How to Accelerate Your Progress
Inside Out Weight Loss
Renee Stephens

Episode 35 - How to Accelerate Your Progress

Learn how the slender Japanese know when to stop eating, and a simple practice to help you do the same. Then we’ll learn what puts the brakes on our progress or can even put us into reverse, and how we can quickly turn things around, to not only self-correct but to accelerate our progress.



Announcer: This program is brought to you by


Renée Stephens: Welcome to Inside Out Weight Loss. I’m your host Renée Stephens, and together we’re accessing the control panel of your mind-body system, bringing ease and joy to your weight loss journey, and fullness to the rest of your life.  On today’s show; how the Japanese know when to stop eating, and how to accelerate your progress.

(Music continues)

You really don’t want any more food if a whole bunch of food is being passed around or others are urging you to eat it, because so often, people are urging us to eat extra food only because they sense that we really want it.  But if we don’t really want it, if we really are not interested, then all hosts want, all our friends and family want really, generally speaking, is for us to feel good, eating until hara hachi bu.  Now, what does hara hachi bu mean? Literally translated, it means ‘belly eight parts,’ in other words, leave two-tenths space in the belly at meal time.  He’s doing it free from shoulds and self-recrimination, he did it simply to adapt to the culture that he was in.  Now why the heck would he do that?  I found myself wondering; why would he bother?  And I think the answer is, based on speaking to him, because there really wasn’t enough food served most times for him to get ten parts full!  He’s a pretty tall guy, and Japanese portions are known to be small, a whole lot smaller than we serve certainly in the United States and in other western countries as well.

So let’s take a moment to arrive and be present with ourselves.  Notice how you’re feeling in this moment.  Check inside, what’s your current experience?  Take a deep breath.  Notice what it feels like in your body, to inhale.  Feel the air going into your lungs and spreading throughout your body, and then notice what it feels (exhales) “ahhh,” to let it go.  To let the air out, let the waste out, let go of whatever it is that you want to let go of on the out breath.  We have so many opportunities like this everyday, with each in breath and out breath.  We can breathe in positive energy, we can breathe in renewal and connection.  We can breathe out any waste products, anything that we want to let go of in our life.  We can breathe out stress, we can breathe out anger, we can breathe out fear, we can let it all go, and on the next in breath; we can breathe in light, love, peace, connection.  So just take a moment now, as your breathing, perhaps you’d like to take an extra deep breath or two, it only takes a moment. And feel the air into your body and going out again as you let go of whatever it is that needs to be released from your body, from your mind, from your experience.  Breathe it in, and let it out.  What’s your emotional state right now?  Any emotions that you notice?  Any emotional residue from something that’s happened earlier in the day or in your recent experience?  Positive or negative?  Simply notice that.  Perhaps you have a smile on your face because you remember something nice; a smile from a stranger, or you remember getting the traffic lights just right, ooh, that always feels so good.  Or perhaps someone called you or you called someone, or maybe it was a hug or an interaction with a pet, something positive, perhaps those wondering feelings are lingering, and you can amplify them on your next in breath.  Or if it’s a negative emotion, a residue from something that happened, you can also let that go.  You can feel that dissolve on your next out breath.  And as you do, bring back, remember and amplify, the good feeling from something positive in your recent experience.  And if nothing comes to mind right away, get creative.  Let me help you out here, alright, you’re listening to this show, your ears work!  Congratulations, this is good news.  We have something positive to be grateful for, we can listen.  Your IPod works, your MP3 player works, your computer works, worked enough to allow you to listen to this show.  We can start there with the basics, and bring gratitude into our present experience. 

So as you arrive and bring gratitude and appreciation into your current experience, allow your intent for today’s episode to arise and present itself to you.  And you can set your intent for this episode, and also for your day or your week, perhaps you’d like to take an opportunity to do that.  Do you remember what your intent was when you listened to the last episode?  Think about it.  And did you achieve your intent?  Notice that as well.  So whatever your intent is; for continuous improvement, for breakthrough, for renewal, for reinforcement, let that arise and be present for you now.  My intent for today’s episode is to bring peace, joy and self-expression to you.  And as you know, my further intent, as always, is to end the weight struggle, replacing it with… Hey, let’s take a moment, because I posted on the blog the question: ‘What would you like to replace the weight struggle with?’ And I’m still getting wonderful comments, I think I’m up to 15 or 16 comments of people chiming in on what they’d like to replace the weight struggle with.  So, let’s go ahead and let me read you a couple of the most recent posts.

