Hara Hachi Bu to You!

“Before each meal, she takes a moment to say, ‘hara hachi bu’, and that keeps her from eating too much.”  “Hara hachi bu?” I repeated.  “It’s a Confucian-inspired adage,” Craig chimed in.  “All of the old folks say it before they eat.  It means ‘Eat until you are 80 percent full.'”

This is taken from one of the chapters in the Blue Zones book.  In fact, the chapter on Okinawa.  I thought it would be fun and helpful to give some tips on maintaining calories and, hopefully, most days eating less than we do.

Just for fun, why don’t we all practice “hara hachi bu”.  If we remember to say it before every meal, maybe we will remember to not eat until we are full.

Here are some other tips:

  • This is one I like to use – Always leave food on your plate.  Do not do as your mother used to say and clean your plate.  This is something I try to practice and it works for me.
  • Use smaller plates and bowls – It is definitely true, we eat less when we use smaller plates.
  • Yes, you guessed it – smaller utensils.  Smaller utensils means that you can not shove food into your mouth quickly (which is so unattractive anyway).
  • Practice eating slower – this doesn’t always work, but generally speaking, when we eat slower, we eat less.
  • Maintain good posture while eating.  This, quite frankly, is good etiquette, but it also means that you cannot shovel food into your mouth.
  • Eat a few almonds right before you eat a meal.  You will definitely eat less.
  • Drink a glass of water prior to sitting down for your meal.  You will get just slightly full and not consume as much food.
  • Make sure that you remember to eat your calories and not drink them.  But – this does not mean drinking beverages with artificial sweetener!
  • Do not eat after 7pm – if at all possible.
  • Remember to eat most of your calories in the earlier part of the day.
  • Remember to brush your teeth early instead of waiting right before bedtime.  People who brush their teeth early usually will refrain from eating anything at all after brushing.

In conclusion, bigger is not better.  More is not better.  When it comes to food and calories, play tricks with your mind and your stomach and learn how to feel full instead of being full.  Learn to practice some of these tricks, if not all of them, often and you will definitely find yourself eating less.

Hara hachi bu to you!

One thought on “Hara Hachi Bu to You!

  1. This sounds like a good idea, but if someone is really scared of food and eating and/or has trouble sitting down to eat properly because of scheduling or relationship problems, then I think they need to start by working on feeling in control of food first. If I get to the point where I am able to decide what I like to eat and what I want to eat, the rest will be easy. But to get to that point is a daunting and frightening task

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