How are Spanish Women So Thin and Gorgeous?

March 28, 2011

How are Spanish Women So Thin and Gorgeous?

Before deciding to travel to Spain, I knew there would be differences between the women in Spain and me. I’d read countless articles about behaving well and not perpetuating the crazy, drunk American girl stereotype.  I figured that shouldn’t be too hard; I just wouldn’t get drunk and crazy.

But I didn’t realize that so many factors other than my imperfect Spanish language skills and potential to have Girls Gone Wild moments would separate me from Spanish women. Mainly in the looks department.

Spanish women dress impeccably and for the most part have fantastic bodies and gorgeous hair.  I was prepared for the fashion differences (this is Europe after all), but I’m still confused as to how they maintain their bodies. And their perfect hair.

Either the women in Spain have found running paths that have eluded me, or they rely on walking to keep their figures.

Since living in Spain, I have not seen a single Spanish woman run. I’ve seen a substantial number of Spanish men running, either in spandex bodysuits or down coats. I enjoy the spandex because most American men wouldn’t be caught dead in skintight attire (except triathletes, who do their own thing). Their down coats, though, make me laugh. It’s February and it’s 50 degrees!

So I know that people run here, but either the women in Spain have found running paths that have eluded me, or they rely on walking to keep their figures. I wish I could do this, since running in Nervión, my neighborhood, involves a lot of stoplights and inhaling an abundance of cigarette smoke and car fumes.

But even with my second-hand smoke filled runs, I still have trouble putting on my jeans in the morning after late-night churros con chocolate. Or our frequent meals consisting of French fries, fried eggs and croquetas (deep fried balls of dough filled with meat). Spanish food is wonderful, so how are Spanish women so thin without constant exercise?

Spanish women’s perfect hair also blows my mind.  Because of the economic crisis in Spain right now, water and electricity are exorbitantly expensive; therefore hot water for showering costs a lot, meaning showers must be extremely short.

When I do run, I definitely am an anomaly, which is highlighted by the excess of ogling and catcalls I receive as I jog to the Parque María Luisa. I am nothing to stare at during my runs, with my tomato-red face, flying sweat and embarrassingly slow pace, but men are riveted by the fact that I’m moving at a pace above a brisk walk.

Neither Spanish women nor Spanish men feel the need to move aside to give me room on the sidewalk, which makes my pace even slower. I receive countless hostile looks as well as air kisses as I make my way through the throngs on the street. This perhaps accounts for the fact that Spanish women prefer not to run: female runners are either objectified or resented.

After the seventh catcall on my hour run by a 60-something man, I almost decided to embrace my fried food weight.  But the warm weather and orange trees in February make up for dodging immobile locals and enduring sketchy leers.  That, and I don’t want to have to buy all new jeans when I get home.

How are Spanish Women So Thin and Gorgeous?

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Spanish women’s perfect hair also blows my mind. Because of the economic crisis in Spain right now, water and electricity are exorbitantly expensive; therefore hot water for showering costs a lot more that it used to. Meaning, showers must be extremely short.

My showers consist of washing my hair in a frenzy, slapping on some body wash and perhaps shaving half of a leg every other day– resulting in hair that I pray doesn’t have too much conditioner residue in it and legs that shouldn’t be permitted to see the light of day.

I know short showers aren’t unique to my host family’s home here, so I’m still amazed at how Spanish women manage to make their hair look so sleek, and I’m in awe of how great their legs look in mini skirts.

I know short showers aren’t unique to my host family’s home here, so I’m still amazed at how women manage to make their hair look so sleek. And I’m in awe of how great their legs look in mini skirts. The women definitely sacrifice comfort in the “cold” for fashion; they’re much tougher than the male runners in down coats.  They must know what hair products to use and must have perfected shaving in the sink.

Blending in with Spanish women while living abroad is a near-impossible task. Especially since I will never be able to perfectly emulate their language or their style. But my affinity for running and my inability to shower properly irrevocably separates me from passing as a true Spanish woman.

What I find completely hilarious is the fact that to date, four tourists have asked me directions in stilted Spanish while I’ve been running. Yes, really. They’re either comforted by the familiarity of a runner, or haven’t realized that real Spanish women miraculously don’t need to run.

gorgeous spanish women

How are Spanish Women So Thin and Gorgeous?

