Hara Hachi Bu Your Way to Wellness
Hara Hachi Bu is a Japanese term that translates to "eat until 80% full". In the Western world we've been taught from a young age to lick our plates clean after a meal with bribes such as dessert, T.V. time or video games. We often weren't in control of the amount of food that ended up on our plate. Our elders assumed that our appetites were a lot larger than reality and went on to tell us that a clean plate would lead to a reward.
Unfortunately most of us have carried this habit with us into adulthood. We eat past the point of satiation and wind up feeling sick after a meal because that is what we are used to. It's no wonder so many of us have issues with losing weight. The Okinawan's of Japan live by the technique of Hara Hachi Bu and their community have over 3 times the amount of centenarians than those living on the mainland of Japan who follow more of a Western style of eating.
This technique teaches us to be more aware and it shifts our attention from our mind and into our bodies. Consuming less calories is thought to help you live longer, feel more energetic and become less susceptible to common illnesses and diseases. It's when we start over-consuming that real health issues are brought to the surface and we become less efficient as a society.
The idea is not to count your calories but rather listen to your body. It takes the stomach's stretch receptors about 20 minutes to tell the body how full it is. Experiment by cutting your meals in half and take at least 20 minutes to eat. Take breaks to check in with how your body feels, when you start to feel stomach pressure that is a sign that you are 80% full. You may be very surprised at just how little you need to feel satiated.
Another way to know when you should stop is to check in before each bite; when you are no longer interested in your meal your body is satiated and you shouldn't continue to eat. Restaurants are notorious for serving up massive meals that could easily feed a family of 4. When going out to eat it's best to share a few appetizers or a couple mains this way you can try a bit of everything and you are less likely to feel like shit afterwards.
We have every mechanism we need in order to feel good and maintain a healthy weight. We don't need a calorie calculator or someone to tell us how much of each macro-nutrient to consume. Our body is equipped to give us all the signs and signals to keep us feeling good and to help us maintain a figure that our body feels its best at. So eat slow, listen up and Hara Hachi Bu.