Meditation For Weight Loss: All You Need to Know on Stress-eating
How does meditation for weight loss work? - Growing research says that meditation is effective in reducing weight by improving eating habits
With the rise of obesity prevalence – causing severe health crises, you might wonder if it’s possible to reduce weight through meditation techniques. Truth be told, meditation for weight loss works well when combined with other standard techniques. Although not directly, growing research shows that mindfulness meditation is effective for weight loss along with behavioral interventions.
If you frequently step on the scale only to see a rise in your weight, it is time you set some habits straight. Often, losing weight has more to do with your thoughts than with your body. It involves releasing the heaviness you carry in your mind, including stress and emotional baggage.
How does stress-eating affect your weight?
One of the bitter truths to coping with stress is how it affects your body. For some, it could have a direct impact on their weight. But for others, it is indirect because of emotional eating behaviors. Be it weight gain or weight loss; it usually varies from person to person.
Ever cooked instant noodles or binge-ate an entire bag of chips when you were anxious? Such actions stem from the lack of understanding and acceptance of your present state of mind. It is often an unconscious strategy of your body to cope with stress.
Besides being detrimental to your health, emotional eating behaviours massively affect your weight. You begin with one bite, which progresses to two and more until you finish the entire packet. You need to be mindful of this pattern. The more mindful and aware you become of your thoughts, the less likely you will drown in stressful thinking and overeating. As a result, this forms a healthy relationship between the mind and body.
Mindfulness and its enormous benefits for weight loss
Did you know, your gut and thoughts are linked. For instance, every time you feel upset, don’t you feel less hungry? Well, this means the stress hormones are on duty. Taking a mindful approach can help you achieve a balanced state of mind and body, which has immense benefits on sleep, clarity of thought, and stress eating.
Often, people resort to extreme solutions to achieve their weight loss goals – from fad diets to rigorous exercise. Not only is it burdensome to carry out, but research shows that people rarely stick with it. However, mindfulness meditation, along with a balanced diet and exercise, is effective for losing fat.
Some of the added benefits of meditation on your body include:
- Reduces stress and anxiety
Numerous studies among healthy adults show that mindfulness can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. When you constantly feel restless, uninspired, and agitated, mindfulness-based meditation or therapy can be helpful. You recognize the need to separate thoughts that drain you and not serve you.
- A heightened control over your body
While many believe mindfulness is only for your mind, it equally affects your body. You consciously make food choices that are right for your body as you become aware of negative thoughts. In addition, it helps reduce blood pressure and improves your sleep.
- More self-acceptance and less guilt
Stress eating and emotional eating flood your mind with deep guilt and regret, which is often followed by self-loathing. But with mindfulness meditation, you can overcome many of these thoughts, which leads to self-acceptance of your current weight.
- Increased awareness of thoughts on food
With mindful eating, you can relish every morsel of food as you become aware of your senses, hunger, and fullness. This promotes healthy digestion and healthier eating habits in the long-run.
- Improves overall health and reduces weight
Practicing meditation can improve your health psychologically and physiologically. There is a greater chance of you being regularly active, not smoking or consuming alcohol, and maintaining a healthy body weight.
A simple guided meditation for weight loss
There are several ways to bring awareness to your body through meditation. Mindfulness meditation and mantras are some of them.
Are you a beginner at meditation practice? No worries! You can always start fresh and slow.
All it takes is a few minutes from your hectic day. So, set aside 10 minutes away from all the distractions that surround you and make a firm resolution to focus on your breath. Find a serene or quiet place where you can sit comfortably and meditate with no disturbances.
- First, begin by sitting in an upright position. Keep your spine straight and rest your hands on your knees.
- Once you have settled and feel comfortable in the position, bring your focus to your breath. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. As you do this, be aware of how your chest rises and falls.
- Now, bring your focus to your thoughts and let them flow. For every thought that’s weighing you down, let them go.
- Likewise, you can do a body scan from top to bottom. Feel your senses and detach from any unpleasant feelings in each part of your body.
- In the end, you will feel relaxed and at ease. Now you are ready to open your eyes.
If you feel uneasy and go off track or think you cannot do it, simply allow those thoughts to drift away and bring your attention back to your breath.
Losing weight is beyond physical exercise and a diet plan, it takes inner work to maintain the balance and keep them in check. As Judson A. Brewer says in Unwinding Anxiety, “One of the reasons many people fail to see they have anxiety is the way it hides in bad habits.”
To reduce your weight, you have to free yourself from eating habits (like stress-eating) that are damaging to your body. The most effective way to make conscious food choices is to deal with your thoughts and emotions and form a healthy relationship between your mind and body.
If you’ve decided to implement meditation for weight loss, remember you won’t see the results overnight. It’s about practicing mindfulness consistently.
- Daubenmier, J., Kristeller, J., Hecht, F. M., Maninger, N., Kuwata, M., Jhaveri, K., Lustig, R. H., Kemeny, M., Karan, L., & Epel, E. (2011). Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study. Journal of Obesity, 2011, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/651936