Saturday, July 12, 2014

Korean Weight Standards

When it comes to weight issues, it is definitely something that I deal with on a daily basis. I have my ups and downs, and it’s been an ongoing battle for many, many years. When I was younger, I was actually quite thin. It wasn’t until I hit puberty around 9 when I started gaining a significant amount of weight. Now, I’m not blaming my sole weight gain on the fact I was starting puberty, but I’m sure some of the weight was from it. I was active in sports like swimming, basketball, and soccer. None of these contributed to any weight loss, and honestly at that age, it wasn’t a real concern then. You’re a kid; be a kid!

Teasing came mostly from my family. My brother had given me the nickname “Fatty”, and he called me by that instead of my name so much that I would respond to it.  Out of all the girls in my family, I felt that I was the biggest. Everyone else was skinny or average in weight and here I was nothing like them. A huge part of my family lives in Georgia and it wasn’t until I had to move from California to Georgia that my insecurity from my weight had started. Every time I had to attend a family function, the top concern from everyone was my weight. The first thing they would say was, “Oh, you gained weight!” or “You’re so big now!” - uh, nice to see you, too. I just remember feeling so down after having to come back home from these events and not wanting to go to them anymore.

During high school was when I felt the most insecure. It was so hard finding clothes that fit me. When everyone else was shopping at the trendy stores, I was shopping at the ladies department hoping that something fit. I remember when I went shopping at the outlets with my cousins, it would be embarrassing if the XL clothes didn’t fit me. I would just make it look like I didn’t like any of the clothes there, but in reality, it was because I couldn’t fit into any of them.

It wasn’t until after I graduated from high school that I started to do something about my weight. I didn’t go straight to a 4 year college right away. Instead, I went to a community college first. One of the first classes I took there was an aerobic class, and that was a great start. It was a great motivation to exercise since I knew I had to attend the class for a grade. But along with this started an unhealthy relationship with trying to lose weight. I started to extreme diet and also went on many fad diets/programs (which I don’t recommend. EVER). I also started to become obsessed with the “beauty standard” laid out in the media you see on tv and magazines.

Now, Koreans/Asians are quite petite and skinny, and growing up all I heard from my mom and other female family members were how they were 100 lbs or less. The heaviest my mom has been was 125 lbs and that was when she was pregnant with my brother! The last time I weighed that much was probably in middle school! Korean weight standards are quite ridiculous. If you look at the profiles of your favorite actresses and singers, their weight will mostly likely be listed 100 lbs – even the taller ones. I remember watching the Korean variety show Running Man and actress Song Ji Hyo was weighed in one of the episodes. She was around 115-120 lbs, which is completely healthy, but everyone was making fun of her that she was overweight! She looked amazing, so it was quite ridiculous for them to be mocking her. This is not the message they should be sending to young girls out there watching the show. I love that show, and I know it was meant to be entertaining and funny, but I was quite disappointed at that part. My goal weight is around 125-130, so in Korea I’m probably considered morbidly obese.

Over the years, I have been successful in losing weight. A large part was doing it the healthy way in means of exercising and eating right.  But of course once I stopped, I gain back the weight so easily. I can gain weight just from drinking water and possibly just from breathing air. Things have happened, and weight has gained back and doubled. I started Weight Watchers back in December 2013 and lost 18 lbs. I stopped Weight Watchers around May thinking that I could do it on my own and since then I have gained 8 lbs. Wow, those 8 lbs sure do make a difference as I can see my double chin peaking through again. I realized that Weight Watchers and programs where you are counting points or calories has worked the best for me out of all the things I have done. Instead of going back on WW, I downloaded the My Fitness Pal app which was recommend to me and plus, it’s free! I haven’t had it for too long, but it’s a jumpstart again.

For those who are trying to lose weight, I know, it’s not easy. But you can do this! We can do this! I know I'll never live up to the Korean weight standards, and I'm completely fine with that because that's something I don't care to ever achieve. Even though I do have a goal weight, the numbers don't mean too much. As long as you feel good inside and out, that's all that matters. If you need a buddy or need some motivation, you can always hit me up on twitter or email me. Good luck! :) 


  1. Hi Angela!!!

    I think all Asian girls feel the stigma of maintaing that thin image. I have always felt so insecure of my weight/frame due to this and it drives me nuts when girls constantly call themselves fat when in actuality they are literally stick thin. Even when I started feeling comfortable with my body, I can't help noticing all girls care about is their image and being skinny. Sigh~

    I hope you update us on your weight loss journey on YT~~~

    1. Hi Meimeibaibai! I totally understand how you feel when people who are skinny think that they are fat. I have had friends trying to lose 5 lbs and trying to compare themselves to me when I feel like it's not the same. Having to lose a significant amount of weight does not seem to have the same struggles as to trying to lose just a few lbs. But I guess we all have our own insecurities. I'm not aiming to be stick thin. I don't think I'll ever be even if I wanted to. I would just like to be in a healthy weight range. I'll update as best as I can do. Thank you for reading and watching! :)

  2. Hi Angela,
    I appreciate this blog post so much. I have a very similar story--I've been considered big all my life, especially since junior high school. I've tried every diet you can think of (mostly at the push of my parents). I even tried Weight Watchers after you recommended it on Youtube. It doesn't help that I live in Orange County--swarms of skinny Asian girls, my closest friends included, who can eat whatever, wear whatever, etc. (Although given our standards for eyes, hairs, skin, clothes, etc. I'm sure they go through their own stuff too).

