Dieting in Japan

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Dieting in Japan

Postby utsukushisato » Tue May 24, 2011 10:41 am

Alright, so there was a spambot post in the aspiring JET section about loosing weight in Japan. I'm starting a thread over here since most of the posters were current JETs anyway. I actually was wanting to post about dieting and found the other thread using the search function.
So yeah, diet advice, recipes, theories, let's put it all over here.

I'll start. I'm going home this summer and immediately being a bridesmaid in my friends wedding. The dress the other bridesmaids choose is a very cute strapless number, meaning lots of upper exposure.

I searched the internet for advice for women about toning their upper arms. Basically this is what I've come to believe.
To tone muscles your body you need to build muscle and loose fat.
Most amateur diets cause people to loose muscle weight rather than fat.
Loosing muscle but still having a higher fat percentage causes flabby skin.
So, fat loss + muscle gain = slimming down but maybe not so much weight loss, and hopefully no really gross looking loose skin.

So I put myself on a reduced calorie diet, trying to stay under 1,600 kcal per day, but also being high in protein (at least 60grams) and strong in carbs (at least 150grams) with some daily exercise (about an hour of walking, some dumbell exercises and push-ups.) I also measure to make sure I drink at least 1,800 ml of water so I stay hydrated. I give myself the weekend off from counting calories and nutrients. I still try to eat smart, but I can relax and have a snack or two if I'd like.

My reasoning, protein is needed to build muscles, carbs are needed for energy, reducing the calories means I should burn some fat when I exercise, and water means I'm hydrated and not being tricked by water-weightloss.

So, other people's diets, recipes, anything about weight loss in Japan can go here.

*edit: I forgot to add this link. http://www.scientificpsychic.com/fitness/diet.html
It's a BMI calculator. I'm sure a doctor could do better, but for the internet it doesn't seem too bad, it takes more measurements than most BMI calculators. And it does have a note accounting for people who have more muscle than fat. According to that I'm about a pound overweight, which seems about right to me. My goal isn't a certain weight, but to get down to and maintain a healthy level 19.

** second edit: I'm not looking for any advice for myself, I was just telling something I decided to do and CAN do while in Japan. Personally I think I have a healthy outlook on weight, exercise, eating, and physical and mental health. But if you have any good protein and carb recipes low on saturated fats, I'm always willing to try something new.
Last edited by utsukushisato on Wed May 25, 2011 11:06 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby patrick » Tue May 24, 2011 10:56 am

I got my friend running here in Japan. Coupled with one other small change in his diet, he dropped about 20kg in 8 months.

Here's a couple articles about his weight loss:
http://jhsenglipediaproject.com/Article_IfICanDoIt.aspx
http://jhsenglipediaproject.com/Article_LosingIt.aspx
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby Backpasher » Tue May 24, 2011 12:01 pm

Running is the way to go, along with eating healthfully. I don't believe in "dieting" as such, but rather, in eating healthfully 80% of the time and eating the right amount for your level of activity. I'm also a fan of cake Friday!

Also, other things like - cycle everywhere (if practical) instead of driving or taking the bus. Take the stairs instead of the lift etc.

Also find a buddy to exercise with.
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby utsukushisato » Tue May 24, 2011 12:19 pm

I don't very much like the term diet, though I used it as the thread title to make it easy to find. To me, diet is a noun meaning the things I eat, as opposed to a verb describing restrictions.

Running is good for you. However, I only believe in making realistic life changes. I can commit to walking and I enjoy it. Running not so much. Sometimes I get the urge to go running and I will, but doing it regularly is not something I enjoy at all. Actually, I'd probably mind running less if I had an interesting place to do it, but I live on a single stretch of road that follows a river. It's lovely, but after three years it gets a bit boring. Any advice on what time people find it best to go running?

Go cake Friday! Though I'm more of an ice cream Saturday girl myself.
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby jesh » Tue May 24, 2011 12:44 pm

I started doing the Couch to 5km programme a few weeks back and really enjoyed it. It got me out running 3-4 times a week and I was improving steadily until I got smashed by shin splints ;____; it's been really difficult and painful since then. But I still really recommend it as it's a good motivator and you can really feel yourself making progress.

