Most of us understand the idea that meditation can be a valuable tool in helping with focus and anxiety, and generally keeping us grounded. But weight loss? Well, that is a novel idea to most! Let’s take a look at different types of meditation and how they might be beneficial to upping your weight loss success:
Meditation has been well-established as a tool to manage and reduce stress. But how this that connected to weight loss? Well, the answer is two-fold. One stress is often a driver to push people to eat emotionally and eat in a way that feels out of control. People under chronic stress often end up using food as a coping mechanism and overeating (and ultimate weight gain) is a natural result. Managing this stress via meditation is a great way to stop that connecting of stress to eating and control your stress levels so comfort eating becomes unnecessary. A secondary implication of stress on weight loss has to do with hormones. When you are stressed, your body released cortisol to deal with it. The more stressed you are and the more frequent, the more cortisol is released. As a result of all this cortisol, your appetite increases and your body starts storing more belly fat. Both of which severely thwarts your weight loss efforts. Meditation releases oxytocin and serotonin which both counteract the effects of serotonin.
How to try this: When you feel stress levels rising (or you feel a random craving that you know is NOT hunger) take 5 to 10 minutes out to meditate and clear your mind. Sit comfortably in a quiet space and just focus on your breathing. Try and deepen and slow your breathes and count them in and out. When you catch your mind wandering, simply bring your thoughts back to your breathe. If you are under regular, daily stress, consider a regular meditation practice at the same time every day.
Meditation is a great way to help you become aware of and connected to your thoughts and actions. This is especially beneficial when it comes to eating behaviors. A lot of us eat quickly or without attention so we don’t truly appreciate or enjoy our food, nor do we appreciate our hunger or satiation levels. Mindful meditation during mealtimes can help slow our eating and allow up to focus on how we are feeling during our meals. Over time, this can help us learn to acknowledge signals of satiation so we stop eating when we are full, rather than when our plate is empty. It makes eating a conscious behavior rather than an impulse and can ultimately stop overeating and binge eating.
How to try this: When you sit down to your next meal, do so without any distractions (that means TV, cell phones, computers, etc). Take 5 slow deep breathes and then assess your hunger level. Start eating and appreciate the tastes, smells, and textures of your food. Chew slowly and appreciate each bite. Every few minutes, assess your hunger level again.
Meditation can also be used as a tool to connect your body with your thoughts and really feel your goals and the actions needed to achieve them. During meditation, to picture a goal, repeat a mantra, or see yourself engaging in behaviors that lead to your goals, are all great ways to make those things actually happen. It’s the law of attraction, or positive visualization, in that we attract to ourselves what we want and what we focus on. Use this type of meditation to push out any negative thoughts and pump yourself up. Use a mantra like, “I can accomplish anything I set my mind to,” or “I will follow through on my plans” or anything else that makes you feel strong and capable!
How to try this: Sometime every morning, spend 5 minutes sitting in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Repeat your mantra to yourself several times. Then picture yourself achieving your goals and doing all the things necessary to achieve those goals. Focus on your struggles. For example, if you have a hard time passing up snacks in the break room at room, visualize yourself walking past those snacks and making the choice not to indulge!
Meditation can be a valuable tool for everyone, but when it comes to weight loss, it is definitely something worth incorporating into your daily routine!