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 Have you traveled to Spain? What do you think are the secrets of how Spanish women are so thin and gorgeous? Email us at for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

About Sarah Crocker

Sarah CrockerSarah Crocker attended Northwestern University and studied abroad in Seville.

17 thoughts on “How are Spanish Women So Thin and Gorgeous?

  1. Avatar
    August 1, 2020

    Hi, I lived in spain for a while as a kid.

    I am kind of puzzled by what you say about not exercising. Maybe if you had gone to school in spain you would get it.

    Schools in spain have much more emphasis on P.E or GYM classes. Often students do like 2 hrs of physical exercise everyday. If they do a sport that is even more. Plus they are always outside walking or playing.

    I don’t know what happens when they leave school. But they leave school pretty fit. All the girls i went to school with ate a lot. But they were burning it off.

    I think this time from school gives them a little ‘money in the bank’ in their twenties.

    But even i noticed older women had physical hobbies. Going to the gym or something else were very popular. Compared to my own country they loved the outdoors and being active.

    Lots of girls I knew would ask me to go hiking with them or play at the pool. I would see lots of them running.

    I actually went home a lot fitter from spain then when i arrived.

    As regards food they don’t eat fries. That is not spanish food. That’s british or American food. Yes they eat it sometimes. But its not a part of their regular diet.

    Portions are smaller. But I noticed spanish girls when young eat a lot of bread. They eat bread like the french do. But other than that they are quite healthy.

    Snacks can be seeds fruit or nuts with sugar on the outside. Sometimes sweets and chocolate. But the sweets and chocolate are not as nice in spain as other places so they are not so popular. Sweets in my country are much nicer. 🙂 Or well this is a long time ago now so things might have changed. Ice creams in spain are nicer than here though.

    But think in hot weather you tend to eat better.

    But they are much more naturally active and come from better school programs. But its not a miracle or anything. Its just a lifestyle that is more integrated into their lives.

  2. Avatar
    December 8, 2016

    Hello, I’m a Spanish girl recently living in America. Well, we take between 5 and 7 meals a day (2 to 4 of those are small) that makes us have a high metabolism which burns calories. In Spain you walk to places in America you drive to places unless you live in big cities like New York. If you think about it, this could make you exercise for at least 2 hours a day, for exmple: you do your grocery shopping and you carry it to you apartment, you go to work/college/high school/errands and you come back.
    America has ‘enriched flour, pasta, rice…’ All this high processed basic foods affects your metabolism. But people have really no choice in America, healthy and fresh is expensive when sugary and highly processed is more affordable… I was surprised when I saw that most of the fresh vegetables and fruits are imported from other countries. In Spain we eat from scratch, that way you control amount of salt, sugar and fat in your diet. Also, fresh vegetables and fruit here go bad so soon because it’s imported, it’s crazy having oranges from Valencia (Spain) in NJ instead of briging them from California. Also, what I observed from my husband’s family and our friends is that there’s not a fix schedule for eating. There’s not a discipline for sitting all together on the table and eating. You eat in a restaurant, you order something, you buy a sandwich somewhere or you buy frozen or refrigerated prepared meals. Only my grandma in law cooks once in a while. All those prepared foods have a huge amount of salt, saturated and sugar to make them hold long periods of time without going bad, and again this ingredients screw your metabolism, which can cause obesity…Plus I check the labels on everything and everything has like 3 times more sugar than the same product in Spain! That’s terrible!! Sugar is what makes you fat! Yogurts, milkshakes juices, frapuchinos…there that Gatorade drink that my in-law keeps buying to my husband because he needs ‘vitamins’, you can’t absorve vitamins if they don’t go with their carbihidrates they are in, aka in the fruit itself. If you need vitamins and minerals get them from their sources not from bullshit enriched drinks or meals they have a high amount of sugars (I think they have like 56g per bottle or per 100ml, anyway THAT’S TOO MUCH)! And you don’t get the vitamins you need. Put vegetables and fruits at the base of the food piramid and them meat and fish, and at the top carbohydrates if you have a sedentary habit. Fruits, vegetables and meat give you a beautiful and shinny hair.