Like this one, from Randy, it says:

“I’ll replace my weight struggle with discovering what else life has to offer.  I’ll roller-skate and dance, I’ll see what I have to offer life.”

Beth says:

“I want to replace my struggle with contentment for who I am and what I look like.  I’ve never been comfortable with me, and never accepted myself for who I am.  If I can change that, I can change anything.”

Well Beth, welcome to Inside Out Weight Loss, and have I got a journey in store for you.

Now Kate said:

“I want to replace my obsession with food and weight, with more meditation time and genuine and ongoing giving to others through prayer and service and living my life with equanimity and joy.  Thank you for your program.”

And Michelle said:

“I’m replacing my weight struggle by focusing on being at peace with food.”

And finally, I’ll read one more today, from Pamela who says:

“I’m replacing my weight-loss struggle with energy and happiness.  With three kids, I want to be able to play and have fun with them without even thinking of it being work or exhausting.”

I’m so happy that you’ve posted, and I look forward to getting more posts on the blog from you.  So while we’re in this place of hearing from other listeners, let’s go ahead and open up to them energetically, let’s go ahead and connect with other listeners across space and time.  Send them your support and feel theirs as it comes back to you, magnified many, many times over. 

The last two episodes, we’ve talked about integrating our new, naturally slender selves at all levels from environment to actions to thoughts to beliefs, identity, soul, and spirit.  We also talked about how we evolve and our relationships, therefore, evolve with us.  Sometimes that evolution can be a little bit bumpy and sometimes it can be very natural, almost imperceptible.  You might want to take a moment to set your intent for the way that you would like your relationships to evolve over time.  These I know I’ve seen on the Inside Out Weight Loss Yahoo group, comments from some people who are challenged by being in environments or families where people are used to eating a lot of food or a lot of food that’s very rich or heavy, and sometimes offering extra food to people who are on the Inside Out Weight Loss journey.  And we talked about how you can glide out of some of those sticky situations.  Something that you can say that will communicate exactly where you are.  A couple, two or three, of magical words, that will really allow you to feel good and clearly, politely and considerately communicate that you really don’t want any more food if a whole bunch of food is being passed around or others are urging you to eat it.  Because so often, people are urging us to eat extra food only because they sense that we really want it.  But if we don’t really want it, if we really are not interested, then all hosts want, all our friends and family want really, generally speaking, is for us to feel good.  They want us to feel good.  So if we say something as simple as “I’m good,” not only does it let them know that they’ve accomplished their mission, that we really are feeling good, it reinforces to ourselves that we, in fact, are good.

I’d like to talk to you today about a concept related to this that I’ve learned form the Japanese culture.  Now the Japanese have a way of deciding how much to eat.  They’ve got a saying, a cultural saying that’s taught to children, and most Japanese are fully aware of this.  I learned it from my brother-in-law, who lives in Japan, and has lived there for many years and actually teaches Japanese culture.  Now we know that the Japanese are a pretty slim bunch, as a group, except for those who have adopted Western ways of eating and eating Western fast-food.  But overall, the Japanese are quite a bit slimmer than Americans, for example, or even English.  So the Japanese have a concept, and please forgive my pronunciation here because I’ve only heard it a couple of times pronounced by my brother-in-law, but the concept is eating until hara hachi bu.  Eating until hara hachi bu.  Now what does hara hachi bu mean?  Literally translated, it means ‘belly eight parts.’ In other words, leave two-tenths space in the belly at meal time.  It’s actually time for us to take a break now, to support our sponsors.  And when we return, we’ll talk more about hara hachi bu, and how you might incorporate it into your life.  This is Renée Stephens and you’re listening to Inside Out Weight Loss on Personal Life Media.

