Okinawa, an island region in southern Japan, is considered to have the highest life expectancy in the world, with many of its residents living past 100 years of age.
Diet is of course closely related to this phenomenon, and Okinawans have adopted a lifestyle known as Hara Hachi Bu. Its philosophy is very simple: it consists in avoiding filling the stomach completely and to stop eating when the stomach has reached 80% of its capacity.
Dr. Vicente Mera spoke of this, having personally traveled to Japan to study this healthy way of approaching daily eating. As he explains, in Okinawa “they are slim and live longer”. which has a lot to do with the widespread practice of Hara Hachi Bu.
Many people make the mistake of eating until they are full or at least satiated, but according to Dr. Mera, the key to this method is to “eat and stay a little hungry. He also makes an analogy with how we use our economy: if we never spent more than 80 percent of the income we have, “we would always have money to spend on a whim or need,” as he explains in his book, “We can't afford to spend more than 80 percent of our income. as he explains in his recent book Joven a cualquier edad (Young at any age).
If we pay attention to the number of calories we consume in relation to what we should consume, and set it at 80%, we reserve the remaining 20% for those occasional moments when we can go overboard without gaining weight. In this way, not only do we stay slim and take care of our weight, but we are also happy to indulge in the occasional sweet treat, as long as it is in moderation, of course.
Tips for this habit
Mera himself recommends that his overweight patients practice Hara Hachi Bu and gives some tips on how to do so. As he explains, one of the simplest and most effective ways is simply to eliminate appetizers or desserts from our diet at lunch and dinner, dishes that usually account for 20% of our caloric load. In addition, he particularly recommends miso soup, a very popular dish in Japan that is very satiating without being very caloric.
Giving up appetizers or desserts, or eating miso soup, are some of the tricks of the trade.
But if a correct diet is fundamental, it is not the only aspect to take into account to live better, feel good and not get fat. In his book Young at any age, Vicente Mera also talks about the importance of exercising, sleeping well and managing our emotions correctly to have a chance of becoming a centenarian.
For example, he recommends getting 50 hours of sleep a week, although if we don't reach that number, we shouldn't let it get us down, and doing a balanced physical exercise that includes both cardio and strength training.