You are what you eat. We know this, so it dictates for many, what we should eat. But the next step is to evaluate how much you eat. Those of us in more disciplined households know it's best not to over eat. But what does that really mean?
Raise your hand if you were told to eat everything on your plate to not waste food or eat all your food, there are starving kids in Ethiopia! My parents grew up very poor so they have this crazy notion that eating everything prevents food waste. In fact, my mom's family, all 12 of them, have the same ideology about food. When there is a family reunion, no matter how long that potato salad was out in the sun, they take it home or eat it. I was taught the same. At home, I don't do it, but for some reason, when it comes to restaurants, I feel the need to eat it all. Probably because eating out was a luxury so if I order out and don't eat it, it's like throwing money in the garbage disposal. But is it? Perhaps the real waste was that I ordered something bigger than I could or should eat. It's not like eating or not eating it undoes the expense, put the cow back together or the corn back on the cob. Right? But I think the Okinawans got it right!
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to eat with an Okinawan elder, you’ve invariably heard them intone this Confucian-inspired adage before beginning the meal: hara hachi bu — a reminder to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. This cultural practice of calorie restriction and mindful eating is part of the reason that Okinawa has a higher percentage of centenarians than anywhere else in the world. (BlueZones)
They are also known to cultivate their own food, gardening. Gardening for Life! talks about the benefits.
I decided to hire a health coach and she gave me a few simple changes to make but I am adding a 4th which piggy backs on the Okinawan lifestyle because I am committed to the things I learned in the Centurian documentary.
1) Track my food with a food diary (to be cognizant of what I really eat)
2) Do 5-10 minutes of exercise daily (to be an outlet to manage stress and avoid excuses)
3) Take an inventory of prepackaged foods and make note of the calories, fats, and salts. (we'll be talking about the effects it is having on weight gain)
4) Hara Hachi Bu.
In fact, starting today, I will be saying that before every meal (or snack) and take 2-3 minutes to close my eyes, think of what I am about to eat, and think of the changes I want in my life.
While some believe in big steps and changes, others believe in small steps in the right direction. I think overall I am making big strides but small in different areas. I know what I am and am not capable of. I need these changes, por vida!
Two other related blogs from this 3 part series of things I'm serious about.