  3. Avatar
    April 28, 2016

    “Because of the economic crisis in Spain right now, water and electricity are exorbitantly expensive; therefore hot water for showering costs a lot, meaning showers must be extremely short.”

    I can’t believe you really said that.

  4. Avatar
    October 2, 2015

    Hello there, I was googling ‘Spanish hair styles’ and I came across your article. I was a bit sad that it was done in 2011, and whether, you will ever receive my reply!!! So I googled, googled and googled your name, to see if I can find you directly to give you a kind fat compliment girl! Firstly, you are very beautiful yourself, as I can see the profile here! (your profile). I am not Spanish, but I am Greek, and I have to say, we have similar lifestyles> the sunshine, sea, and also, that, eating is very important. Salads, fruits, walking, talking, relax, and not stress! Stress is the worst enemy!!! Also that, I have realised, we don’t have much alcohol. Yes wine is good, but not that often. Well, anyway, I am trying to find you somewhere on facebook, but I cannot. So sadly, I would say, goodbye, and that, drinking plenty of water is the key of healthy lifestyle!!!

  5. Avatar
    December 23, 2014

    Hey all, I used to live in Barcelona for a few years and still get back every once in a while. I agree that most Spanish women (and French women for that matter) are very good at looking good, keeping fit, dressing stylishly and making it look easy. A couple things I noticed that I’ve tried to bring home as good habits and suggestions for others back here in the US and Canada:
    1. If you’re going to have a big night out, binge on only one thing. So, if you drink beer on Friday, don’t have desert. If you have churros and chocolate on Saturday, stick to vodka sodas. If a host offers you food on Sunday, have a bit of everything but don’t then have another meal (snacks can become your meal). If you have a late meal, walk home instead of taking a cab.
    2. Just walk more. One of the biggest things I took away from my time in Spain was that my feet can take me a lot further than I thought. 3km might seem far, but it’s only about 30 min walking at a quick pace and you get your daily recommended fitness at the same time. If you were to drive that distance in a congested city it would take you 15-20 min and cost you $10, so walking saves you $10 and you gain only 10 min of time while losing the opportunity to burn extra calories. It helps that Spain is architecturally interesting most everywhere you go, but in North America we have iPhones, podcasts and other distractions too. 🙂 All the walking in a day really adds up. I wouldn’t be surprised if Spanish women are walking 2x as much as North American women on average.

    One quick plug (it’s on topic) – I’m a founder for a walking/running game for iPhone (soon Android) called It’s a social game like Foursquare where you battle for turfs by walking and running around town so that being active becomes a fun, social game. I’d love to hear what Spaniards think of it (it’s most popular in Boston and San Francisco right now).

  6. Katie O'Grady
    November 17, 2014

    A great read!

    I lived in Salamanca, Spain for my Junior year of college in the early ’90’s and can relate to what you say!


    Katie O’Grady

  7. Avatar
    November 11, 2014

    I agree totally, your diet of natural “live” foods such as fruit, nuts and olive oils are what keeps your figure, hair and skin so beautiful. Processed foods make your cells in your body go crazy and confuses your Cells and hormones. Your body does not know what to do with all those unnatural chemicals so it turns it into fat cells and stores it for later in your tissues. After years and years of storing in your body it dangerously destroys your health and wrecks your natural beauty. Spanish women are the most beautiful women their diet and genetics play a big part in it. Plus their upkeep of themselves too plays a big part.

  8. Avatar
    Laura Schmidt
    August 24, 2014

    HI. Thank you for the compliments. I am not used to Americans complimenting the Spanish or maybe it is because many of them assume we are hispanics and they do not seem to like them.

    I can tell you that I am from Madrid and I am naturally thin. I am thin because I never, never, never eat junk food or sweets. When I am depressed, I do not eat.

    If you were to come to my house, you would see that I only have beans, fruit, vegetables, nuts. My husband makes meat and I eat it.

    We were not raised with much butter. WE mainly use olive oil and garlic in our cooking to flavor and this contributes to the thin body. We do not really eat that many sweets. Most Spanish women do not like sweets the way American women do. We were not conditioned to like sweets and we never put sugar in anything we cook unless it is a sweet.

