Meditation is definitely the buzzword of the day. It seems like every program you turn on or magazine you read is touting the benefits of meditation – with good reason. Meditation has been shown to help with everything from stress, anxiety and panic attacks to quitting smoking and curing insomniacs. This is all great news, but can you use meditation for weight loss? Recent research seems to think you can. It makes sense if you think about it – the more relaxed and centered you are, the more in tune with your body you are, so the easier it should be to lose weight, right? I, myself would like to see how meditation and weight loss work together, so I decided to give it a try – for only 5 minutes a day. That is pretty much the extent to which I think I can handle before my brain will wonder in 20,000 different directions.
How To: 5-Minute Meditation
The easiest thing to do is to set a timer for 5 minutes and sit on the floor, crossed legged or not, and close your eyes. If you lay in bed or even sit in a chair, you might have the tendency to fall asleep. 😉 Slowly begin to breathe calmly and pay attention to just your breath for a minute or two. If thoughts run into your mind, that’s ok, just push them back out and try to let your mind go blank. Once you feel somewhat relaxed, try to listen to what your body is telling you and what it needs. Do you need sleep, exercise, emotional connection, or are you actually hungry? Notice how your body feels as you go through your emotions. Keep deep breathing and let your mind wonder in these thoughts. When the buzzer goes off, take a few more seconds to really ask yourself what you need. Continue to ask yourself throughout the day and hopefully you will realize that food is not always what you or your body wants.
Meditation and Weight Loss – 3 Ways it can Help
Stress eating is not as likely to happen
It makes sense. The more stressed out you are, the more likely you are to reach for a doughnut. The more over-stressed you are, you are also more likely to binge or try and reward yourself with a treat. Stress also raises your cortisol levels which has been shown to make people store belly fat. By doing even 5 minutes a day of meditation to lower your stress, you are helping your body and mind refocus and calm itself down so you can make better choices more easily.
You are in-tune with your hunger
By doing the 5-minute meditation above, you can see how much more in-tune you will become with your body. You can feel what your body really needs and know that it is not necessarily always food. Meditation helps to improve our overall awareness of hunger and satiety signals, making it easier to step away from the buffet table. Once you get into a regular meditation practice this happens much more intuitively without you even realizing you are making better choices.
Fall asleep easier and faster
Remember the cure for insomnia I talked about at the beginning of this article? Well, it has long been known that the better you sleep, the better food choices you make. When you get run down and tired, you tend to grab whatever is nearest and shovel it in to feel better – which never works by the way. Meditation helps by increasing the hormone melatonin, the one that helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
The benefits of meditation have been increasingly well documented, but the theory that it can help you lose weight is just another wonderful addition.
So, how did it work for me? Well, it did take me several tries to get my brain somewhat still, but I think I eventually got it. 5 minutes was about the right time, although I can see how going longer would help. I definitely do feel better and tend to make better choices when I tried meditating in the morning, but when I meditated at night, it did help me fall asleep easier, but I don’t know that my food choices were better the next day. I did manage to lose a pound or two, but I will have to keep experimenting to see if keeping this up will help long-term.
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Below are a few items that I am looking at to help kick-start my meditation journey. Hopefully, you will find these helpful as well.
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