Have you ever thought about what steps you can take to live longer and feel better about yourself? Do you often wonder what’s the secret which causes some people to live to over 100 years old, while others fall way short? What do they know that you don’t know? Well….the solution may not be as difficult as you think. This article sets out to show you that it is very possible to live longer feel better and enjoy life to the fullest if you adopt certain good practices.
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Studies on Longevity
Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow, and award-winning journalist and producer, discovered the five places in the world, called Blue Zones, where people live the longest and healthiest lives. In fact, he wrote a book about it, called “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from The People Who’ve Lived The Longest”.
In one of his articles, Buettner wrote that Okinawans (an East Asian ethnic group native to the Ryuku Islands and Okinawa Islands of Japan), specialize in a very effective weight loss trick that’s so simple and easy that anyone can try it. It goes like this……when you feel as though your belly is 80 percent full, just stop eating. That’s it. Full stop!
You won’t actually be leaving your belly 20 percent empty and walking away from the table hungry. Instead, you will be putting your fork down at exactly the right time. Although it sounds simple enough, many people find this hard to do.
Buettner mentions that research from Harvard University shows that “it takes roughly 15 minutes for your brain to register” that it actually is full. “In other words, if you stop eating when you think you’re 80 percent full, you’re likely actually 100 percent full (you just don’t know it yet),”. This makes a lot of sense.
Okinawans refer to this eating discipline as “hara hachi bu,” a Japanese phrase which translates to: “Eat until you are eight parts (out of ten) full” or “belly 80 percent full”. They will say this phrase aloud before every meal as a reminder to stop eating at the moment when they’re feeling 80 percent full.
Obesity and Calorie Intake Trend
According to the World Health Organization, worldwide obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2020, despite obesity being very preventable. The hara hachi bu practice could definitely be useful in reducing this trend. The reality however is that people generally eat too much.
Not surprisingly, calorie intake has also been on the rise over the last 2 or more decades. If you find that you’re simply consuming too many calories and you’d like to live longer feel better and have improved health, consider giving hara hachi bu a try. Additionally, read below for our mindful eating tips that you can use on your longevity conquest. And for more great advice to help you reach any weight loss goals you may have (a comfortable weight and long life go hand in hand), make sure you check out some of our weight loss articles.
Without further ado, here are our 7 tips.
7 Tips to Long Life
1. Sit Down to Eat
Although you may burn more calories when you stand up, sitting down to eat is definitely the better option. Why? Scientific evidence suggests that staying seated while you chew your food will result in you likely eating your food more deliberately. When you eat more slowly, your chances of overeating are greatly diminished. By aiding in appetite control, eating slowly can also positively contribute to a lower risk of obesity.
2. Do Not Eat While Distracted
I’m sure you’ve heard this before…that it’s a bad idea to be using your phone or watching the television while you’re eating. Although you may have previously dismissed this advice, if you think about it for a second, you will see why it makes sense.
If you are using your phone and/or watching TV and therefore distracted while eating, you are all but guaranteed to consume more food. The reason: You’ll keep eating without realizing when you’re feeling full.
A study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that people who bring their phones to the dinner table use them for about 11 percent of the meal. Keeping your phone in your pocket or away from you while you eat will ensure that you’re more present with your meal. And it will also make you enjoy it better.
3. Be Sure to Use Proper Plates and Forks When You Can
Professor Jane Ogden and her researchers from the University of Surrey examined the impact of labelling food products as ‘snacks’ or ‘meals’. Participants were asked to eat a pasta pot which was either labelled as a ‘snack’ or a ‘meal.’ Each pot was presented as a ‘snack’ (eaten standing up from a plastic pot with a plastic fork) or a ‘meal’ (seated at a table from a ceramic plate and metal fork).
The research demonstrated that those who had eaten pasta labelled as a ‘snack’ from a pasta pot ate more at the taste test than when it had been labelled as a ‘meal’ and presented in a ceramic pot. It was also found that those who ate the ‘snack’ standing up consumed more than those who had eaten the pasta sitting down at a table. This result indicates that when food is considered a snack rather than a meal, you will be tempted to eat more, particularly when you’re standing rather than sitting while eating your food.
You should therefore try as best as possible to eat your food on a proper plate and use a proper fork when you can. You’ll be more likely to eat less this way.
4. Eat with Your Other Hand
Eating food with your non-dominant hand may be somewhat uncomfortable for you but is definitely worth the effort. Doing so will ensure that you eat more slowly and healthfully. Your mind might also be tricked into feeling fuller faster, just to avoid the discomfort of continuing to eat with your “other” hand.
5. Ask Yourself If You Really Are Hungry
Whenever you feel like eating, it’s a good practice to pause and ask yourself if you truly are hungry, and then choose how you’ll respond. Sometimes you really aren’t hungry, and probably just thirsty.
You should always aim to eat mindfully with intention and attention. This means to eat with the intention of feeling better when you’re finished eating than you did when you just started. It also means to eat with your full attention on the food and your body for optimal enjoyment and satisfaction.
6. Drink Plenty Water
I know you’ve heard this before, but its worth repeating. Drink lots of water!
Some experts advise that you drink the classic eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, while others say to take your body weight, divide it in half and drink that many ounces. Irrespective of which advice is more accurate, what we do agree on is that drinking water—lots of water—is a must-have healthy habit, especially for longevity.
Water is our body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 perfect of our body weight. Water should be our drink of choice over sugary, calorie-laden drinks. Water can also help your body maintain a normal temperature, lubricate and cushion joints, protect the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and get rid of waste. Need I say more?
7. Think Positive
Our thoughts are powerful, so be sure to pay attention to yours. Do you often encourage yourself with positivity or hold yourself back with negativity?
Positive thinking can have many advantages, including increased life span, lower rates of depression, greater resistance to the common cold and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
If you find yourself constantly thinking negative thoughts, try hanging your favorite uplifting quotes on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Or try coming up with a positive mantra that you can repeat to yourself whenever you feel negativity swirling in your head.
Make it a goal each day to be more positive than the day before. A happier life is a longer one!
And there you have it….the 7 simple tips to live longer feel better and add many more years to your life. I hope you’ve found them enlightening and thought provoking.
Rather than just reading about them, I want you to take action on what you’ve learned. Also, please leave me a comment below to let me know what you think about these 7 tips or about the hara hachi bu principle. I would certainly like to know.