As I enter my 3rd week of hara hachi bu, the Okinawan practice of eating to 80% fullness, I am humbly aware that this is one practice I am far from mastering. However, this is not a bad thing by any means. To the contrary, my attention has been brought into my body with respect and attention in terms of food consumption like never before. It is very possible that for the past 2 weeks I have not once actually stopped eating at 80% full, but I have regularly stopped way before I would have previously.
Being that since I can remember, I have been a compulsive overeater, this is HUGE! I am so used to eating beyond full, that I haven’t really had an awareness of where full is, let alone 80% full. With every meal, and snack, and drink more attention is brought into if I am actually hungry, how I will feel if I partake in that food or drink, what am I craving and why, and if it is not authentic hunger, I am left sitting (often uncomfortably) with those feelings to ponder and acknowledge.
All I can say is YES! This feels like THE practice to practice for life! Out of all of my “agreements” to this point hara hachi bu is the one that brings me into the greatest level of self awareness, respect and seems to touch the the basic physical expression of the underlying issues holding me from an awareness of liberation. I know that (for me) overeating is the outward expression of emotional disturbances and a mechanism to keep me from facing them. Hara hachi bu is not the answer, but it gives me room to find a new way to unfold and understand my inner workings, while supporting my health, well being, longevity and peace of mind.
In general I’ve been feeling much lighter, full of energy, and not at all tired after meals. I’ve more energy to play with Hodie and I NEVER feel full, but I do feel satisfied. My biggest challenges have come during the holidays (we just went through Passover), and during the Jewish holidays a large meal is central to the observance and celebration. Those meals were the only ones where I felt like I went a bit over my limit and still, I ate much lighter than I would have otherwise. So in general I walked away with a feeling of accomplishment and joy.
Hara hachi bu is a practice that I highly recommend to everyone. Whether one is eating the cleanest greenest diet on the planet or not, if we are overeating we are taxing our system, and if we are not waiting for about 20 minutes after feeling sufficient but not full we don’t really know if we are full or not.
I just read an article on a blog called “Healthy Compromises” called “Do you Hara Hachi Bu? Understanding the art of eating until 80% full”. I found the article to be very informative and further inspired my enthusiasm in this practice. Take a look at that article and perhaps you too will feel inspired to hara hachi bu for you!
Thanks for joining me, and please let me know if you choose to hara hachi bu, or if you do something similar already, how is your practice? I would love to be a support and to be of mutual encouragement.