    Basically, our diet is the reason that we can eat what we want and not gain weight. Truly it is the diet. I have lived in the US and see what is given to children here and it is a crime. No one here knows how to eat. They do not like fish, unless it is fried, they put ranch on their salad when they should just use vinegar and olive oil, and they eat dessert every day and all the time. We have fruit for dessert.

    I also do not eat that many carbs.

    I do not suffer to eat the way I do, because this is the way I was conditioned to eat fromt he beginning.

    If yo look at what they feed the kdis here in daycare it is a disgrace. They put sugar in everything and ruin it, fry everythin, do not use olive oil, put ranch on salads…..they ruin the food and make it so that little kids grow up with this horrible habit of eating very unhealthy food that is not really good.

    It is the way we have traditionally eaten and eat. I still get together with Spanish women and if we snack it is on olives, chorizo…………….

    The hair, I do not know. I have terrible hair but you are right, Spanish women are so smart about keeping their houses very clean, organized and keeping themselves looking great. They have great taste and are actually quite hardworking, so maybe that perfect hair took a lot of time……..

    I definitley have terrible hair and need to learn from them… that department…….

    • Avatar
      May 5, 2016

      I am Spanish too and raised in Australia. My Spanish roots are from Galicia, and when I was living at home I used to eat fish, prawns, langostinas, pork, poultry, and a little red meat. I hardly ate bread except in the morning, but we always always ate potatoes dressed in olive oil, salads, pulses and a little dairy. There were always bowls of fruit on the kitchen table, nuts for snacking and wheat stick crackers if you got hungry. For years I was thin, energetic and my skin was always flawless. Then I moved out and started to eat like my Australian friends. I added dairy and cream to my daily diet, a lot more red meat, soft drinks, toast any time of the day, cereal and milk any time of the day, cakes and biscuits with every cappuccinos, chocolates, lollies and office snacks – you get the idea.

      My fruit intake almost disappeared, and my nuts and legumes intake were practically non existent. I weighed myself consistently and every year there were about an extra 10 kilos added. To ‘ fix’ the problem I tried to go ‘ low carb’ which basically meant more saturated fat and meat, but then my health started to decline.

      It wasn’t until early this year that I decided to go back to my cultural roots. I’m slowly losing the weight. My visceral fat is going down considerably and my subcutaneous fat is now pinchable! Trust me, when you sub-cutaneous fat isn’t pinchable, you have a very ugly body. I realise now that the food of my ancestors is the right way to go and I completely detest the Americanised diet insanity that has gripped the western world. I have an enormous appetite that is slowly being curbed naturally with real nutrients from real food.

  9. Patricia Sainz de Rozas
    Patricia Sainz de Rozas
    July 25, 2014

    Nice post Sarah! I really enjoyed your observations about Spanish women as I believe they are all true. I am from Madrid, but have lived abroad since a young age and travelled to many countries in Europe, America and Asia. The more places I go, the more I realize that Spanish women are among the most beautiful in the World, no doubt!
    In my opinion I´ll say that we really care about how we look. Spanish people in general are all about fashion and follow the trends of the moment. We have the best low-cost fashion industry for a reason.
    Spaniards love food, but we eat the right food. (I´ll say Spanish food is the best in the World too!) The reason we have such good genetics is because the Mediterranean diet have been with us for centuries and its the healthiest diet you can have. We eat many fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, lean meats and olive oil. (This last one may have something to do with our great hair and skin.) We like the natural look better, that’s why our hair look so nice, because we don´t treat it excessively like American girls do!
    It is true not a whole lot of girls work out because they don´t need it but a lot of us do it, to stay in shape and for fun too. More and more people (men and women) are practicing outdoor and indoor sports in comparison with last decade. I am very athletic as I have always loved practicing outdoor activities. I am a runner myself and love jogging in parks and trails, and I see many female runners wherever I go.
    As for the perfect legs Ill tell you a secret: Spanish women barely ever shave, we always use wax!!!

