Many of my clients come to me with questions about calories. Should I be counting them? How much is too much? They want to eat the right amount. This is a reasonable desire.
But here’s the deal—I can’t tell you what is the right amount because I’m not in your body. I don’t know how long it’s been since you last ate, how much exercise you’ve done in the past 12 hours, and I don’t know what sounds appetizing to you! Protein, fat, and carbohydrate requirements per meal are highly individual.
I coach my clients to get out of their heads and into their bodies at meal time. I encourage them to follow the Okinawan principle hara hachi bu. This phrase translates roughly to “stop eating when 80% full.” Said another way, stop eating not when you are full, but when you are no longer hungry. This is a great way to calibrate your internal satiety monitor. Practicing hara hachi bu keeps you from overeating and increases your energy and mental alertness between meals.
I also encourage my clients to chew their food before swallowing. As many chews as you possibly can! Put your fork down between bites. The meditative quality of chewing slows your breath and calms stress hormones. Also, breaking down food in your mouth and mixing it with saliva makes it much easier to digest— the mushier your food is, the less work your stomach has to do.
You’re the only one with the answer. Trust yourself, breathe, chew your food, do the dishes and move on with your life.
Xo, Summer Simone