How Are Taiwanese People So Thin? (3 Tips For Weight Loss) 

How are Taiwanese people so thin? Well, after traveling to Taiwan multiple times. I’ve noticed certain things about the food and their lifestyle that contribute to why they stay so thin year round. I also thought to myself, “why not take this opportunity to teach about how we can implement those same habits into our lifestyles here in the states?” So their awesome habits down in 3 simple steps to show what it is that they do differently. Here are 3 key points that contribute to weight loss and staying thin like the Taiwanese.

  1. Portion out meals and serve smaller plates

  2. Keep activity level high and move more throughout your day

  3. Avoid overindulging on the carbs all the time 

How To Lose Weight In General 

Weight loss or, more importantly, fat loss is the concept of eating less calories in order to put your body in a caloric deficit. Eating healthy is fine but what really contributes to how you look and feel is, firstly, how many calories you consume on a daily basis. So the question is, “how many calories do I eat on a daily basis then?” Well the answer is to figure it out for yourself. A good place to start would be to multiply your bodyweight by 12 and eat those calories for a week or two. If you lose around 2-3 pounds then that is a good calorie range for you. If it stays the same, however, then drop the calories little by little until the scale finally shows some change. Now there is definitely a difference in losing weight and losing fat. If you’re looking to lose fat then you must be exercising and lifting weights on a daily basis. So, to sum it up, lose fat by eating at a caloric deficit and lift weights 2-3 times a week to see some substantial results. 

So what are some tips that will help us eat less and get into a caloric deficit? Let’s see what Taiwanese people do and try to implement those habits into our daily lives. 

Tip 1: Portion Out Meals & Serve Smaller Plates

When I was in Taiwan the first thing that I noticed was how small the plates were! One of our first destinations was a night market in Taipei called Shilin Night Market which served so many different types of awesome foods that, although very fattening, were served in a much smaller portion that anything we could find here. That goes for asian food as well. This means that, although the food itself was pretty fattening, a smaller portion allowed us to eat less calories which, overall, helped me even lose weight in my food adventure in Taiwan. 

So the question is, “should I implement smaller portions in my life?” Well, it depends on your calorie range that we figured out in the intro above. So, let’s say that you weigh 140 pounds.You need to eat around 1,680 calories in a day to lose some fat this week. Since 1,680 calories is not many calories at all, smaller portion meals will definitely be a huge benefit in any weight loss journey. Something crucial within those small meals, however, is to add high protein items such as chicken and fish as these foods expedite lean muscle building and keeps you satiated as you put your body through less calories. Make sure not to cut out carbs completely and add some healthy fats into your diet as well. Vegetables are always the key to dieting and allows you to get all the vitamins you need as your weight drops and that fat sheds off. 

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Tip 2: Keep Activity Level High and Move More Throughout Your Day

Since we were traveling our activity levels were very high as is everybody’s whenever you go to a country like Taiwan. What was interesting to me, however, was how much Taiwanese people actually walked on a day to day basis. It seems like the country never stops moving and people are always on the run to be somewhere. Compared to somewhere like Los Angeles, Taiwan is an environment that definitely promotes high levels of activity which, I believe, is something we need here in our commuter lifestyle. 

So, how do we add activity level into our lives here in Los Angeles? You have to seek it out and make the effort to follow a workout plan that is suited for your goals. What I recommend is lifting some weights as lifting weights is the fastest way to slim down and get that nice lean look that everyone is looking for.

For men I recommend a push, pull, legs workout split which is a split that incorporates all muscle groups and can be fit into a working man's schedule. Push days require you to workout chest, shoulders, triceps (anything that involves you to push), Pull days require you to workout back, (lats, traps), and biceps, Legs require you to workout, well, your legs and some abs usually! 

