Week 1: Eat Wisely

You’ll start with eating more Blue Zones-friendly meals and remove screen time, and just get more in tune with your appetites as time goes on.

Week 1 Required Activities:

1.Don’t eat in front of a screen!

No phones, no laptop, no TV. When you are eating, JUST eat. It’s amazing what happens to your appetite and your experience when you are only eating and not doing all of the things we often do while eating: driving, working, reading, scrolling on our phones, talking, catching up on email.

2. Eat 5 Blue Zones meals this week.

Just five Blue Zones friendly meals per week will help to recalibrate your tastebuds and your cooking habits. You could batch cook on Sunday for work meals, or just try something new a few times per week. More beans, less meat, more flavor and you’ll be amazed. You can use this list of recommended easy recipes, or make any other plant-slant meals made from whole foods that you wish.

[RELATED: Cooking FAQs for Blue Zones Kitchen]

3. Start the practice of hara hachi bu (stop eating when you are 80% full).

The Okinawans recite a phrase before every meal: hara hachi bu. This reminds them to eat to 80 percent full rather than stuffing themselves to the point of bursting. Their smaller portion sizes remind us to be mindful when eating and pay attention to our bodies.

4. Walk at least once this week with your walking buddy or group.

Week 1 Optional Activities:

1. Place scale in your bathroom. Weigh yourself every day.

Research shows that people who weigh themselves every day for two years weigh as much as 17 pounds less after two years than people who never weighed themselves. Daily weight checks take only seconds, and the results can provide powerful reinforcement.

2. Floss your teeth. Get in this habit! Do it every day.

There’s a strong link between oral health and mental health and happiness.

3. Print and hang up Blue Zones food guidelines on your refrigerator.

4. Print and hang up Longevity Food List and hang on your refrigerator.

5. Take a 30-minute nap in the afternoon.

Centenarians from the blue zones took naps regularly. A study in 2011 from BPS Research Digest that shows how sleep affects our happiness. The research found that people who take an afternoon nap are desensitized to negative emotions yet more responsive to positive ones.

6. Set a bedtime alarm.

Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time each morning helps your body stay in a rhythm.

7. Spend at least 1 hour outside in nature (a city park counts).

Studies show that there are scientifically significant increases in people’s health and happiness when they spend time in nature and engage in active nature behaviors, such as feeding the birds and planting flowers.

8. Set the temperature in your bedroom to 65 degrees F at night.

Temperatures below 54°F or above 75°F can actually wake you up at night. The ideal temperature for sleep is around 65°F. If it feels a little colder than you’d like, grab a coupled extra blankets.

9. Fast for 12-14 hours.

Ikarians have traditionally been Greek Orthodox Christians, which meant their religious calendar called for fasting almost half of the year. Caloric restriction—a type of fasting that cuts about 30% of calories out of the normal diet—is the only proven way to slow the aging process in mammals.

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