I recently bought one of those mini stepper machines on Rakuten and am going to try and do that 30 mins a day. It's good for me because it's low impact and can be done even on hot or rainy days or at night...dunno if it will be effective but I figure it's exercise, that's pretty effective right?!

For me the killer is school lunches. The calories might be good for a growing 14 year old who's running around and playing sports every day, but I don't need that much!! But no matter how much I politely try and ask for less, it doesn't happen, and I don't like to have too much left over because the staff notice and give you the "Mottainai Eye", haha.
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby word » Tue May 24, 2011 1:22 pm

I take half (or more) of my rice every day and saran-wrap it in a little ball. I say something like "Metabo-Word! Dieto!" sorta wistfully. Then I put it in my bag or on my desk. I take it home every day. If anyone asks me about it, I tell 'em I'm saving it for my next evening or morning meal. I may or may not be lying. I wish I could do this with some of the other food, but rice is usually the best thing to cut, anyway (white rice is virtually devoid of any nutrients whatsoever; it's just pure starch/carbs). I've never been given crap about it or anything; so you might give it a try!
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby Brian_ShigaPA » Tue May 24, 2011 1:29 pm

If you have access to them, weights will speed up weight loss. I was always a heavier guy(still a smidge bigger than average), and I was afraid that lifting heavy would just make me look heavier. I was wrong. Since lifting heavy, I have lost a bunch of fat and have maintained/increased muscle.
I know a lot of females who are scared of becoming big and bulky, but they have even less chance of that because they lack the testosterone. Lift weights.

Everyone I have ever talked to who have got into shape have told me two things:
1. Do a measurable activity e.g."last week i could deadlift 175 so this week i will shoot for 180" or "Monday I walked around my block in 7 minutes so Wednesday I will try to do it in 6 min 30 sec."

2. No matter how much you may want to stop, stick with it for at least three weeks. It takes that long to really see any results, and once you see results, you are exponentially less likely to quit. Results are addicting.

Good luck in getting in shape! You wont regret it!
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby GunmaBrentPA » Tue May 24, 2011 1:46 pm

I'm so glad that when school lunch was an option for me it was common for most of the staff to put back extra food before they started eating. I might have been the only guy doing it, but following the lead of other teachers lowered the amount of stink eye I got. Especially since it was before eating had started the replaced food was still good for those wanting seconds. At least that was how the system worked at my school.

I agree with Brian so much right now. Still, be careful with goals, especially involving weight lifting. If anyone is starting out make sure to take it slow and learn the correct form and balance needed. Lifting too much too soon can really mess you up. One school of thought is that for your first few weeks you should be lifting what feels like a light or medium load to work on form. Lifting improperly can do anything from just not being efficient to causing serious injury. "No pain, no gain" is a very self-destructive slogan.

The two most common errors (at least in how I was taught) I see in weight lifting at my gym is:
1) Rocking and body motion used to lift the weight, (especially noticed with curls).
2) Letting the bar come down and smack your chest while bench pressing or letting the bar bounce on the chest. I see this and can only think cracked sternum.

Of course, most of my weight lifting knowledge (if you can call it that) comes from 10-15 years ago so things have likely changed.
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby Brian_ShigaPA » Tue May 24, 2011 1:54 pm

Brent is spot on. I don't want to generalize, but it seems like all the Japanese guys at my gym saw lifting once on TV and decided "I can do that much weight" and go nuts. Form is super important and you only get one body. I cringe thinking of the spines of some of the people there.

Also, make sure you do not over train. Resting is when you will burn most of the calories as well as repair muscles. If you train for 4 hours straight everyday, (and you are NOT an elite athlete or on 'roids), you will get less results than the guy who trains for 45 minutes three days a week but really intensely. Smarter, not longer.
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby NiigataPAKatrina » Tue May 24, 2011 2:02 pm

utsukushisato wrote:Any advice on what time people find it best to go running?


