This a popular advice comes from the Blue Zone in Okinawa, where they even have an own saying for this: “Hara Hachi Bu”.
People in Okinawa are one of the healthiest people in the world, often living into their 90s or 100s without any disease and full of energy. They actually have the highest live expectancy worldwide.
Eating until you are 80% full makes sense, but most of the western world has forgotten this advice when they were kids. Normally when you are a kid, your parents tell you to empty your plate, otherwise, there won’t be any dessert.
That’s one of the worst incentives for children. Tell them to keep eating even if they are full, so they will get their dessert.
What we should tell them instead: “Eat until you will full or stop right before that”.
That’s also the advice we should incorporate into our lives, but only eating until you are 80% full can be quite hard. For years, we’ve been eating until we fell into a food coma.
Every time you eat too much food, your stomach expands and over time needs more food to feel full.
This advice goes hand in hand with the previous one of “Eating slowly”. It takes around 20 minutes for your stomach to send the signals to your brain that you are full. In order to avoid overeating, you should eat slowly and see how you are feeling while you are eating.
Rebooting your brain to eating less food will take some time, but you can do it. For the next two weeks, you could eat only half of what you usually eat and see how you feel.
Following this simple rule will lead to fewer consumed calories and less overeating, which will be especially helpful if you want to lose weight or, at least, don’t gain any weight.
Be mindful of your food and listen to the feelings in your body. Eat slowly and stop as soon as you a feeling 80% full. Also, stop when you plate is still full. When you are eating at home you can save the food for a later meal.
Focusing on and increasing the quality of your food instead of the quantity is a good way to live this rule.
You won’t find your personal 80% mark in the next meal but start to think about it and experiment with it, especially if you want to lose weight or prevent weight gain. It doesn’t require any gym membership or fancy nutrition coach to implement this into your day-to-day.
Take a small step each day into the 80% direct. Remember: “Step-by-step you get ahead…”
Steps to take:
- Consciously choose a smaller plate next time you eat or put less food on your plate. You can always get a second serving, remember that!
- Be conscious while eating. Think about how your stomach feels and how full you feel. Doing this over time will make you more aware of your own fullness factor.