Meditation is a fascinating practice that can make a world of difference to our mental and emotional health, but a growing amount of evidence is also suggesting that physical health – and even the ability to lose weight – could also benefit from meditating regularly.
In fact, this practice of focusing attention in order to achieve a sense of clarity and calm can have an immediate and measurable influence on the body, such as the reduction of high blood pressure. Beyond that, it can help in stress management, which can then help the individual to lose weight.
After all, when we are experiencing periods of high stress, we are more likely to eat a larger amount of food and are at an increased likelihood of eating fattier, more sugary and saltier foods than we would at times of greater calm. These are all foods that work against an attempt to lose weight. Moreover, when we experience periods of heightened stress, the body releases cortisol, the “stress hormone”, which is notorious for making it more difficult to lose each and every pound of stored body fat.
While the research connecting meditation to weight loss does remain limited, it is growing. This makes sense, as the act, itself, allows a person to become more aware of his or her behaviors and can often allow a person to recognize the link between their thoughts and their actions. This includes the way their thoughts and mental state influence their food choices. For instance, it can help a person to recognize the reasons behind emotional eating and binge eating and, armed with this awareness, they can steer clear of such behaviors as they move forward.
Overall, it is an important step in mindfulness, in order to allow a person to better know themselves so they will be able to make better decisions overall, as well as when it comes to their diet and exercising.
Learning to meditate can be done in many different ways, as there are several methods and strategies for meditation. According to the CDC, the majority of meditation forms have the following four factors in common: a quiet location in which to practice, a specific posture that is comfortable to the person who is meditating, a way of focusing attention (such as with breathing, repeating a phrase or single word, or another method), and having an open mind so that the mind won’t get hooked on specific thoughts but can be directed back to focus on the word, phrase or breathing, when new thoughts make their way into the path.