Before I even start with the contents – it would be wise to have a disclaimer, which is that this is a generalisation about eastern European women. It’s just an observation that a lot of them are slim, but this does not mean that all of them are. Let’s be clear about this, okay?
To start off with, this is a highly controversial topic with the potential for backlash. I know that I might cop flak for this article. Frankly speaking, I’m prepared for this. And in fact, I’m going to lash out with a pre-emptive strike and say that my likely aggressors would be women who are in denial because this article makes them feel insecure!
Despite the potential for backlash, I knew that I had to write this article. After all, I always like to think that I have readers who are rational, scientific, and willing to learn some positive lessons and apply it to their lives instead of just whinging about how fat they are and trying to drag others down to make themselves feel better.
As a traveller, I had been to three eastern European countries – Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. In each of those countries, I had spent most of my time in a mid-sized town where the people are mostly working or middle class, judging by the standards of their own country of course.
The observation that I made was that there was a stark contrast in body size between the people there, men and women alike, and those in the western world. From what I saw, most people had relatively slim physiques, the demographic exception being the elderly. Of course, I knew some of the reasons why this is the case, and I’m about to reveal them here.
There are three main factors that I wish to discuss, the first two of which are to do with how their lifestyle influences their diet and exercise habits. The third factor is less about weight or physique, but the reason why they seem to be more conventionally attractive than western women. This one is a bit of a bonus that is not directly related to weight loss.
Food – it plays a part!
The factor that I’d like to discuss would be the food there. Firstly, it is not true that people in eastern Europe are slim because they are poverty-stricken and can’t afford to eat. In fact, it is not always the case that portions are even smaller! A typical Slavic feast can rival the amount of food of an Indian wedding, a Mexican fiesta, or one of those banquets you read about in the comic “Asterix and Friends”.
The fact is that in smaller towns, most of the meat, vegetables and bread are locally produced, rather than being produced in bulk and shipped over thousands of kilometres. But it is their attitude to food production that makes all the difference. Locals say that most of the vegetables are grown locally without the use of pesticides. The meat is also farmed locally, most of which are free-range and are devoid of antibiotics.
You see, there is a theory that pesticides and antibiotics in western produce and cattle can contribute to weight gain. Even some expats who usually eat larger portions of food also report weight loss. Logically we can conclude that this is probably attributed, in part, to the freshness of the food! Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Another thing about the food is that because of their strong sense of community, most people stick to traditional cultural food as part of their meals. Of course, western foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar are readily available there, but it isn’t part of people daily diet. The exception, of course, would be the youth, which I shudder to think about.
Exercise – simply incidental
The next factor I want to talk about is exercise. Most eastern Europeans do not belong to a gym, and so they do not have access to sophisticated machinery and weights that we in the west have. However, they do get plenty of exercise even though they are often not conscious of it.
You see, the typical eastern European walks quite a lot. Compared to us in the west, a smaller proportion of them have cars. It is absolutely normal for a Russian to walk a few kilometres to and from work each day. The climate is generally cooler anyway, so it is pleasant as long as one dresses sufficiently.
Furthermore, the transport system is not as advanced. Eastern European public transport range from public buses, trolleybuses, metro, trains, trams and marshrutka vans. For most people who work in the city, they will have to walk a fair distance to their stop to catch the public transport. All this walking would have helped with calorie burning.
Finally, a lot of people get incidental exercise as part of their cultural activities. For example, large playgrounds are teeming with children, which show that the next generation is less reliant on computer games and devices. Furthermore, family bonding activities are typically outdoors, be it a walk in the woods or a cycle around the neighbourhood. All these are examples of incidental exercise!
The influence of culture and image
The third point is not so much to do with weight loss itself, but of beauty. The standards of beauty for women in eastern Europe is similar to that of the western world conventionally. These include having a slim physique, long hair, a symmetrical face, dazzling eyes, full lips, being acne-free etc. You know what I’m talking about.
For women, one’s “social capital” is linked to two things – the way they carry themselves, and their ability to have a husband and child. That being said, even a career-minded woman will be perceived as damaged goods if she does not have a family. Tough, I know, but it is the reality and I’m only saying it as it is.
As such, women always take pride in looking their best. Here in the west, we perceive this as kowtowing to social expectations and norms, but to them it’s a simple progression into womanhood and all they have ever known, so it isn’t something that takes a lot of effort.
Sometimes, this desire to take pride in how they look is a bit of overkill. For example, it is not surprising to see women with full make-up and dressed up like a diva walking around a supermarket! To us, the idea of dressing up to grocery shop is preposterous. To them, going to Walmart dressed in PJs and no bra, acting all ghetto and ratchet is seen as disgraceful and disrespectful to society. Different cultures, different mentality.
So, now that I have explained a few things, can you see why eastern European women tend to hold the trait of slimness, which we equate to being “conventionally attractive”? Once again, this is not an article bashing westerners. In fact, I would like to ask what you can learn from this article that can be applied to your life?
Also, you might have realised that those three factors above coincide with the three elements of weight loss according to us at Granite Fitness, namely psychology, nutrition and exercise. This is simply stunning coincidence, and was by no means planted by us, but you can see the parallels, right?
I’m not saying that the Granite Fitness Solution will make you slim in the exact same way that the eastern Europeans stay slim via the mechanisms I have described in this article. I’m a realist, and so the Granite Fitness Solution is meant to be universally applicable, especially in the western world. Check it out today!
Mark is an all-rounded guy with dreams, aspirations, and a desire to be a better version of himself. Having conquered obesity, he set-up Granite Fitness to help regular people get in shape and stay healthy. As of 2023, Mark spends his days as a People and Culture Manager. He holds three science degrees, a Diploma of Christian counselling, a Diploma of Human Resources, and a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety. Connect with Mark @ http://au.linkedin.com/in/marksptan