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Body Image in Asian Families

I never thought that I would post about this subject but it’s been eating me up. The subject I am talking about are Asian parents caring about a female’s appearance.

You look too skinny, Helen. You lost too much weight. You need to eat more.”

– This is what they said when I first lost weight. I was at 103 pounds at my lowest weight, at 5 ft 2 in. I had severely restricted my calorie count to 1200 and worked out for 30-60 minutes back then. My workout consisted of running 10-20 minutes and doing a simple workout DVD.

Oh, Helen. You look bigger! Did you stop exercising?”

– This is what they say now. I had started doing long distance running and lifting weights. I had also increased the amount of calories I’ve been eating. Of course I wouldn’t look  malnourished.

Oh, and you probably also heard something like this:

“Wow, Helen. You look so healthy now! Your face is so much fuller.” 

-Then, they go up and pinch your cheeks and tells you that you could lose a few pounds. A minute later, they are offering you a lot of food to eat.

chinese food


Along with those comments, they want me to stop running long distance and lifting heavy weights. Simply put, my mom says long distance running has made my thighs huge and that my body does not look feminine at all, you know, how the skinny Asian girls look. To add onto that, my skin has gotten really tan from running outside, another thing Asians don’t like. Asians are known for wanting to avoid the sun to avoid getting  a tan.

I always laugh it off and say that it is muscle and that I’m stronger and healthier, hoping they would stop saying it. They still do. Deep down, those comments really hurt. My family has always been criticizing my body since day 1. My parents, aunts, and uncles. Nothing satisfies them. The thing is that family is important to me. What they think of me is important. I guess it’s an Asian thing.

However, I know that they can’t always be controlling how I feel. They can’t control my body nor how it looks. I should be just happy with myself, for who I am and how I look. If I am happy with me, I shouldn’t matter what they think. It is something that I am still working on.

Admitting this is the first step. The 2nd step, I believe, is to list a few things about me that I like about myself. And, I believe that everyone should do this. I dare you to list at least 3 things you like about yourself. Here are mine.

  1. My strong thighs legs. They helped me run a half marathon! Who cares if they look bigger. They’re stronger and muscular now.
  2. My smile. Everyone loves my smile and so do I. I have a nice smile, apparently.
  3. I guess my curves? After all, I am a woman. FYI, there is a difference between curves and fat.

The 3rd step is to actually believe it and be confident and comfortable with myself. That way, my family will see that what they are saying isn’t affecting me at all. They’ll eventually stop saying these things. I’ll continue saying that I am stronger and healthier each time they mention it until they stop.

I am sorry if this post offends anyone. I probably should have put a warning or disclaimer in the beginning of the post. It has been on my mind for a while and I just had to vent and let it out. Thank you for letting me vent and letting my thoughts go.

 How is your week going? 

What are somethings you like about yourself? Comment below. =)

2 thoughts on “Body Image in Asian Families

  1. I can confidently say that I am very happy with myself 🙂 Families will always be judgmental on your appearance though, regardless of your race! I know for a fact my mother is very harsh! But you know it’s all out of love – it sounds twisted but it’s true!

    • There are times when I am happy with myself. I just have to learn that as long as I am happy with myself, that’s what matters. And, I agree. Family may be harsh, but it’s out of love.

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