3 Weight-loss secrets from Japanese women

japanese womenIn my personal experience, I honestly have never met an overweight Japanese woman? Can you even think of an obese Japanese celebrity--beside sumo athletes? It took me a lot of work, and I still cannot think of even one name. Thinking about this I did a little research on the eating habits of Japanese women and found that I'm not crazy, Japan is one of the countries with the lowest obesity rate in the world, and this is not only by the grace of God.

There are several reasons why Japanese women are thinner and healthier, but three habits they have developed predominate in allowing this trend to continue, regardless of how many fast food chains open in their neighborhood:


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Rice, lots of rice: One of the things that surprised me most about the diet of Americans when I moved to the United States is how little rice they eat. Being a Mexican woman, I eat it almost every day and it is hard to imagine my week without eating it. Well, Japanese women eat it too, all the time and it is an essential part of their diet. I'm know you're wondring, "How is it that I eat rice every day and I'm not thin?" Okay, here comes the WHEAT factor. For better or worse, Japanese women do not eat tortillas nor as much bread as we do. Rice does not cause your appetite to increase, but instead satisfies. Carbohydrates in wheat and flour products such as bread, pizza and donuts, cause you that horrible anxiety to consume more.

Green tea: There are thousands of studies proving that green tea protects us and makes us healthier. In Japan it is common for people to drink from 5 to 6 cups of green tea a day. I remember I noticed this in a trip I took to Asia. There was almost no coffee anywhere--yes, I almost died--but I discovered the wonders of tea. I cannot give up coffee, but now I enjoy a tea in the afternoon or before eating.

Green tea compounds reduce cholesterol and accelerate your metabolism. A direct connection between green tea and weight loss hasn't been proven, but why not give it a chance? Surely it's better than your mid-afternoon soda.

They walk ... a lot! I found that Japanese women walk 10,000 steps or an average of 5.5 miles every day. Japan has a great public transportation system; however, people generally live outside the cities, which means they spend a large part of the day moving.

Whether walking or cycling, it's no coincidence that their cities have an excellent design for pedestrians. If you're not sure about how much you walk a day, there are many applications that can measure it. Believe me, you'll be surprised by the results. You can download the iTreadmill app to your iPhone, or Accupedo, if you have Android.

Image via Corbis

Topics: weight loss  diet  losing weight