Japanese people are very conscious about their health. Everyone is healthy. At least they seem to. It’s crazy! Almost nobody in Japan is obese or even overweight in the slightest. They are not just skinny-but also very very beautiful. Even women who are in their 40’s look absolutely great. No kidding!
I was heavier before coming to Japan. Now, I lost about 10-13 kgs although my weight always goes up and down. I always wonder why Japanese people are so much healthier and thinner than most of us- the foreigners. As it turns out, they are not spending hours in gyms, doing Weight Watchers or practicing Atkins. By observing their lifestyle for 4 years, I can say that the health of the Japanese people cannot be attributed to a special diet or program. It is a LIFESTYLE thing!
The way they live, on day to day basis, simply keeps them healthy. It is a lasting habit. Believe it or not, this is one of the reasons why I love living in Japan. The health-conscious society here keeps me on track. I hope that by writing this post and sharing with you about some peculiar Japanese habits, all of us can build a similar lifestyle to start living a better and healthier life.
- 食べ物 (Tabemono)
- People eat better quality of food and eat smaller portions of it.
- People here snack less and actually eat at mealtimes.
- People here mainly drink plain water or unsweetened tea
- Their meals contain foods like rice, fish, seaweed, tofu, soup and a lot of vegetables
You might be wondering the same thing. How about the Asian Paradox-how can the Japanese eat so much rice and stay so thin?
Get active! The key here is to just get active! Exercise is part of the Japanese daily routine. They are active people who always do what I would call “unplanned exercise”- one kind of exercise that just arises through everyday living. They walk and bike everywhere. This means having to walk to the station, stand on crowded trains, walk between transfer points, and then walk to your destination which in between lies lots and lots of stairs. Japan, especially Tokyo definitely is not built for cars! Everyone uses the subway stations. Even the school kids walk and take trains to their school instead of being dropped off by their parents.
Japanese society puts massive pressure on people to stay healthy. In a society that conforms, there is an unspoken expectation– it is expected to be thin in Japan, because everyone else is. However, that does not mean that the few overweight people are shunned or anything. Individuals here tend to notice their health changes and put pressure on themselves-even if nobody else is outwardly saying it.
So, what do you think of the Japanese lifestyle? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Last but not least, I strongly encourage anyone who able to, to come to Japan as it will be a life changing experience you will never regret!
By Hidaya Mohamad
Photos by Hidaya Mohamad & Som Bin