Asian Girl Problem #66: Asian Girl Diet

There are some things that sound really lame, unless they’re happening to you. Instagram #food tags, weird dreams and babies come to mind. ┬áToday, I tried on these pants I haven’t been able to wear for at least three years, and they fit. Usually, I don’t even bother looking at them because it makes me sad, but I keep them because they suit my short legs and narrow hips. If you were wondering, the pursuit of well-fitted pants for this Asian ends in a Uniqlo in Hong Kong.

They don’t look particularly good, but I’m going to squeeze (literally) every bit of satisfaction I can out of this until I eat dinner and promptly pop out of them. Normally I hate the concept of “skinny jeans”, but what can I say, it’s just my day today.

“How are some Asian girls so small?” my Korean friend who was raised in America asked me when we were people-watching the other day. For such a loaded question, it doesn’t plague me anymore. There are clear, uncontrollable reasons why I don’t look like other Asian girls. There’s no point in comparing.

I have had 25 years to think about why I don’t have the twig body of other Asians, and here’s my take:

1. Exercise is not the name of the game. Laziness prevails. No running on a hamster wheel, training for marathons or weight training/high-protein regimes. They’d rather ride in a car than walk, but since that’s inconvenient in most places, they get their cardio that way. Yoga and dancing are huge though, for those taking initiative. They don’t over exercise so they don’t feel the need to “refuel”, and having being calmer overall does wonders on the waistline.

2. They do eat less, especially in the way of protein. They eat lots of filling carbs and vegetables because protein is expensive, as is eating out.

3. Kids born before the 90s weren’t raised on milk or processed food. I think all the hormones I took in as a kid affected my bone and muscle structure because there’s a clear difference between my body and my cousin’s, or my mother’s.

4. Can’t deny that the constant pressure to be skinny doesn’t keep them tiny. The other day I was at a cafe eavesdropping on two foreign exchange students who were very small. One was talking about how she gained too much weight since coming here. The other girl started scrutinizing her diet, and when another friend called on her phone, she consulted that person too. No weight taboo here–like applying makeup or choosing a hairstyle, it’s seen as a matter of education and experimentation.

5. On that note, losing weight never involves broadcasting your new diet or treating yourself after a week of eating “clean.” Less emotions=less effort.