate and unprofessional.
katialoves katialoves 6 years
no worker should make comments and jokes about their coworker's appearance or health unless they are already friends and know its alright (and those cases are rare.) and they certainly should not do so in front of clientele. would this happen in front of you if you were a customer in a fancy store? would you see an customer service associate make a joke about/to his/her coworker regarding body size? absolutely not because its completely unprofessional to do so. either just go to your boss or explain to her nicely(but not jokingly) first as others suggested. or next time she says something in front of a customer, retort: hahaha. my health is not a joke, (her name here.) and do that a few times and see if she gets the message or if you do talk to your boss, just say that unwanted comments and jokes about anyones lifestyle or body are not part of a happy/safe work environment. dont say, 'i know i am skinny and other people might be jealous,' or 'i'm a vegetarian for moral reasons,' that info is not necessary or work-related, the only problem is that she is being inappropriate and unprofessional.
ayuninur ayuninur 6 years
I totally know what you mean. I get called anorexic all the time, even though I eat just as much as everyone else. People used to think that being skinny was good. Then, the chubby people complained about it and suddenly, it became wrong to be skinny. And if you were on the skinny side, you instantly become an anorexic who puts down others. Society is completely screwed up and judgemental. No matter what your body type, you are beautiful on your own. Nobody needs to make that judgement about you.
ayuninur ayuninur 6 years
I totally know what you mean. I get called anorexic all the time, even though I eat just as much as everyone else. People used to think that being skinny was good. Then, the chubby people complained about it and suddenly, it became wrong to be skinny. And if you were on the skinny side, you instantly become an anorexic who puts down others. Society is completely screwed up and judgemental. No matter what your body type, you are beautiful on your own. Nobody needs to make that judgement about you.
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