(Commercial Break)

Renée Stephens: We’re back now.  Before the break, we were talking about hara hachi bu, or ‘belly eight parts,’ the Japanese concept that means that we should eat until we are eight-tenths full always leaving two-tenths space in the belly at meal times.  Interestingly, my brother-in-law said that it took him a little while to adapt to this, and he is, in fact, a naturally slender person.  He’s always been slender, never struggled with his weight, and even for him, it took him a little while.  But I was very interested to listen to him describe that it did take a little while to adjust but wasn’t really that difficult because he’s doing it completely free from the kind of things that plague those of us who have struggled with our weight.  He’s doing it free from guilt, he’s doing it free from shoulds and self-recrimination, he did it simply to adapt to the culture that he was in.  Now why the heck would he do that?  I found myself wondering; why would he bother?  And I think the answer is, based on speaking to him, because there really wasn’t enough food served most times for him to get ten parts full!  He’s a pretty tall guy, and Japanese portions are known to be small, a whole lot smaller than we serve certainly in the United States and in other Western countries as well.  The Japanese have another saying, which is ‘eat moderately and you’ll never need to go to the doctor.’ It’s kind of like our ‘an apple a day, keeps the doctor away,’ they say ‘eat moderately and you’ll never have to go to the doctor.’ And if you want to bring hara hachi bu into your practice, into your way of eating, one way to cultivate it would be to do a practice that I recommended way back in one of the early episodes about the naturally slender eating strategy.  If you’ll remember, when you are checking in with your body to see what your level of hunger is, I recommend that you put your hands on your stomach, and now your stomach is just below the ribcage, above the belly, mid-torso region.  A lot of people put their hands on their belly because somehow that’s what we associate with the stomach but actually the stomach is just below the ribcage and above the belly and you put your hands there, one on each side, and you check in.  And you say, ‘hmm, how many parts full am I now?’ And you can do this before eating, and you can do it during eating if you’re thinking about having a second portion, for example, that’d be a really nice time to do this.  Or if you’re thinking about having dessert, you could do this as well.  Put your hands there and check in and just say ‘hmm, how many parts full am I?  Am I eight-parts full?’ And if so, maybe it’s time to take a break now.  If I get hungry, I can always eat later, but for now, I’ll take a break.  And remember, in the Inside Out Weight Loss journey, it really isn’t about getting this 100% right, this is just a fun concept that we’re borrowing from Japan that works really well.  And if you don’t do it, say you think you’re going to do it tonight and say ‘oh, I’ll do it at dinner tonight,’ and then dinner happens and you eat nine-tenths full or ten-tenths full or maybe even you push the limit and it’s eleven-tenths! Oh my god, you’ve overeaten.  No big deal. Because all we do, we know what we do, what is it that we do? We do a redo! Yes, we do a redo.  We think back about that experience and we remember how it went and then we think ‘gosh, how would I like it to have gone if it were to repeat?’ Kind of like The Groundhog Day.  We go back in time and we redo it, we change the memory so that we imagine doing it the way we would liked to have done it.  And in this way, we can really, rapidly change.  We can accelerate our change… Great. 

