Learning to balance mindfulness and self-care with all of the tastiness that Japan has to offer can bring you one step closer to being at peace with your body and soul. Rather, it merely reflects one of the biggest weights that I carry—a history of food restriction and disordered thoughts about eating—repackaged in the country I now call home. By the time I first visited Tokyo, I was in my early twenties and had already spent many years dodging questions about my weight from doctors and mental health professionals in Canada. I can remember the first time that dieting seemed appealing. And so, I declared my own personal and very quiet war against butter, cutting it out of all of my routines, morning and otherwise. By banishing butter, for a moment at least, I was in control. Although I never was diagnosed with a full-blown clinical eating disorder, my eating patterns and thoughts were certainly disordered throughout my late childhood, adolescence, and early twenties in North America. I was always small, borderline underweight on the BMI, but I forever yearned to be slimmer anyway. Despite being very much in recovery now, visiting and then living in Japan has exposed me to a similar yet different set of assumptions about eating, diets, weight, and body shape. And indeed, the drama, starring Aibu Saki as Nobuko, a woman struggling with her weight, and Hayami Mokomichi as Taiichi, a pastry chef, has its fair share of treats.
How To Stay Healthy When Diets And Weight Loss Are Just Everywhere
By Yumi Idomoto. In December , a photograph released by the Imperial Household Agency shocked the country. In September this year, model, actress and former AKB48 member Mitsumune Kaoru announced on Twitter that she would be taking a break from work due to her long-term suffering from eating disorders. While Aiko and Kaoru are not the first public figures to come under the spotlight for weight loss and associated illnesses, to many it might still come as a surprise that Japan — known for its healthy diets, low obesity, and long lifespans according to the WHO, as of , Japan is still the country with the longest life expectancy — has not escaped this particular disease. Often called a homogenous society, Japan is known for conformity, and its people are not highly diverse at least on the surface. The general physique is smaller than in Western countries, and there are guidelines on appearance at all levels within society. At schools, for example, students wear uniforms, and although they are not supposed to dye their hair, some feel forced to color their hair black if their natural color is lighter i. Naturally, there is also a substantial pressure to remain as thin as those around you. For adults between the ages of 45 and 74, there is even a government policy called Metabo Law, which stipulates what your waist measurements should be Mami Suzuki, a registered dietitian who has experienced anorexia herself, says she has been getting an increasing number of consultations from Japanese people with eating disorders.
More from Japan
The number of young people in Japan newly diagnosed with the eating disorder anorexia rose about 60 percent in fiscal from the previous year, due possibly to increased stress and anxiety amid the coronavirus pandemic, a survey showed. Despite the uptick in patients, some hospitals saw a lack of beds available for those with serious conditions, as they likely had to give up beds to treat COVID patients, according to the survey released last month by the National Center for Child Health and Development. It can lead to a life-threatening condition or even death. The survey found 28 boys and girls under 20 years old were newly diagnosed with the eating disorder in fiscal through March this year, both up over 60 percent from the previous year. Nine boys and girls were newly hospitalized due to anorexia, up from six and 93, respectively, from the previous year. The center conducted the survey in two months through the end of June with the help of 26 medical institutions in 19 of the nation's 47 prefectures. An official of the center attributed the increase in anorexic patients among young people to the coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted the lives of students at elementary, junior high and high schools. The center has also conducted a series of surveys on parents and their children, with many young people expressing worries and discontent over their school life as a result of the pandemic.
Most people suffering with eating disorders in Japan are not receiving any medical or psychological support, according to doctors. The Japan Society for Eating Disorders claims the health system is failing hundreds of thousands of sufferers. It also says the pressure on girls, in particular, to be thin has "gone too far".