  10. Avatar
    June 22, 2014

    I am spanish living in Northern Spain from andalousian background, a sporty woman but I avoid to exercise outdoors if my husband is not joining me because I am tired of the insistent male harassment, either locals or migrants. It is like to live in an Arabic country sometimes, even if things are better in large northern cities like Barcelona -not a lot if you are beautiful-. It doesn’t matter if you are beautiful, ugly, cover yourself from head to toes or you wear a sexy top. The secret is to exercise at home, walking a lot (you will be less harassed) or to workout in private sports clubs. Thanks by your funny blog.

  11. Avatar
    January 7, 2014

    I’m a spanish 18 year old girl, like Maria. And I must admit that at first I was very shoked at your post because I don’t really think of us, spanish girls, like that. But then, thinking about it everything you said applies to me, well, not everything, but I’m skinny, I don’t run, I sacrifice myself for fashion (nothing crazy) and I like thinking I have nice hair, at least people tell me so. But to be honest, this is not everyone and the fact that I’m thin is purely metabolism, I inherited it from my mum. And the hair thing, just as Maria said, I believe it’s just that we keep it natural. Not everyone, of course, but specially the younger women/girls, try to keep it natural and tend to grow it long, which looks nice (in my opinion). Also, most of spanish woman have very full hair, I guess it’s in the genes. But seriouslly, we’re nothing special. And thank you for your thoughts, you seem a very positive and lovely girl. 🙂

  12. Avatar
    December 15, 2013

    I am a spanish 18 year old girl and I lived in ireland for a year so I knew more or less that people from other countries thought that we were good looking and all that but I found really funny the thing you said about running haha I am not as lucky as many spanish girls so I put on weight very easily. Thats why I always go to the gym and I eat the typical mediterranean diet, which is the healthiest ( when I went to ireland I put so much weight on because of the food) but after coming back I got my normal weight very quick. And the thing you say about our hair.. I dont know about other countries, but in Ireland girls always straight their hairs and dye them so that damages their hair so much. They always ask how my hair was so nice and i always answered the same ” is 100% natural, never dye it, never straight it” . So as you see there is always an answer, our hair and our bodies are not a mystery!

  13. Avatar
    September 7, 2011

    Hi there!

    Sarah, your entry is sooooo funny! I never thought tourists/foreign residents see us specially thin or elegant (wow!)
    Well, there’re women runners, of course! but not as much as men. We prefer going to a gym and enjoy a little bit of sauna/swimming pool after our work-outs. With all, not a lot of girls go to a gym. Not because any social or cultural issue, just because emmmm weight isn’t a problem. The times I used to work out were more for having fun and meeting new people than staying in shape.

    I’m sure you have noticed that food here, even if great in quantity, is always made from natural ingredients, not over-processed, never from frozen products, always use olive oil… Unfortunately, things are changing and the young generations are eating more and more over-processed foods from fast-food chains and too many industrial cakes, with their industrial fats and sugars. You know, a burger or a pie made at home or in a traditional restaurant with natural ingredients has nothing to do (nutritional and caloric-wise) with those made in fast food chains.

    About the hairstyle… wow, I have never noticed! I just thought we were very casual!

    Again, thank you for your kind words about us!
    I hope you had/you’re having a nice stay here.

  14. Avatar
    July 10, 2011

    Not sure how they do it cos whenever im in Spain im getting food from all angles, I order a drink I get free food, I go to someones house im scoffing more food, I go home and my Spanish girl is making me food. The UK is like rehab for me now, I have to pay for every meal in the UK and its normally rubbish food too 🙂

  15. Tali
    March 28, 2011

    I had the same experience in Israel. All the Israeli girls seemed to eat a ton of sandwiches with chocolate spread but didn’t gain a pound. So unfair!

    Did you ever ask a Spanish woman what their deal is?

    • Avatar
      May 14, 2013

      Hi im Spanish and i must say that im skinny by nature, ehich means that my mother, grandmother and great grandmother have had slim and thin bodies without working out, that might be because of two things: the first one, the metabolism and the way you body works and gets the energy from the meals, and secondly the diet. The mediterranean food is condider the healthiest and by far the most tasty one and it helps you to have a slim body.
      Although i disagree with the fact that gis dont go running i must say that we do exetcise but indoors: gyms are often our place and when the weather gets better and the summer arrives, many girls in my hometown go running aorund the parks. To reach that perfect bikini body forthe summer 🙂

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