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by Abigail Van Buren

Man of Her Dreams Needs Wake Up Call on Manners

DEAR ABBY: I am 13, 5 feet 3, and weigh 90 pounds. I just started high school. My parents think I'm starving myself. They call me "disgusting," "horrifying," and my personal favorite -- "ugly." My brother calls me "Skinny Bones Jones."

I do not starve myself, nor am I anorexic or bulimic. I just happen to get full from small portions rather quickly -- or I may not be hungry at the moment. At night I do some quick exercises and yoga positions so I won't feel bloated from meals. Some of my friends have said they think I have become anorexic.

Because of all this my self-esteem is at an all-time low. I used to weigh more than 100 pounds, but recently I got the stomach flu, which explains my sudden weight loss and fullness. Am I wrong in thinking I'm healthy? Are my family and friends right that I'm anorexic? Please help. -- 90-POUND GIRL IN FULLERTON, CALIF.

DEAR 90-POUND GIRL: When "everyone" starts telling us something we don't want to hear, it may be time to pay attention. One sentence in your letter tells me that you may have an eating disorder -- it's your comment about needing to exercise after eating because you feel bloated.

You should be evaluated by a nurse at school, if there is one, or by a physician to be sure you're getting enough nutrients to remain healthy, that you're not overdoing the exercise, and if there could be a physical problem causing the feeling you're interpreting as "bloat."

Please share what I have said with your parents because it's important. Name-calling and ridicule are not the answer to a problem like the one you may have.