For this challenge, we're going to practice what the Okinawans refer to as 'Hara Hachi Bu'. Or eat until you're just 80% full.
The logic behind this practice is simple. It can take up to 20 minutes for the brain to fully recognize it has enough food. So when you think you're 80% full, you're actually full. But if we eat until we're 100% full, we're just overeating.
For the Okinawans, this rule (coupled with an active lifestyle) has helped them maintain a healthy weight and keeps them very healthy - they have one of the longest lifespans in the world.
This challenge may not apply to all, but for many of us, we've been conditioned to finish everything on our plate - even if we're full. This mindless eating disconnects us from our body's natural satiety signals. When you keep the 80% rule in mind, it causes you to eat mindfully. To ask yourself during your meals: Do I really need another bite? Or am I compulsively eating?
So now that you know what this concept is all about, how can you implement it in your own diet plan? Here are some tips:
First, start putting your fork down between bites of food. This will help to slow down the eating process, giving your brain a chance to recognize when it's full.
In addition, make sure that you never eat your meals when rushed. Aim to be relaxed and give yourself at least 30 minutes from start to finish.
Start dishing up smaller serving sizes. Rather than dishing yourself up a full plate of food, fill your plate half full. Then, once you're finished, pause for five to ten minutes before deciding whether you'll go in for seconds. That way you won't feel guilty for not finishing.
Save Some For Tomorrow
Leaving 20% of your food would be wasteful. Instead, you could save the rest as leftovers for lunch the next day.
If you naturally eat fast without paying attention, try eating with chopsticks. You'll probably end up eating much slower, and as a result will recognize when you should stop.
1 Meal A Day
Don't do this for every single meal. Instead just pick a single meal such as lunch, and aim to eat until you're 80% full. See how you feel afterwards.