02/07/2012 at 05:20 PM EST
When her photos and videos swept the Internet this week, Iona Sapangenberg quickly got the nickname "Human Hourglass" for her Barbie-like 32-20-32 figure.
The Romanian-born model, 30, who now lives in Germany, insists that her 20-inch waist is due to nature and not a lack of appetite.
"No one seems to believe it, but every day I eat three big meals and I snack on chocolate and crisps all the time," she tells The Sun
newspaper. "I just have a small stomach. It's a bit like having a natural gastric band – if I eat too much, I feel sick."
If anything, she says, she's bigger than she once was – her waist was 15 inches when she was a teenager.
"Someone could put their hands around it, their fingers would touch and they would still have extra room," she says.
It was her husband of five years, Jan, who "was the first person who saw me as beautiful" – and who first posted photos of her online.
Says Spangenberg: "The response was amazing."