As a long time lifetime Weight Watcher and yoga practitioner, I believe that lasting weight loss success requires that we work, not just on our bodies, but our minds. The mind-body connection is important. Our thoughts, emotional health and our physical health are interrelated.
I’ve often said that weight loss is 95% mind. That’s where the benefit of meditation for weight loss come in.
That benefit comes from cultivating a strong mind-body connection, reducing stress levels, and supporting overall well-being in a myriad of ways that support you in your weight loss. These include:
Mindful Eating: Meditation can enhance your awareness of the present moment, including your eating habits. Have you ever had breakfast while checking your email and had no recollection of where the toast went? That’s the opposite of mindful eating. Much of our eating can become so routine that you may not even be aware of it. When you start to become more mindful, you begin to see mindless behavior that you hadn’t noticed before.” You become more conscious of your food choices, recognize hunger and fullness cues, and make healthier decisions. This can lead to better portion control, reduced emotional eating, and improved overall eating habits.
Stress Reduction: Meditation is known to be an effective stress-reduction technique. Have you ever reached for the container of Ben & Jerry’s or bag of chips in a time of stress? We never crave healthy food when we are stressed. Chronic stress can lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight due to the release of cortisol, a hormone associated with increased appetite and cravings for sugary or fatty foods. By practicing meditation regularly, you can manage stress levels, reduce emotional eating, and improve your overall well-being. When you meditate, your breathing slows down, your heart rate decreases, and your muscles relax. You release tension in your body making it less likely that you will turn to food for solace.
Emotional Balance: Emotional factors often contribute to weight gain or difficulties in maintaining a healthy weight. Meditation cultivates emotional balance by increasing self-awareness, promoting self-acceptance, and enhancing emotional resilience. By developing a healthier relationship with your emotions through meditation, you may reduce the tendency to use food as a coping mechanism.
Motivation and Willpower: Consistent meditation practice can enhance your self-discipline, focus, and motivation. These qualities are beneficial for establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including making better food choices, sticking to an exercise routine, and staying committed to your weight loss goals.
Body Awareness: Regular meditation can help you develop a deeper connection with your body and its needs. You become more attuned to sensations, hunger cues, and overall well-being. This increased body awareness can assist you in making conscious decisions about nourishing your body and engaging in physical activities that support weight loss.
Sleep quality: Sufficient and restful sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy weight. Meditation promotes relaxation and can help improve sleep quality, ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready to make healthier choices throughout the day.
How Meditation Helps with Weight Loss Video from Breethe
How To Get Started with Meditation?
There are lots of ways to learn and practice meditation. Some of the most common include:
In-person classes: Joining meditation classes allows you to learn from experienced instructors who can guide you through the practice. Look for local meditation centers or wellness studios that offer meditation classes.
Meditation apps: Many meditation apps provide guided audio meditations, making it easy to start and maintain a regular practice. Explore popular apps like Breethe, which offers mindfulness meditations and is available within the WW app for WW members.
You-Tube videos: There are many instructional meditation videos of all kinds of styles, such as mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation, or transcendental meditation. Explore and experiment to see what resonates with you.
Meditation books: You’ll find dozens meditation books available online and in bookstores. Here’s a great free 5 Minute Meditation Ebook to get you started.
Meditation retreats: Retreats provide an immersive environment for deepening your meditation practice. They offer dedicated time and space to learn from teachers and engage in intensive meditation sessions. Research retreats in your area or consider virtual retreats.
A Simple Meditation Exercise to Get You Started
Here’s a simplified version of the meditation exercise:
Find a comfortable position: Choose a resting position that allows you to relax and focus. You can sit cross-legged on the floor or lie down on a bed or mat. Find what feels comfortable for you.
Set a time limit: Before you begin, decide on a duration for your meditation. Use a countdown timer so you don’t have to worry about the time. Even a minute can have a positive effect, but you can go for longer if you prefer.
Observe your feelings: Take a moment to notice how you’re feeling. It could be anxious, tired, happy, or neutral. There’s no right or wrong feeling. Simply observe your emotions without judgment.
Practice 4-7-8 breathing: Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale slowly for eight seconds. This technique helps focus your mind and calm your body.
Be gentle with your thoughts: Remember that meditation isn’t about controlling or suppressing your thoughts. It’s about training your attention. If your mind wanders to memories or worries, don’t be hard on yourself. Imagine those thoughts passing like clouds in the sky and gently redirect your focus.
End with self-gratitude: As you finish your meditation, take a moment to thank yourself for dedicating this time to meditate. Carry the spirit of self-compassion throughout your day.
Remember, this is a simple exercise to get started with meditation. As you progress, you can explore different techniques and increase the duration of your sessions to include
Guided Weight Loss Meditation Video from Breethe
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Martha is the founder and main content writer for Simple-Nourished-Living.
A longtime lifetime WW at goal, she is committed to balancing her love of food and desire to stay slim while savoring life and helping others do the same.
She is the author of the Smart Start 28-Day Weight Loss Challenge.
A huge fan of the slow cooker and confessed cookbook addict, when she’s not experimenting in the kitchen, you’re likely to find Martha on her yoga mat.