Meditation. People are saying it can help you in numerous ways. Well it can. One of those ways is in losing weight.
I won’t tell you that if you start meditating today, you’ll lose weight tomorrow. It doesn’t work quite that directly. But meditation is an important tool in helping people to change their habits.
Here’s what I mean. If you’ve been reading my blog or have worked with me, you know that I am anti-diet. What I espouse is learning how to eat in a way that allows you to enjoy food while breaking the habit of overeating. This method has helped many women drop a lot of weight and keep it off.
There are several interrelated ways in which meditation can help your efforts at weight loss.
1. Awareness: If you asked me what the single most important thing was for losing weight, this is it. You can’t change your eating habits when you eat without thinking or when the cookie is in your mouth before your brain registers it. People who practice meditation become more in tune with and aware of their thoughts and actions as they occur. It trains your brain to notice, but not automatically react based on habits. Consequently, meditators notice when their brain says, “this work is boring, so why not get a snack?” When you notice thoughts like this, you can then ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” or “Will eating a snack help me get my work done?” or “What do I really want?” before you head off to get something to eat. Meditation wakes up your brain!
2. Reducing cravings: When you do eat, do you scarf down the food without really tasting it? Does this leave you unsatisfied and wanting more even though your stomach is full? Meditation is about being present where you are. Now. Meditation makes it easier for you to slow down and enjoy your food. Numerous brain studies show that meditation brings about changes in the brain areas responsible for body sensations, especially ones related to hunger and cravings.
3. Stop Overeating: When you are eating that favorite food, notice how your body feels after each bite. You might be surprised to notice that you actually get bored with the food before you are finished with it! Even if that doesn’t happen, by paying attention, you will notice when your body has had enough. Stop eating when your body feels comfortable, not full. If you get in the habit of doing that, you will inevitably lose weight because you are listening to your body’s signals and not overeating.
4. Prevent comfort eating or emotional eating: So much of what overweight (and other) people consume is in response to their emotional needs, not their physical needs. How often do you eat in response to negative emotions? You’re stressed out at work. Your boyfriend forgot your birthday. You’re nervous about an upcoming performance.
When the going gets tough, do you mask your emotions by eating or do you eat to avoid dealing with the situation? Because meditation helps you be on a more even keel, meditators are more in tune with their emotions and less emotionally reactive. They’re calmer in general. Really. Meditation reduces cortisol levels in your body, which are stress hormones that also make you feel hungrier. As someone who is very emotional, I can attest to the fact that a consistent meditation practice helps you pause between the stimulus and your response. As neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl said, it is in that space, where you can choose how to respond, that your power and freedom lie. This is true for all aspects of your life, but pausing when you feel the mental stimulus to eat and making a conscious choice can make all the difference in a successful weight loss journey.
Tried meditation and it wasn’t for you? Think you can’t learn how to meditate? That’s what I used to think. I’d love to show you how AND help you lose weight!
If you’ve struggled with your weight for years, and are ready to make overeating, being overweight and food issues a thing of the past, I can help. Click HERE to check out my programs for living deliciously while you melt down to your healthy weight.
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