    Anyways, you name the diet, I tried it. Probably twice. Unfortunately, the weight always comes back. Sometimes I wonder if it's self-sabotage. Yes, I do want to lose weight for various reasons--health, being comfortable in my skin, even vanity. But then when I succeed, or while in the middle of dieting, I get extremely frustrated because I feel like I'm "caving in" to what's expected of me. And I feel like even if I lost the weight, it wouldn't be good enough. Mostly because I hear things like once you lose weight, then you can get double eyelid surgery. And then maybe a nose job. And then maybe lasik. And maybe treatment to better my skin. There's always going to be parts of us that are not good enough because I feel like in Korean culture, you never are. I guess I think ultimately, these standards will never go away and we'll never match up--so we might as well found security and worth in ourselves, outside of all these ridiculous requirements of what is considered beautiful or socially acceptable.

    I'm not even sure what I'm saying--I think I'm just ambling. Whenever I think about beauty standards and expectations from Korean/Asian society, I get about a million thoughts in my head and I can't think straight. Probably consumed with anger, hurt, and frustration.

    I guess ultimately, I want to say that you send a positive message out to younger girls. It's scary. I'm a teacher and I see young kids worrying about how much they weigh, their hair, their clothes, all these superficial things without a slight concern about character, values, and personality. Anyways. Keep up your hard work and health. As long as you're happy, that's all that matters right? And I'll try to join you in the weight loss, but more importantly, the journey to self-acceptance, happiness, and comfort in finding our own place in all the expectations/standards held up against us. I hope you continue to share your journey with us--you really are inspiring and it's always reassuring to know there's someone kind of like you, dealing with similar issues.

    1. Hi! You're absolutely right. These standards will never go away. There's always going to be this ridiculous idea of what's "perfect" and every year it seems like they just add on to the list. I just hope that girls don't focus to much on this. Why would we all want to be the clone of another?! Kids these days are growing up so much faster than when I was a kid. Where's the youth going? It is scary to see this, and it saddens me. You mentioned you were on Weight Watchers. How did that go for you? Yes, do join me on the weight loss! We got this! :)

  3. Hey Angela!

    For a while ( and still a little bit now ) i had self esteem issues due to always being compared to my size 4 older sister… I always felt unattractive, that no guy would like me unless i was a size 4 as well. If a guy actually does show signs of liking me i always wondered why me? Iam this chubby asian girl with an average face.. they can def. do better. Eventually the teasing from my family stopped but then you become your worst enemy…. It wasnt until i started working as a nurse did i actually feel i was “pretty” ( i mean my friends say im pretty but they were my friends lol )…I would get compliments from patients, from their family, from coworkers on how “pretty” i was… i mean me? pretty? Though I dont really have problem dating and i am more comfortable about it, i still sometime, in the back of my mind, feel self conscious…

    See, Ive stuggled with my weight my whole life ( as in i have been heavy since i was a baby lol). As an asian girl who is taller than average as well as bigger i get teased all the time about my size. I mean i know im a chubby girl but i have never seen myself as obese nor do i suffer from hypertension or diabetes. I work out 4x a week (not some 30 min elliptical but i do intense circuit training ) and try my best to eat healthy. I have never been a single digit in pants size nor do i ever achieve to be. The older i get the more i accept this is who i am. As long as i lose my gut and im healthy then that is it (im pretty sure my thunder thighs and my wide hips wont be going anywhere lol ). Took 25 years to really start loving myself for who i am. Hence the downfall of growing up in an asian family.

    Ive slowly lost 15 pounds the last 2 months ... its always a process but i know ill get there and you will too!

    1. Hi! I would say I'm of average height. I'm around 5'4 - 5'4 1/2. A lot of my friends are shorter so aside from being chubby, I look like this giant next to them. Same goes with the girls in my family. You do become your worst enemy. I definitely have and had. It's always been this constant cycle of ups and downs. A battle within myself. I hope that one day I can find happiness in myself.. not just with my weight but in my life in general. That is something that I do need to work on. How does that saying go.. "happy heart, happy life"? lol. Something like that. But 15 lbs loss is awesome! Please keep me posted on your journey as well! :)

  4. Grrrr I posted a comment and it didn't publish ><

    But what I was saying is that it is so sad/annoying/frustrating that Korean/Asian society is so hard on how you look, how you perform at school, what you do with YOUR life.

    Thanks for sharing your story. In a way I can relate to it, for example the name calling from family members about how (chubby/fat) I looked. So I can feel you there.

    Greetings from the Netherlands again ^^

  5. Hi Angela,

    I do understand how you feel! I was skinny back when I was undergraduate (I am 5' 2" was 85lbs) and I started gained weight during graduate school and more when I'm working (now I'm almost 120lbs) Now my american colleagues here never said anything about I looked fat, in fact they even said I should eat more! But whenever I meet a family member they always said I looked chubby/fat and started to compare when I was skinnier. Makes me feel so down. I tried to lose weight but my friends said I'm crazy haha. It's really hard to please people. Now I think as long as my weight is still in normal range, I'm healthy and I feel good about myself, go to hell with all those comments!

  6. hey girl. stop counting calories. have you looked into the high carb low fat lifestyle ? there are no calorie restrictions and you will lose a lof weight effortlessly. freelee the banana girl on youtube is the guru

  7. oh., the asian standard., like you I felt like I was the biggest in the family which is true and of course my weight would yo-yo and its super frustrating.some girl just have all the luck I guess

  8. I like your cooking videos.
    Can you make more American recipes like cookies and cakes.

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