We all know how important it is to eat healthily and exercise. However, millions of people are still overweight or obese.
What if you could just do a simple exercise, like meditation, and lose weight? Well, it turns out that this is possible.
Studies have shown that mindfulness, or the act of being attentive to the present moment without judgment, can lead to reduced stress levels and a healthier lifestyle.
But is this true for everyone? Can meditation help you lose weight? It’s hard to say because there are many factors at play in weight loss.
What we do know is that most people who try mindfulness as a way to manage their stress find it beneficial in some way.
I definitely encourage you to try it. Read below on how meditation can help you on your weight-loss journey and how you can get started today!
Can Meditation Help You Lose Weight
The short answer: Yes! Below are the 3 main reasons why meditating can have such an effect on your body.
A lot of what I personally have learned about meditating, and the information I’m sharing with you is from an audiobook called “How To Train Your Mind” by Chris Bailey.
If you are serious about meditation, I strongly encourage you to listen to it. It’s perfect for beginners and an easy short read.
A meta-analysis of several studies done in 2017 showed that the most successful weight-loss programs are the ones that include mindfulness activities, in addition to eating healthy food and exercising.
1. Regain control of your mind
Although ignorance and willpower can contribute to a weight-loss issue, it’s not the root of the problem.
It all starts in the mind. We do things without thinking. We just grab that piece of cake without giving it a second thought.
Also, a lot of us eat quickly with little attention on our hunger levels. We are not mindful enough to know when we are full and need to stop before overeating ourselves into discomfort.
And you might believe that you can stop yourself anytime you want to, but the truth is that it is not that easy.
We have much less control of our minds than we think we do. If you don’t believe me, try sitting down and focusing on your breath for 5 mins. How did it go? I bet you anything that a million thoughts raced through your mind.
Meditation can help you regain control of yourself and mindfulness of your eating behaviors.
You only live once! So take the time to slow down and really enjoy your food. Take note of how your food smells, looks, and tastes like.
Meditation is an excellent way of slowing down, giving yourself space for awareness, connecting with thoughts or actions that may have slipped out of sight in everyday life.
2. Work on your self-image
Meditation can help you battle negative self-talk. Meditating will allow you to catch yourself when your inner monologue has turned into a constant stream of insults and negativity about yourself.
Studies have shown that about 80% of our thoughts about ourselves are negative.
Do you have negative thoughts when you look at yourself in the mirror? Are you telling yourself that you are too fat and therefore unattractive?
Imagine if we talked to our friends the way we speak to ourselves, we would have few friends left. Those thoughts, like movies, are not real. Fortunately, meditation lets us change the channel!
When that happens–stop it in its tracks!
Meditation helps you catch yourself saying all the negatives things to yourself. That way, when you notice yourself doing it, you can stop.
Instead, find something positive to say about yourself and let those thoughts fill up inside of you for a while. Eventually, you will stop believing them.
3. Reduce stress
Mindfulness makes sense when you consider how much time we spend worrying about things like our finances, what others think of us, and feeling stressed out by obligations like work or family life.
Stress has been linked with overeating, which is why so many people turn to comfort foods when they’re under pressure from life’s demands.
You often hear that if you’re stressed, it’s hard to lose weight. How can this be? Well, stress hormones such as cortisol signal your body to store calories as fat.
If there is a ton of cortisol pumping through your system, then even the healthiest diet won’t be as effective!
Unfortunately, food is often used as a coping mechanism to deal with our stress and emotional problems.
Meditating helped me personally when I was feeling stress and anxiety while working at home during the COVID-19 lockdown.
For long-term success with losing weight, we must take the time to manage our stress.
Tips of Beginners
Sometimes even just the thought of learning to meditate can be stressful. But, I can assure you that you are just overthinking it.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started if you are a beginner…
What you should know:
1. All meditation is just about focusing on your breath.
2. While meditating, don’t worry about if you are doing it right or not. When your mind wanders, just go back to focusing on your breath.
It is in the repeating act of falling down and getting back up that you will increase awareness of where your mind is wondering too.
“Meditation is powerful not in spite of being hard, it is powerful because it’s hard.”
3. Meditate between 10 and 30 minutes. 30 minutes is the point of diminishing returns, meaning anything over 30 mins, the benefits of meditation start to decrease.
4. Follow the 2-minute rule. If you don’t feel like meditating on a particular day, tell yourself that you will only meditate for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes you can stop if you like. However, never do less than 2 minutes.
5. Regularity matters more than for how long you meditate. Remember, consistency trumps duration.
6. Meditate during the time of day when you have the most energy and when your mind can be the stillest. If you are a morning person, meditate in the morning. If you are a night owl, meditate at night.
What you need:
1. All you need to meditate is something to sit on. It’s simple; that’s the beauty of it. You can do it anywhere, and it’s free if you want to.
You can start out by sitting straight up in a chair. Later on, you can upgrade to either a meditation bench or cushion. However, these can set you back around $100.
2. Find a quiet location where you can be alone. This will ensure you don’t get distracted and lose your focus.
3. I recommend you start out with an app like Headspace, Calm, or Insight Timer. These apps are great because they help guide you while meditating.
I personally use calm because my insurance company provides a free subscription. However, I recommend you try the free trial periods and see which one you enjoy the most.
There are also tons of free guided meditations you can find online.
It’s challenging to get your mind in the right place for losing weight. And you may be wondering, “can meditating help me lose weight?”.
If you want to lose an extra few pounds, meditation may be the answer. The benefits are significant!
Meditation can help prevent you from making poor eating choices and having feelings of anxiety or depression that could lead to overeating.
It can also help you have a positive self-image and reduce stress levels, which can help keep your appetite in check.
It’s an easy way for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle to start out by making small changes like this one.
Start today by practicing some form of meditation every day, and you will be set you up for success!
What are other benefits of meditating that you have found have helped you on your weight loss journey? Let me know in the comments section below!