October 29, 2017
Losing 20 Pounds Living in Tokyo
A 20 year old American woman, Ana, lost about 20 pounds (9 kilograms) living in Tokyo. She lost about 10 pounds in 7 months from the increase in walking and another 10 pounds lost in three months from conscious effort through fixing her diet and working out. In Japan, her beauty drew much more attention than when she was in the US. Japanese people often told her that she was beautiful, and pointed out the resemblance in her looks with Hollywood actresses though she personally has never felt that she looked like them at all. When walking crowded areas like Shibuya, sometimes she overheard a couple of men who passed her by said to each other, “wow! that foreigner was really pretty!” All of these comments made her flattered and made her a little self-conscious about herself. In addition, although she had never been scouted for a model in the US, she was scouted as a model numerous times in Tokyo. According to Ana, this was because she was not tall enough. She actually modeled several times for various jobs ranging from as a wedding dress model to a modeling for ceramic art by a prominent Japanese artist based in Seattle, which brought her good money. All of these experiences made her feel flattered, but usually the complement was on her face and she felt that her body did not match up with the compliments.
While receiving compliments, she also was also exposed to criticism on her looks from her two Japanese male friends. They told her that her legs were big, which nobody told her this in the US. This comment hurt her feelings so much and felt like facing the wall of the high standards of beauty in Japan for the first time. These comments led her to decide to lose some weight. While it is easy for foreigners who have just arrived to gain weight in Japan because they want to try all of delicious Japanese food, she tried not to eat carbohydrates and cook healthy low calorie food. She learned how to cook “nabe” that you make with soup stock, meat or seafood and vegetable. Nabe is quite healthy because you can eat a lots of vegetables with meat and/or seafood. In addition, it is low calorie since you do not need to use oil to cook nabe. She put kabocha, carrots, onions, leek, cabbages, tofu, and sometimes chicken in the nabe. She also often ate natto, a fermented sticky soy beans with strong smell, and usually most foreigners do not like natto.
Ana was already slimming down from the natural increase in walking which comes from living in Tokyo. Ana moved to Tokyo in September of 2015 and by March 2016 she had lost 10 pounds from walking alone (while still eating what she liked). In her hometown, people commute by cars and Ana found herself with almost no need to walk at all to get to the destinations. Japan however is a train society and people usually need to walk for about from 5 to 10 minutes from the station to get to their destination. So without realizing it, Ana had already begun losing weight through walking.
Ana started to exercise in March of 2016. Regarding more rigorous exercises, Ana ran a lot on a treadmill at a municipal gym. She also lifted weights, although not very heavy. In this way, she lost 10 more pounds quite healthily in three months. By the end of May, when Ana took a trip with her friends to Singapore, she noticed a big difference when she wore a bathing suit. She is satisfied with her legs and arms becoming thinner. Those two Japanese males who had previously commented negative things about her body exclaimed yaseta！(you lost weight). Instead of being pleased, this made her slightly angry, as if all that mattered to them was her weight. Ana is now trying to find different reasons for exercise other than looking more attractive. One of those reasons is to maintain a healthy life, just as she sees in elderly Japanese women, who are extremely energetic and healthy, as well as slim and strong. Ana hopes that she can become like that one day.