Live in the body you deserve

6 Ways to Lose Weight in 2020

October 23, 2019

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The other night I was cleaning the kitchen and I mindlessly grabbed some Lily’s dark chocolate from the freezer (yes, put that shit in the freezer it will change your life) and started chewing away. It wasn’t until the third piece that I realized I was so focused on finishing up the kitchen that I wasn’t tasting the chocolate at all.

Eating + doing other things = no bueno

I stopped right then and there, closed my eyes and hello, there’s my delicious, cold but melting, rich and creamy dark chocolate delighting all of my senses. Wow, the difference was night and day.

I’m constantly reminding myself to be conscious when I eat, not only so I don’t overeat but so I truly enjoy the very thing I claim is my favorite activity in the world: chewing.

If I love it so much, I need to pay more attention to it. Read between the lines, house plants.

I find myself in a few different patterns when I need to bring even more awareness to conscious eating.

Here are my rituals for each pattern, none of them are public or take more than a moment. You can do them at home, out with friends, or eating a snack at work. My hope is that every meal is eaten consciously and fully enjoyed, whether it’s a salad or {insert your death row meal here}.


You want to stop overeating.

I was listening to a podcast with longevity expert and author of The Blue Zones book, Dan Buettner. Have you heard of these blue zones? They are the places in the world where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else on earth.

One of these hot spots is Okinawa, Japan. Dan credits some of their longevity to their limited calorie consumption. Hara hachi bu is the Okinawan practice of “eat until you are 80% full.” It’s also a mantra that Okinawan people say before each meal.

Beautiful, right? Duh, right!? So why are our plates always cleared and our pants doing that kinda-rolling-down-on-their-own thing?

When Dan explained that there is a significant calorie gap between when an American says, “I’m full” and an Okinawan says, “I’m no longer hungry,” it really got my wheels turning.

Think about the difference between feeling full and no longer feeling hungry.

  1. How do these two things feel differently?
  2. Can you assign each feeling a number on the hunger scale?
  3. Check-in with yourself before you start the meal (perhaps you take a stab at saying the mantra), halfway through, and at the end.


You want more appreciation and gratitude for your food.

Try this three-part ritual:

  1. Take a deep breath as you look at your plate and assess your current state (harried, bored, excited, etc).
  2. Pick at least one thing on your plate and connect to it. For example, the magic it takes to grow a seed into a cherry tomato, the appreciation of the animal protein on your plate, the fact someone else chopped all these veggies for you... anything!
  3. Then assess your state after eating. The goal is to see food as a gift and allow it to become part of an ongoing gratitude practice. Taking that pause before you eat helps to set the pace of eating (you know, from a hoover down to a shovel and then hopefully to chewing and swallowing).


You want to slow down and enjoy the meal you just spent time and money on, damnit!

Use chopsticks. Consider treating yourself to the cute kind (not what was leftover from your roommate’s takeout). You’re classy and don’t you forget it.

Not chopstick savvy? Commit to swallowing before picking up your next bite. Don’t bother counting how many times you chew, Danny Tanner.


You need to reset whatever funky ass mood you’re in and chill out before eating.

Use the five senses approach. Take a deep breath and notice one thing you see, one thing you hear, one thing you smell, one thing you taste, one thing you feel. It doesn’t take but a few moments but it reconnects you with the present moment and gives you a more introspective lens that you can carry through your meal.


You want to be social, reconnect with people/an event/a cool new restaurant… without blowing it and getting caught up in the moment.

Believe it or not, it’s possible that food isn’t the only part of a meal! Honestly, think about the best meals you’ve ever had. I promise you it’s not just about the food on the plate - it was you in a cute restaurant somewhere, you were with family or friends, it was amazing food paired with a new experience. Food is a big part of a meal, but it’s just a part of it!

  1. Try to connect to at least two or three other things around you before getting tunnel vision on your plate. Look at your plate, then look around…
  2. Connect to people (even if they aren’t at your table): look someone in the eye and smile and feel the connection.
  3. Not with people? Connect to your surroundings. You’re home! Or it’s amazing weather outside! Or you’re in a crappy restaurant and maybe you connect to the waiter who looks like a young you hustling to get some tips! Or you’re burnt out at work but can connect to the mug you got on your honeymoon trip… you get what I mean!


You want to eat junk food… but not make it a bender.

Follow the ritual of the “One Plate Rule.” This is my tactic when I want a bit of everything. Tapas? Holiday party? “Let’s all share crappy food and split the bill” night?

Do the One Plate Rule: eat what you want, but make sure it fits on the size of a small dinner plate. This is going to take some eyeball work, but you can do it. If you want some dessert (¼ plate) then that means your apps are ¼ a plate too. Unless you don’t want ½ a plate of dinner and you’re just doing that apps and zerts life straight up. No judgment, just stick to one plate.

Being aware of what you need, setting an intention for the meal, and creating a ritual helps you diversify the experience of eating. I’m willing to bet you eat 20% less too.

When your food is nourishing you’re on all the levels of fulfillment, that’s the practice of “enough-ness.” Hara Hachi Bu!