Just back from Japan and it’s time to spill all the “soy” beans on how the Japanese stay naturally slim across their culture.
I was intrigued by everyone there and as a weight loss coach, I wanted to know more about how they approached their eating habits, diet, and life that gave them the outcome I saw everywhere we went.
I didn’t have to look too far, as we had two lovely female guides during our time there and they were happy to answer all of my questions. Read through these juicy seven secrets and then I saved the best for last as to what you can do today to start applying them exactly where you are.
Q: How many meals a day to you guys eat and do you snack?
Secret #1: We enjoy three meals a day without snacking. We eat a much larger variety of food and a lot less quantity with each meal. We aim to use whole ingredients (meaning it’s not processed coming out of a box, can, or made in a factory) in our cooking and food choices.
Q: What do you observe about our American culture as you take people on tours?
Secret #2: I see a constant need for snacking. Even though we have great lunches planned out as part of the tour, people want to stop for snacks in between meals and also for soft drinks. I see diet coke and coke zero being very popular.
We don’t snack and drink soft drinks. We believe in allowing our body to rest in between meals and having three meals, will enable you to look forward to the meal and get hungry for it. Snacking takes away from really enjoying three meals a day, and you have to keep eating or stopping to eat regularly.
Q: What do you typically drink in your culture?
Secret #3: We enjoy water or green tea without sugar. We believe that food is the star of the show, so we don’t drink soft drinks or sweetened drinks to take away from the diet. Plus, we believe if you offer juices or sweet things to kids, then they develop a sweet tooth much quicker because they are used to something sweet on a very regular basis.
Same goes for diet coke or coke zero. We believe that a sweet drink, even though it is a diet, makes you crave more sweets.
Q: What else would you say about your eating?
Secret #5: We are very mindful when we eat. What I mean by that is that we focus on one task at hand. This is the Buddhist mentality in us as well. It becomes that each task that we do including eating can become a very meditative practice when you allow your mind to focus on just that. Your mind splits when it’s doing several things. You will never see us walking and eating, or driving and eating. We always sit at the table and enjoy our food.
Q: What did your grandparents and parents pass down to you?
Secret #6: In Japan, we are taught by our family to eat until you are 80% content. There’s a name for it that we have it’s “Hara hachi bun me.” We never get full but enough food so we are energized.
We are taught to give thanks and not to be greedy, so you’ll see us leave food on our plates because of that and eating till we are at 80% content.
Q: What about your food, do you cook at home or eat out?
Secret #7: We eat whole foods. We don’t eat processed, and we take the time to cook meals at home. We do eat out, but it’s usually at lunchtime.
I want you to take these Japanese Pearls and apply them to where you are in your eating one pearl at a time.
My biggest recommendation is to start eating three meals a day without snacking and know that it will be uncomfortable at first as you are building a new habit. Be patient and don’t give up till you allow for at least two months of doing this and observe your results then. People quit because the brain talks them into pressing the easy button.
I want you to know that you can do hard things and it will build in you something that you can apply not only to your weight loss, but you’ll start showing you self just how capable you are.
I believe in you and living out your fullest potential while weighing less!
Here are the beginner steps:
Aim for three meals a day and eat them without multi-tasking.
1. Take a deep breath in and out.
2. Are you truly hungry? Yes or No
3. Focus on the single task of eating if you are hungry.
4. Start with gratitude in the form of silent thankful prayer. The Japenese have a saying “I humbly receive this food and thank you.” The food is a gift of nourishment, energy, and pleasure.
5. Chew each bite and pay attention to how your body is responding.
6. Pause ¼, half/way, ¾ through and tune in.
7. Are you still hungry?
8. Stop at 75/80% where you are feeling light and energized. Leave food if you are energized and know that it will be left on the plate or stored as extra on your body. You decide where you want to store it.