It’s no secret that Japanese women have youthful, radiant complexions and slim figures. So I suppose the question becomes: what are their secrets?
After digging into this question, it became apparent that there are an abundance of healthy lifestyle habits adopted in Japanese culture that we should all consider, not only for appearances but also for longevity.
Our American way of life has become increasingly centered around meals on the go, excessive portion sizes, and sedentary lifestyles. Mix all of these together and you've got a recipe for the perfect concoction of health problems. As a result, we then cycle into feelings of guilt that lead to long hours at the gym and depriving ourselves of joyful experiences with food, which, let’s be honest, is mentally unhealthy (and exhausting).
The truth is that none of it is necessary. Simple alterations to your current lifestyle could make all the difference and release the need for “damage control.” Health, after all, isn’t a finish line, it's a way of life.
So what key lessons can we learn from Japanese women to transform our lives for the better and find more fulfillment?
Slow Your Eating Pace
Chopsticks are more than just fun hair accessories or complicated utensils that make for funny first-date stories. They actually help control the tempo of your bites. While Americans have a bad habit of shoveling spoonfuls of food into their mouths at once, Japanese women pace themselves with the help of chopsticks. This eating style is easier on your digestive system and also leaves enough time for your mind to catch up with your stomach and determine when you’re full.
In the age of the Big Mac, it seems like portion sizes have become increasingly larger and larger. Quantity over quality is the name of the game. Oftentimes, this leads to unnecessarily stuffing ourselves beyond the point of full, leading to weight gain. In Japanese culture, they avoid this by creating the illusion of bigger portions. They’ll place their food on smaller plates and also use many serving dishes at one meal. Presentation is an important part of Japanese dining. These simple mind tricks will have you believing there’s more than enough food, when in reality, there’s the perfect amount for one sitting.
The Japanese create the illusion of bigger portions by using smaller plates and many serving dishes.
It’s considered rude to eat on the go in Japanese culture, whereas we’ve likely all been guilty of downing a breakfast sandwich on the road at one point or another in America. That’s why you’ll rarely see a Japanese woman eating on the subway or walking with a pastry in her hand. Just like portion control and a slower pace of meals, making it a priority to eat mindfully will support your digestion and also prevent boredom or emotional binge eating.
More Sushi Please!
Okay, who doesn’t love a good sushi platter? Turns out this culinary masterpiece is also a super fat burner. How? Sushi is essentially just “vinegar rice” which is an acetic food. Vinegar, in particular, is known to supply numerous health benefits like healthy digestion, lower cholesterol, improved skin health, and increased immunity. Not like you needed another reason to schedule a weekly sushi date, right?
Fresh Seafood over Processed Meat
Processed meat, an American staple, is closely linked to several health complications like obesity, high cholesterol, and inflammatory diseases. While Americans gravitate toward processed meat from the grocery store, Japanese cuisine often places a high importance on fresh seafood. Seafood is fantastic because it’s enriched with high-quality protein, essential nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids.
That Green Tea Glow
Green tea is a staple in the standard Japanese diet. In fact, it’s readily available from street vending machines in Japan which preheat cans for consumers. While we’re a culture that “Runs on Dunkin’,” maybe it’s time to consider swapping out our daily coffee ritual in favor of green tea instead.
Green tea improves brain functioning, increases fat burning, and is packed with antioxidants.
In addition to containing close to zero calories, green tea is packed with extraordinary health benefits like improved brain functioning, increased fat burning, antioxidants that are excellent for skin, diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention, and so many other miraculous gains. While it contains small traces of caffeine, you won’t experience the same energy spike that you do with coffee. It’ll be a more subtle boost to get you through that afternoon slump. To that we say, pour another cup!
Fruit for Dessert
Japanese women aren’t about deprivation. To them, it’s all about quality, nutrient-dense foods that are satisfying to both your tastebuds and overall health. This is why it’s common to see fresh fruit presented as an end-of-the-meal delicacy rather than sugar-laden cakes and pastries.
Japan is the home of martial arts. Some popular styles include karate, judo, and aikido. Martial arts is known to substantially improve cardiovascular fitness and endurance, while simultaneously building muscle strength and improving flexibility.
In addition to martial arts, the majority of Japanese cities are highly concentrated, meaning most residents resort to other means of transportation such as walking or biking. Even if using the subway, most will at least bike to the station. This makes Japanese women highly active by default which naturally aids in weight loss and slows down aging.
It’s clear that Japanese women lead very intentional lives when it comes to health without being obsessive, harsh, or demanding with it. Just from these lifestyle habits alone, Japanese women are reported to consume around 1,000 fewer calories a day and walk 2,500 more steps a day compared to American women. This adds up quickly and beats hours on the treadmill or declining dinner dates to achieve a slim figure. Like they say, small steps lead to large victories! Begin adding these into your routine and your health will thank you for it.
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