Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hara Hachi Bu

I have a coworker who makes it a known fact that she dislikes exercise and strenuous activity of any kind. When the ladies in her department go for their daily walk she always refuses to join in, preferring to remain inside eating her lunch and reading her book. She doesn't seem to be overly conscious of eating healthy; her lunch usually consists of macaroni and cheese, noodles in a Styrofoam cup or leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, yet she maintains her weight. I have always wondered how she does this; if I miss even one week of exercise my weight shoots up a pound or two.

At a recent retirement party, I sat next to this coworker and must say I am now onto her secret. After eating only half her plate of food, she pushed the uneaten portion aside claiming she was full. She did eat one small appetizer and a half a piece of cake, but only because others forced it upon her. In comparison, I ate five or six appetizers, my entire plate of food and a whole piece of cake.

So there you have it, she is as disciplined with her food as she is with her work. Now that I think about it, I have never witnessed her eating a single treat others have brought into the office and I would know since I am usually the one eating the majority of these treats.

In Okinawa they have a term for this, Hara Hachi Bu, "eat until you're 80 percent full." In addition to maintaining their weight, Okinawans have the lowest rates of heart disease, cancer and stroke - and one of the highest life expectancies - of any population in the world. Stop eating when you feel only slightly full; within 15 minutes you should be satisfied.

I can’t say in the weeks since this party that I have changed my eating habits, but I have become more conscious of portion size and have made small attempts to quit eating before I am full. It’s a start.

Enough said.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great post! I teach fitness and weight management for women and the eat 80% full is part of the teachig that I've learned from studying with Precision Nutrition team.

    I Fitness

    Katherina :)