How Meditation Helps with Weight Loss
Feeling challenged around your weight loss resolutions yet? Stuck in overwhelm or self-doubt? Is your stress level wreaking havoc despite your best intentions?
If so, you might want to consider adding meditation to your tool kit.
There’s a ton of research that shows that this simple self care practice can help rewire your body’s circuitry for lasting weight loss.
Here’s How Meditation Helps with Weight Loss
- Cultivates Self Awareness
- Meditation trains you to see the connection between the negative emotions and toxic thinking that drive unwanted food behaviors. Learning to stay present helps you re-direct in stressful situations so you’re less likely to use food as a coping mechanism.
- It also expands your awareness and understanding of bodily sensations. A lot of us eat quickly or without attention so we struggle with cravings, hunger and satiety signals. Meditation helps make eating a conscious process.
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety
- Meditation regulates cortisol and insulin, the key hormones that promote fat storage and de-regulate our appetite.
- It also promotes a stronger mind body connection which reduces inflammation and improves gut health.
- Improves Your Relationship with Food, Body and Your Self
- Meditation takes power away from your negative thoughts. You learn that simply by observing and allowing thoughts to be there instead of trying to stop or argue weakens them.
- Being able to be fully present allows you to feel that simply being and breathing is enough in that moment. Feelings of self doubt or inadequacy that come from dwelling in the past or worrying about the future can dissolve away.
- Meditation trains your brain to be kinder and more compassionatetowards yourself which promotes a deeper and more sustainable commitment to self care and living a healthy lifestyle.
What is Meditation and how can you get started?
Meditation is a deliberate daily practice of stepping away from the busyness of everyday life to connect with your Self in order to return to a place of calm and clarity.
Meditation does not need to be difficult. It’s not about hours of sitting still or “quieting the mind”. It does not have to be religious or spiritual. And there is no such thing as being naturally good at meditation.
Wandering thoughts are a normal part of meditation and not a sign that you are “bad at it.”
Meditation is a skill that you develop so practice is key.
What’s most important is that it becomes a habit.
You simply begin with an intention to redirect your attention from the outside to within yourself. If you’re just starting out, I recommend taking five minutes upon waking and five minutes before bed.
The amount of time is not as important as building the habit of doing it regularly. Find the times of day that work best for you.
Set a digital timer. Sitting up is ideal either in a chair or on the floor with cushion; but feel free to lie down, whatever feels most comfortable to you. To help create a calming environment, try listening to soothing instrumental music or an audio of nature sounds. Add an essential oil diffuser, scented candles or light some incense to reap the added relaxation benefits of aromatherapy.
Begin with closing your eyes. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Try inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose with your mouth closed for a count of four and exhaling through your nose for a count of eight.
Focus on the breath moving in and out of your nostrils or on the rise and fall of your belly. The hand on your chest should barely move at all.
If that feels strained or unnatural, it’s fine to modify and work up to eight counts. Just know that lengthening your exhale will give you a deeper feeling of relaxation.
If your mind wanders, which is totally normal, gently guide it back to the physical sensations of your breathing, without judgment. You can also try counting your breaths or repeating a word of phrase such as “peace” or “Be here now” silently to yourself.
Noticing that your mind has wandered is the whole point of meditation – your aim is simply to become more aware of the activity of your mind.
It’s about observing and embracing whatever is in the present moment. Your experience of meditation is very personal.
You might feel calm, relaxed, bored, restless, anxious or have a profound insight during a session.
No matter what you are feeling, you can’t get it wrong. Know that all the healing benefits will emerge over time with regular practice.