I really love running in the morning. It wakes me up for the day, and since my mind is still half asleep, it doesn't get as boring as it might if I went in the afternoon. I just let my body move while my mind slowly wakes up. I go from bleary to fully alert by the end of my jog. Plus once those endorphins kick in, everything is fun!
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby alyacroft » Tue May 24, 2011 2:16 pm

Backpasher wrote:Running is the way to go, along with eating healthfully. I don't believe in "dieting" as such, but rather, in eating healthfully 80% of the time and eating the right amount for your level of activity. I'm also a fan of cake Friday!


I agree with this statement. I love sweets. I eat them. Last night I had a helping of ice cream topped with strawberries, kiwi, and bananas. But I also watch my portions, try to keep from eating like that all the time, I eat lots of veggies, cook at home, make sure my diet is balanced. I also do yosakoi which is now 4 times week (it was 2 times a week). To start yosakoi we run a short distance to warm our muscles up and we do various stretches as well as 20 sit ups and 20 push ups. And I'm running (not religiously, but I finished a 10k last month and have only run a few times since). Since starting the exercise regiment I have noticed that I've lost weight and my muscles are looking much more toned.
So with that I would suggest finding a buddy or finding a club to join that's active. You could then do something like running and cross train with your club.

So don't think about dieting to fit into a dress, but think about eating and exercising to be healthy. You'll lose weight maybe a bit slower, but it will stay off easier and you'll find yourself less likely to binge eat when you discipline yourself. And I must say again that I LOVE sweets and I gained a bit of weight from them, but I'm slowly, but surely, disciplining myself to make it easier in the future to fight the びっくりドンキー parfaits...And those are SOOOO good...
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby phoenixphreak » Tue May 24, 2011 2:35 pm

NiigataPAKatrina wrote:
utsukushisato wrote:Any advice on what time people find it best to go running?


I really love running in the morning. It wakes me up for the day, and since my mind is still half asleep, it doesn't get as boring as it might if I went in the afternoon. I just let my body move while my mind slowly wakes up. I go from bleary to fully alert by the end of my jog. Plus once those endorphins kick in, everything is fun!


I am probably completely backwards on this, but my logic leads me to think that: if I run in the morning, I will be more awake then and for some hours after, but I will probably run out of energy by late afternoon and be zonked in the evenings...

Have you found this to be true or a problem at all. I'd love to hear you experience.
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby Jax » Tue May 24, 2011 2:50 pm

Anyone else here a dancer? I hate running and it hurts my hips. Actually kinda hurts to dance, but that's more fun.... I have a class that's only twice a month unfortunately, but I try to practice by jumping around my apartment a couple times a week. Dancing can be great exercise, if you can find a class! Or if you just love flailing around your apartment if you have some free time. :lol:

I love rice and maybe I'm backwards in thinking this, but I like to think of it as a filler food because it keeps me from being hungry and eating junk food. I have it for lunch almost everyday, but I put it in a curry or something... a throw a bunch of veggies on top. I'm at a high school so I can have whatever I want for lunch. Whew.

Once a month I get pizza on payday. Payday pizza day! :D I try to avoid greasy foods. I used to eat a lot of gyoza because they're soooooo tasty, but have been trying to avoid them recently. I also used to make taquitos which I fried in oil, but recently I started baking them in my oven instead. Not exactly the same, but I think it's a little bit healthier.
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby GunmaBrentPA » Tue May 24, 2011 2:54 pm

phoenixphreak wrote:
I am probably completely backwards on this, but my logic leads me to think that: if I run in the morning, I will be more awake then and for some hours after, but I will probably run out of energy by late afternoon and be zonked in the evenings...

Have you found this to be true or a problem at all. I'd love to hear you experience.


My friend and I were just talking about this over the weekend. She loves her early morning runs and typically wakes up around 6:00 in the morning. I've never heard her complain of losing energy (or at least anymore so than the rest of us). But she also goes to bed around 11:00 even on the weekends.

I would love mornings if they could just start at 9:00. Also, I love my post work exercise. Helps me shed any work stress or blahs. After that and I hot shower I can't imagine teaching all day.

Can't... resist.... must.... type.... ESID.
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Re: Dieting in Japan

Postby huin » Tue May 24, 2011 11:08 pm

bench press, push ups. Stronger pecs make you perky. LOL
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