How are Spanish Women So Thin and Gorgeous?

March 28, 2011
How are Spanish Women So Thin and Gorgeous.

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.

How are Spanish Women So Thin and Gorgeous?

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?

Related Reading

Spanish Culture: Machismo Dominated Social Attitudes

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


About Sarah Crocker

Sarah Crocker attended Northwestern University and studied abroad in Seville.

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

  1. L
    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. Estella
    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. carlos
    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. Spakra
    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. 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).

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