So now I’d like to, on that note, talk to you more about how you can accelerate your journey.  How you can accelerate your progress, and I say progress because your progress may be the extended periods of time between binges, it may be eating less when you overeat, it may be reaching a certain clothing size or a number on the scale, however you have defined progress.  There is a very simple way that you can accelerate it.  I know, I have spent a whole bunch of episodes talking about the gifts of plateaus, and how to appreciate plateaus and learn from plateaus.  And now, maybe this is what you’ve all been waiting for, how to accelerate your progress.  Because I want to explain to you what puts the brakes on your progress and what accelerates your progress.  If you’re getting frustrated saying (imitating) ‘yeah, well this is all well and good but it’s not happening fast enough.  I’m getting impatient, please! Please! I have to be ready for my wedding, for the beach, I have to be ready for the reunion’ or whatever the heck it is… ‘I gotta be ready for it,’ I think it’s beach season that’s coming up soon, pool season, and you want it to happen faster, faster, faster.  Isn’t that the American way?  Anyway, we all want at times… we my even feel ‘oh yes, I’m ready. I’m ready to move faster now, I’ve had my plateau, I’ve had my learnings.’  So, here it is.  Here is the big, fat, secret.  Alright, maybe it’s the big, naturally slender secret.  Now, lest you think that I am perfect and the ultimately evolved person in this arena, I will share an example from my own personal experience, and my own recent experience for that matter.  As you may know, I like to work out and I do different things when I work out, and lately I’ve started adding some running in my neighborhood and my neighborhood, as I may or may not have mentioned before, is not exactly flat.  I live in San Francisco, so you go out of my front door and it’s uphill, there’s very little flat around here.  So I started adding some hill-running workouts… It’s tiring just thinking about them, but indeed I do feel good afterwards.  So I added some hill-running workouts, and I’ve got the type of body that just likes to put on muscle.  So, my thighs and my posterior started getting a little bit bigger because of these hill-running workouts that I was doing.  And I put on some pants, and they were tighter than they had been.  And, well I have to confess, I had a few moments there of freaking out.  Yep, happens to me too, I had a few moments of freaking out.  I’m like ‘oh my god, need to self-correct, got to get on the program, what’s going on here?’ And, of course, rationally I can tell myself ‘yes, well Renée, it’s all those hills that you’ve been running, this is called muscle.’ But still it was upsetting to me.  I didn’t even think too much about it, but wouldn’t you know it, but after dinner that night, I’m wanting to eat extra.  I’m not wanting to be any hara hachi bu I can tell you that much.  I’m wanting to be nine, ten-tenths full, eight-tenths isn’t doing it for me.  And, of course, that makes me feel guilty because well, we’re going in the wrong direction now.  If I’m getting too full, if I’m eating a little bit too much, well that’s not going to help my pants be any looser.  And so the cycle begins, and I recognize this cycle.  So what did I do?  How did I self correct?  And all I did, in the end, was think about my thighs and my hips and my butt, and I thought about love.  I sent a loving feeling to those parts of my body, a feeling of love and acceptance to those parts of my body.  I breathed it in and I relaxed and exhaled the angst and self-recrimination I was feeling.  I just looked right at the areas that I was most distressed with and I breathed in self-acceptance, and I breathed out the self-recrimination and the guilt.  And I just did that for a few moments, and then I looked at my face in the mirror which is, as it is for all of us, an older face than ever before and younger than it will ever will be again, as a matter of fact.  And I thought ‘you know, instead of looking at this and that, and all of the possible imperfections of which I am so fully aware.’ I thought ‘what if I looked in the mirror and instead of seeing the physical characteristics, I looked and saw the light inside of me?  What if I looked in the mirror and saw a soul like any other?  Like the soul that I see in my clients, whom I feel so accepting of?’ And so I looked at myself in the mirror and I said ‘I’m just going to pretend, I’m going to imagine that I see my soul, that I see my light, and feel forgiveness and compassion for that soul who’s on a journey.’ And after that, very interestingly, I completely forgot about the whole tight pants in the thigh and butt area episode, and I found myself naturally eating till well, hara hachi bu.  I found myself naturally eating in a way that made me feel really good and right back into balance.  And so, if you want to accelerate your progress, the way to do that is through self-acceptance.  Look at the parts of you in the mirror that you hate the most, and breathe in love and acceptance to those parts.  On the next episode, I’ll take you through a journey to help you do just that.  We’ll be creating an anchor, in others words a way you can remind yourself of that feeling in an instant.  But for now, you can do it simply with your breath and with your intention.  Look in the mirror and see the light that is within you.  See the light as you see the light in others that you love and care about.  And you can accelerate your progress.  And if you want to put the brakes on your progress, you know how to do that too.  A little bit of guilt and self-recrimination, a little bit of beating up on yourself, and you can slow right down, you can slow to a screeching halt and you can even get yourself going in reverse.  So we let all of that go, we exhale it (exhales), let it go.  And we breathe in self-acceptance, we breathe in love, even if we can’t do it all the way, even if it seems so hard for us, we just pretend.  And we look at ourselves in the mirror, and we see our own inner light.

That brings us to the end of our show today, thank you for being present.  And indeed on the next show, I’ll take you through that journey to create an anchor, or an instant reminder, of that place of acceptance, of unconditional self-acceptance to accelerate your progress and your journey.  As a reminder, research clearly shows that those with a good support structure are the most successful at weight loss.  Do you have a good support structure?  Invite your friends and family to join you on your journey.  They’ll support you as you support them.  Because remember, while this journey can be easy and effortless, and you’ll get many times back what you put in, you must put in to get out.  So, enlist your friends and family, join the Inside Out Yahoo group, the Facebook group, the Fat Secret conversation, the Smart People conversation… I’ve lost track of all of these now, there are limits to my technical know-how.  But there are groups all over the internet and you can start with the Yahoo group which is accessible from the blog;ée.  Also, take a moment if you love this show to give a five-star review on iTunes.  That helps us reach more people, because you know that I’m on a mission.  Won’t you join me?  We’re ending the weight struggle, and replacing it with whatever you want; freedom, fun, joy, love, light, laughter.  This is your host Renée Stephens, join me as we evolve the world by evolving ourselves.  Take good care.

Announcer:  Find more great shows like this on