Friday, November 16, 2012

Size Minus Zero

Sometime back, one of the top heroines from Bollywood, had slimmed and had shed much weight. When press reporters asked her about this, she had told them that she wants to achieve size Zero, which is one of the smallest woman's clothing size in the US catalogue sizes system. This size and an even lower size called size Zero Zero, were thought off, as clothing sizes have changed over time. (Also called as vanity sizing or size inflation.) Because of which, lower numbers were assigned instead of the previous higher numbers for the same size. Size zero often refers to extremely thin individuals (especially women), or trends associated with them, even though it is simply the proper size for many shorter, healthy-weight women.

Singaporeans of Chinese origins have usually very thin body structures. Size Zero or size Zero Zero, is not very unusual for Singapore women. I was therefore quite amazed the other day to read about some figures by Singapore media regarding health of Singaporeans. According to these figures, 11.3% of Singapore population is obese and this happens to be the most worrying aspect for the Government. Actually this figure is much lower than the US figure, where 31% of the population can be considered as obese. In India 17% of the people can be included in this category. From all these numbers, one thing is sure, that obesity has become one of the major concerns of the modern world and particularly modern women.

With this kind of background, if I tell you that being underweight is the biggest problem faced by some people, not many may believe it. It could be an issue for infants, babies or kids, but for grown ups! Being underweight just can not be an issue of worry. Yet for a 22 year old US women residing in Austin, Texas, this is the most serious issue of her health, say her doctors.

Lizzie Velasquez is 22 years old, 5 feet 2 inch tall and weighs just 28 Kg or 62 Pounds. The latest method to judge whether any person is obese or not, is to find out that person's Body mass Index or BMI. For normal people this BMI is between 20 and 23. If it is above 23, the person is considered to be over weight and if below 16, the person is severely under weight and his condition is considered as very serious. For Lizzie, her BMI is only 10.9. She sure has a size of minus Zero

Many readers may think that this thinnest woman probably does not eat at all except biting her nails. However nothing can be further from truth. Her diet probably would put even an obese person to shame. For breakfast, she usually has cornflakes and Burritos. After few hours, she eats again fried chicken, chips and Pizza. With any of the dishes, she prefers to have lots of molten cheese. By lunch time, she has to intake at least 4000 Calories. She keeps on eating throughout the day. By dinnertime, she has already taken in 8000 Calories. Any one would think after knowing that Lizzie eats so much, that she must be a super giant of a person. But everyone who sees her, can not even believe, what they see with their own eyes. Even totally unknown people, after seeing this “thin like a stick” girl wearing thick glasses on her eyes, go and visit Lizzie's house and inquire with her mother as to why she does not properly feed her child.

Lizzie has 0% fat on her body. Even the body builders have at least 6 to 8% fat on their bodies. She neither has enough muscles on her body. Weight of muscles on her body is minimal. After looking at her, it appears as if she has only her skin stretched and fitted on the skeleton. However Lizzie is neither disabled or sick. She carries out all her daily tasks normally. Her Doctor says that as long she is eating properly, there is nothing to fear as there is no risk to her life.

At the time of her birth, Lizzie was just 16 inches long and weighed only 1.19 Kg or 2 Pounds and 10 Ounces. She was so tiny that her mother used to keep her in a shoe box. Doctors never had any hope for her survival. Her arteries were clearly visible below her skin and she had no fat on her body. Her head used to look like that of a doll. Lizzie still survived, against prophecy of all Doctors, because her lungs, heart and liver were performing normally and still continue to do so.

Doctors had told Lizzie's mother that she would be never able to walk. After she was four, Doctors found out that her one eye was totally blind and the other eye had very limited vision. Even then, Lizzie took her first steps, started walking and even talking normally. Her brain growth is absolutely normal. She has grown to a height which is more or less average height of the girls of her Mexican race. The one and only difficulty faced by Lizzie is that her weight does not increase.

Once her mother sent her to a Gymnasium. While taking exercise, she sweated so much that she had to stop the exercise because of the fear of dehydration. If she does not eat after short intervals, she feels terribly tired. She is at such an age, that like other girls of her age, she likes to break the rules. She likes Sodas and junk food and does not want to touch salad and fruits. Even though she has no problems of weight gain, she still has the risk of high blood sugar. She does not like snacking but feels terribly hungry even after a short interval and is unable to control pangs of hunger. Sometimes she gets bored with this feeling of hunger that comes every couple of hours and does not want to eat. But then she gets very tired and has to lie down. Her Doctors and her mother always see that she keeps eating at required time intervals. She can not bear with cold weather and feels immediately affected. The weather in her home town remains fairly warm in most part of the year and for her this warm weather is really beneficial.

Many experts have tried to find out the defects in her genes that are causing problems for her. No one has been able to find anything wrong with her even with many tests conducted in many laboratories. Lizzie herself is not very optimistic about finding the main cause of her ailment. However she does not feel sad or anything similar about her conditions. She behaves exactly like other girls of her age do

One thing can be said with certainty, as long as Lizzie is leading a normal life, she could be considered as a living wonder without least doubt.

16 November 2012


  1. Her condition seems akin to one that Shubhanan had, no body fat irrespective of how much or what he ate, had to eat often at short intervals since he was always hungry...

  2. Jitendra

    What you say is true. Thanks for the comment.