Finally Getting in Shape: The Japanese Rule to a Healthy Diet

I’m no biohacker, but I have a profound interest in nutrition, food, and how we can optimize our health and well-being. So of course, I always read and watch a lot of videos on new research surrounding diets like the ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, paleo, and anything else that claims to be the key to optimizing our health.

  • Typical meal: Broccoli (boiled), 3 eggs, pan-roasted edamame with chili garlic and cumin, bread, hummus, and an apple, with lots of water.
  • 72 Hours: I am finding that I am SCARFING down all of my meals, because I am so hungry. I would feel incredibly full after lunch or dinner, but find myself really hungry again after an hour. I consider that I am not eating enough calorie-dense foods. Will add more bread and butter to my meals. Generally, I feel pretty good about what I’m doing and can see myself continuing this long-run with a few adjustments.
  • 5 Days: I am still hungry all of the time, even after adding more calorie-dense foods to my meals. I have a constant headache, feel groggy, and emotionally don’t feel so good. I will go from feeling great to feeling really low, and am looking forward to the end of the week. I also find myself constantly thinking about food, even while I’m eating.
  • 7 Days: Let this end.
  • Negative emotions
  • Fatigue
  • Grogginess
  • Thinking about food all of the time

So what is the correct way to eat?

How do we take control of our diet and optimize our health and well-being for the long run? For years, I’ve been following a single rule that has been a staple value in my house that I have found is the only one that works for me. It’s not intermittent fasting, it’s not keto, and it’s not paleo. Not only has my single rule helped me lose weight, but it’s improved my mood, energy, and overall well-being. It’s something my mother had taught me, and the whole of Japan knows about it too. It’s called: Harahachi-bunme

A typical Japanese teishoku meal

How to practice Harahachi-bunme

Basic guidelines behind the principle

  • By focusing on these kinds of foods, you will not only stop hunger pangs, but you will also lose the desire to mindlessly eat. Preventing overindulgence will not be a test of willpower, but will become a natural response.
  • Is it really that simple? Shouldn’t you think about the composition of your macros? How about how these foods are cooked? Should it be raw or boiled or baked or pan-fried? This over-excessive thinking is what leads to extreme diets. Our bodies are thoughtful and well-run machines, and there is no need to obsessively consider these details. Trust your body, it will respond appropriately.
  • Tracking micro details won’t really be sustainable in the long-run, unless you really enjoy dedicating mental energy to thinking about food in this sort of manner (and some people do!). For most of us though, just focus on consuming whole foods, limit your refined carbs, and your body will know the rest.
  • There are no concrete rules to how you will know when you’re 80% full, but as a guideline, I like to eat slowly, and wait at least 30 minutes after eating a full meal to determine how I feel. Everyone has different lifestyles and body compositions, so it may be difficult to determine what this looks and feels like at first. But be patient, feel in tune with what your body is telling you, and if it’s signaling hunger, eat. If it’s telling you nothing, don’t eat.

Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: 🌱

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