Here is an example workout plan that you can implement: 

Monday (Push Day): 

  1. Incline Bench: 5x5

  2. Incline Dumbbell Press: 4x12 

  3. Incline Dumbbell Fly: 3x10

  4. Seated Shoulder Press: 4x12

  5. Lateral Raises: 4x15

  6. Rear Delt Fly: 4x15

  7. Tricep Pushdowns:3x10

  8. 50 close grip pushups 

Wednesday (Pull Day):

  1. Assisted Pull Ups: 4x10 

  2. Lat Pulldowns: 4x12

  3. Dumbbell Row: 3x10 (on each arm) 

  4. Cable Rows: 4x15 

  5. Bicep Curls: 3x10

  6. Hammer Curls: 3x10 

Friday (Legs):

  1. Squats 5x5

  2. Goblet Squats: 4x20

  3. Walking Lunges: 4x20 

  4. Weighted Crunches 3x35

  5. Leg Lifts: 3x35

For women I recommend a 3 day workout split that incorporates a full upper day, a pull day, and a leg & butt day. You still want to workout the same muscles as guys do. The more muscle the better! Muscle increases metabolism which allows you to eat more and still stay skinny. So, here is an example workout split for the women reading this. 

Monday (Full Upper): 

  1. Seated Shoulder Press: 4x20 

  2. Lateral Raises: 4x15

  3. Lat Pulldowns: 4x12

  4. Dumbbell Row: 3x10

  5. Dumbbell Fly: 3x10 

  6. Knee Push Ups: 4x20

  7. Weighted Crunches: 3x35 

Wednesday (Back/Hamstrings/Biceps) 

  1. Assisted Pull Ups: 3x10

  2. Lat Pulldowns: 4x12 

  3. Cable Row: 4x15

  4. Stiff Leg Deadlift: 4x15

  5. Hamstring Curl: 4x15

  6. Bicep Curls: 3x10

  7. Hammer Curls: 3x10

Friday: (Legs/Butt/Abs): 

  1. Squats: 5x5 

  2. Goblet Squats: 4x20

  3. Glute Bridge: 4x20

  4. Glute Kickbacks: 4x20 each leg

  5. Jump Squats: 4x20

  6. Weighted Crunches: 3x35 

  7. Leg Lifts: 3x35

For beginners these workouts might be a second language but just look up how to do these on Youtube and you’ll definitely get the hang of it. Or you can find a trainer like us here at Aspire Fitness and have us do all the heavy lifting for you.

Tip 3: Avoid Overindulging In The Carbs All The Time

One thing that Taiwanese people eat less than the Asians here in Socal is carbs. Yes, there are many options in Taiwan that are heavy in carbs but the portions are smaller and the people are moving. So, it’s definitely fine for them to indulge in an amazing beef noodle soup dish as they really do burn tons of calories from just living there. When I was there in Taiwan, so much of the food was focused on the delicious meats such as Taiwanese sausage, Popcorn Chicken, Chicken Gizzards, Grilled Ribeyes and so much more. They do eat carbs there but they definitely earn it! For us  Americans, however, walking and moving around throughout our days is pretty rare and, unless you actively seek out exercise and fitness, chances are you are eating too many carbs for a more sedentary lifestyle. 

Carbs aren’t bad though. Carbs are your friends and they are the source of direct energy throughout our day. They really do get a negative stigma but what is really “bad” about carbs is that it’s so easy to overeat them! It’s not just carbs too. We can definitely overeat on protein and fats too. Too much of anything is the real enemy and challenge. Carbs are delicious and, after training so many clients throughout the years, it’s something that people definitely struggle with keeping controlled. 

So, “how many carbs do we need to eat on a daily basis?” You should eat around 1g per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh around 140 pounds then you need to eat around 140g of carbs throughout the day. This is, however, assuming that you are working out and following the workout plan listed above. This is a really rough estimate, however, so play around with that number to see what really works best for you. If you’re too hungry then feel free to add more carbs. You should be slightly hungry when you diet, not too hungry. If you’re not losing enough weight then feel free to drop that number until you start to see that weight dropping. 

There you go! 3 Tips on how to stay slim just like the Taiwanese. If you’re looking to go more in depth in your fitness journey then feel free to check out our website and see if we’re the right fit for you! 


Phill Profile.jpg

Owner & Founder of Aspire Fitness. Personal Trainer and Certified Diet Coach. With over 6 years of experience, Phillip has been working with many different clients and helping them reach their goals. Try out our free training where we go over the 5 steps you need to take in order to see your abs.


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