Whenever you eat keep in mind that there will be another meal. There is no need to eat as if you’re not sure when the next meal is going to come. Most of us, particularly those who are reading this, are lucky enough to live in a time and place where there will always be another meal. Even if it’s 6 hours away or tomorrow, there will be another meal. We have the resources to make it to the next meal, take advantage of the body’s ability to make it through. You do not need to eat extra just in case there’s a week of famine- don’t forget that.
Japanese have a saying, “Hara hachi bu” which roughly means ‘eat until you’re 80% full’ – a nice guideline to follow that basically equates to common sense. Eat enough to feel satisfied but not to the point of stuffed. Eating past the point of mostly full means you’ll store most of that extra energy, likely as fat.
Think about it this way: Eat about enough to get you to the next meal. If you want to lose weight, eat a little less than you need to get to the next meal. If you want to gain weight or fuel extra activity, then eat a bit more.
If you do overeat, planned or by accident, either don’t eat your next meal as planned or adjust it. As an example, if you go out to lunch you very easily can consume over 1000 calories or more. Think about how long that can fuel a human body. Is it really necessary to eat a normal dinner after a big lunch? Is it necessary to eat dinner at all?
You can also think about snacks in this way. Do you really need a snack between meals, that are often only a few hours apart? I would venture a good guess that very few of us eat so little at a meal (and have so little stored bodyfat) that we need a snack before the next meal.
If you have problems with this concept it tells me that you can’t fuel your body from within. A body should use it’s stored energy when it runs out of ingested food. After a while of this, particularly if stressed and/or active, the body should start sending little hunger signals to eat. This happens over several hours (or days sometimes) and is completely normal. This is how it’s supposed to work- with the amount of energy we can store humans shouldn’t be hungry all the time or a couple hours after a meal. If you are, something is wrong.
Although we have genes that often encourage us to eat like we don’t know when the next meal is coming, we live in a world where we know it’s coming soon and is likely as big as we want it to be. Remember that and you will hara hachi bu your way to great control over your diet, weight and health.
Thanks for reading, have a great day!