Fad diets… fail. Counting calories…fail. Soul crushing workouts… fail, fail, fail!
Meditation and Weight Loss
Medical research shows that meditation is an effective weight loss tool. A study conducted at University of California, San Francisco and published in the Journal of Obesity, found that compared to a control group, women who meditated for only 30 minutes a day lost significantly more weight, especially around the middle, than the non meditating group. Plus, the meditation group was able to maintain their weight loss, which for many folks is the toughest challenge to overcome. Now here’s more good news…
Meditation Alleviates Physical Pain
Millions of Americans live with chronic pain, and many of us eat for relief. When your back aches or your knees throb that bowl of ice cream or bag of chips can temporarily distract you from the pain. Regrettably, eating for distraction (particularly processed foods that are high in carbs and sugar) causes weight gain, which usually leads to… more pain.
Studies also show that meditation is very effective for reducing chronic pain. Meditation literally affects how the brain responds to pain. Even brief periods of meditation reduce how much perceived pain people experience and decrease activity in areas of the brain associated with sensing pain.
Want some more good news…?
Meditation Reduces Stress
Stress is a double whammy for the waistline: It increases both appetite and the accumulation of belly fat. When your body is stressed it releases the “fight or flight” hormone cortisol which tricks your body into thinking there’s a disaster coming, like famine, driving you to eat and storing the excess calories as fat.
Not only does meditation soothe chronic stress, it brings your metabolism to a level where your mind and body are balanced so you are better able to maintain a healthy weight. The UC San Francisco study found that participants in the meditation group had a reduction in both chronic stress and levels of the stress hormone cortisol, both of which were also linked with reductions in abdominal fat.
Can there be more good news about meditation?
Mediation Decreases Overeating
Mediation increases mindfulness, which means being totally aware of what’s happening within and around you at the moment. Eating mindfully (i.e. with awareness) can have a major positive impact on your weight, health and relationship with food. That’s because when you eat mindfully—paying attention to your food and your body and chewing thoroughly—you enjoy your food more and are more sensitive to feelings of hunger and satiety, so you eat less. Noticing how food affects your body will also help you make healthier food choices.
Unlike dieting, which makes you fat and damages your body and mind, mediation has numerous psychological and physiological benefits beyond weight loss. It lowers blood pressure, boosts cardiovascular and immune health, improves concentration, slows aging and increases self-awareness, acceptance and happiness. So take a few minutes each day to mediate. You’ll increase peace and calm and drop a few pounds in the process.
Three Meditation Tips
You don’t need to be a Zen master with 10 years of meditation training to benefit. Mediation works for beginners in only minutes a day.
Here are three tips to help you get started:
1. Pick a specific time and place to meditate where you won’t be disturbed. If you’re worried about your kids needing you or the phone ringing you won’t be able to completely relax. Early morning is often the ideal time to practice.
2. When you feel stressed take a short meditation “time-out.” Take a few calm, deep, slow breaths. Relax your jaw, shoulders and any other places that you feel tension in your body. Slowly breath in and out again.
3. Before eating, take a breath and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” If you’re not hungry do something else, like reading or going on a walk.