4 Reliable Links Between Meditation & Weight Management
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While counting calories, cutting out alcohol and upping your exercise are weight loss methods many of us have experience with, meditation is yet to be widely recognised as an effective weight management tool!
However, many people who practice meditation find it easier to lose weight than they did before, and others experience weight loss as a welcome side effect.
There’s a few reasons for this, and a lot of people are surprised to learn that meditation can be a great supplement to diet and exercise.
What is the Link Between Meditation and Weight Management?
Weight gain often comes down to mindless overeating. We ignore our body’s signals saying that we’re full and continue to eat when we’re no longer hungry.
Meditation encourages us to bring mindfulness into our everyday lives, moving with purpose and listening to our bodies.
In many cases, unwanted weight gain comes down to mindless overeating. Opening the fridge to grab the nearest snack when we’re not even hungry is all too common.
This kind of mindless eating can very easily lead to weight gain, and we’re often blissfully unaware of our bodies trying to tell us that we’re full!
Additionally, many of us eat too quickly. If you’ve got a long to-do list to tackle in the afternoon, wolfing down your lunch in 30 seconds seems a great way to save time.
But eating too fast will mean we are less likely to notice when we’re full, and we may get less enjoyment from our food – causing us to eat even more to compensate.
During a meditation practice, we are encouraged to maintain awareness of the present moment. A regular meditation practice can help us to be mindful in our daily lives, whether we’re sitting behind our desks, brushing our teeth, or eating our lunch.
We’ll learn to eat slowly, listen to our bodies’ hunger cues, and savour the flavours in our food.
What is Emotional Eating and How Can Meditation Help?
Overeating is often used as a coping mechanism when we are going through a tough time.
Meditation can help us manage our emotions in a healthy way, looking inwards for support, as opposed to towards sugary and fatty foods.
Emotional eating is another reason many people gain weight. Often, overeating isn’t about the food itself, but instead our emotional state.
People who emotionally eat may find comfort in food when they’re feeling down.
Emotional eating can be caused by work stress, financial worries, relationship struggles and even boredom. Mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders can also lead to emotional eating.
‘Filling a void’ with sweet or fatty foods can make us feel a lot better in the short term, but far worse in the long term.
Meditation can help because it teaches us to manage our emotions in a healthy way. We may stop looking for comfort and reassurance in food, instead addressing our emotions head-on.
Emotional eating is often used to manage difficult feelings, yet meditation teaches us to sit with these unpleasant emotions and observe them objectively.
Emotional eating is often automatic, and mindfulness can help us break the cycle of ignoring our bodies and mindlessly heading to the fridge.
How Can Meditation Supplement Diet and Exercise?
Meditation can help us to adjust our relationship with food and our bodies. You may start to look at your body from a place of love, as opposed to disappointment.
Meditation can also help us to stay focused on the end goal, whether fitness or health-related.
Embarking on a healthy eating and exercise plan is rarely a long-term solution, and it’s usually our relationship with food and our bodies that needs to change.
Many people struggle with feelings of deprivation when they start a new diet, but meditation can help you to accept unwelcome feelings, and keep the long-term goal in mind.
Many people begin dieting from a place of hate. They dislike their bodies, and think of themselves as lazy or greedy. Meditation seeks to help us recognise these damaging thoughts as simply thoughts, encouraging you to look at your body and all it does for you from a place of love.
A positive mindset can also help you handle setbacks with a better outlook, instead of using one bad day as an excuse to throw in the towel altogether.
What is the Best Meditation for Weight Loss?
Almost any meditation can help with weight loss, as the primary aim isn’t to lose weight.
Instead, meditation seeks to heighten our self-awareness and focus, which can be invaluable when it comes to curbing mindless eating.
You’ll find yourself better able to listen to your body’s hunger signals, and learn to treat your body with kindness and understanding.
It’s easy to find guided meditations specifically targeted towards a healthy lifestyle and weight loss. These have the primary aim of helping you control overeating.
While these targeted meditations are useful, a simple mindfulness meditation can be just as effective. A short mindfulness meditation practiced each day will bring you into the present moment and help you manage difficult emotions.
You’ll reap all the usual benefits of meditation, while also learning to curb your mindless habits.
Weight loss can be a welcome side-effect of a regular practice, as opposed to the aim.
- Weight gain is often due to mindless or emotional overeating.
- Meditation seeks to bring mindfulness into our everyday lives, encouraging us to listen to our bodies.
- A regular meditation practice will heighten your awareness of your body’s signals, meaning you may stop yourself before reaching for that extra biscuit!
- Meditation can also teach us to manage our emotions in a healthy way, meaning we stop turning to indulgent food for comfort.
- Finally, meditation can help us embark on a diet from a place of self-love and confidence. It can help us feel proud of our bodies and all they do for us, allowing us to handle setbacks with a positive mindset.