The 4 Japanese Secrets of Weight Loss
Perhaps one of the reasons that the Japanese are such a long-lived society is that they are one of the world’s fittest populations. Eating a diverse, healthy diet filled with vegetables and fresh fish and low in carbs and fats is integral to their success. So are these 4 healthy habits.
- Sipping soup In Japan, a broth-based soup is eaten at almost every meal. Packed with nutrients, it helps you feel fuller and consume fewer calories. Try enjoying a bowl of miso soup at every meal. You can find easy recipes online or pick up packets of instant miso soup at your local health food store or Asian market.
- Portion distortion In the US, we like to pile our food on big plates and feel like we have a plentiful meal ahead of us. In Japan, the opposite is true. The Japanese serve their food in small, separate plates and dishes arranged in a way that is spare and pleasing to the eye. That way part of the satisfaction you get from the meal is from how it looks, not just how much you eat. By moving slowly from dish to dish, eating mindfully and pacing yourself, it will be easier to follow the wise Japanese admonition: “eat until you’re 80% full.”
- Chowing with chopsticks Ever tried to get a big bite of food to your mouth with chopsticks? It doesn’t matter how skilled you are with these Eastern eating utensils, you can’t do it. Using chopsticks forces you to slow down, eat deliberately, and take smaller mouthfuls of food, resting in between bites and giving your stomach time to tell your brain that it is getting full. Try eating with chopsticks for a week. If you find it too frustrating after that, you can return to a fork, but your week of chopstick practice will help you learn how to slow down and eat more deliberately. If you love it, stick with it!
- Relishing rice In Japan, plain rice (no salt or butter) accompanies most every meal. They prefer short-grain white rice, which is lower on the glycemic index (meaning your body takes longer to convert it to sugar), and helps you feel satisfied for longer. Even better is brown rice, a whole grain rich in good-for-you fiber. So try adding a small bowl of short-grain brown rice to meals and see how it helps you feel fuller and eat less.