Many people abroad speak of “Korea weight loss”. The statistics all back it – Koreans are some of the thinnest people in the world. So then why are expats and immigrants finding themselves gaining weight after moving to Korea?
Korean Thinness = Korea Weight Loss?
I have a co-worker, let’s call him Ezekiel the 3rd. One fateful evening, the wind was howling and the night was dark. He warned me of something to come, something mysterious and unstoppable. Ezekiel the 3rd dubbed it, “Korea weight.”
I didn’t take it too seriously. I mean, I was expecting Korea weight loss, not weight gain. There are many Koreans in Korea (Who would’ve thought) and most Koreans are quite thin. However, I could see the signs. There were so many factors that would eventually turn my washboard abs into a 6 pack of rolls. Let me break down why you could be a victim of “Korea weight.”
I Tasted It
The first sign I saw, well I didn’t actually see it, I tasted it. Everything has sugar in or on it.
Over time I have become accustomed to it, but in my first couple of months, I was utterly shocked. Let me explain my first and second discoveries of this phenomenon.
My girlfriend and I bought some garlic butter, wanting to make some grilled cheese sandwiches with a hint of garlic. Delicious right? What greeted my tastebuds was a crystallized sugary flavor. Where was the salty garlic flavor?! I felt as if someone shoved candy floss down my throat.
Then, again! Back in South Africa, we have these deep-fried mac and cheese bombs, a cheesy salty explosion in your mouth with a bit of a kick. We bought some fried chicken in our first week out of quarantine, and ordered some cheese balls, yes! I took a bite and it tasted as sweet as my smile. It was truly terrifying.
Now, I could get into the sweet cheese powder on the fried chicken, but I’ll refrain from elaborating for my sanity.
I Went to It
The second cryptic sign I noticed was the ease of eating.
Around my apartment and within 10 minutes of walking distance, there is so much food! I have a bagel shop on the first floor, a Mcdonald’s across the street, a Thai place down the street, and countless others.
Now, imagine you are tired and want to eat, but you do not want to make a healthy chicken salad. I am almost forced to spend my salary on any and every eatery within a 5-mile radius. I mean it’s for the economy, right?
Now let’s not even get into the cafes with their random cakes, desserts, and bread. Everything is too close and I’m too weak not to waste my life away in people’s restaurants.
It Came to Me
Now, this is seriously a danger to any living breathing human. This app is the bane of any health freak’s existence.
Its prices are fairly regulated so you’re not paying an arm and a leg for delivery food. The options are endless, and they are chock full of delicious choices. I mean have you even lived here if you haven’t spent at least 50,000 won in a weekend on Coupang Eats?
This option is just too easy to pass up. You might have 15 restaurants within 5 minutes of your apartment, but you literally have 100’s that can be delivered to you by a scooter that drives through parks and homes to get you your food in as short a time as possible. Now that’s service.
It Spoke to Me
The final and most obvious sign is everything tastes good.
I could probably just list off food for an hour and that would be a catalyst for you going to eat out. Dakgalbi, Samgyeopsal, Kimchi, Gimbap, etc. A wonderful thing with restaurants is, you will go and order one thing, and you will be bombarded with banchan to cover the rest of the table. You have to eat as much as humanly possible, it’s Korean law.
The variety of flavors presented to you is also crazy, spicy, salty, sweet, and scary (scary is live octopus) are all an option.
Korea Weight Loss Secret?
The one thing that I have never worked out is, how Korean people always eat and follow these signs, and yet only foreigners seem to be missing out on Korea weight loss. What is the secret? I don’t know and I probably will never find out. My advice to you, go to the gym regularly, so you can eat like a Korean regularly.
Want to learn more about common body changes expats and immigrants experience after moving to Korea? Click Here to read about hair loss in Korea!