Meditation and Mindfulness: A Clearer Mind Means Better Choices

How to Use Meditation for Weight Loss

Use meditation for weight loss
Just 15 minutes a day of meditation can help adjust your body's set point weight.

(This is Part 3 in our three-part series: How 3 Ancient Alternative Methods Can Help You Lose Weight. CLICK HERE to read Part 1, Acupuncture. CLICK HERE to read Part 2, Can Hypnosis Help You Lose Weight?)


Meditation is part of our earliest recorded history. Long ago, it was used mostly in conjunction with religious practices. Some say that meditation is the oldest form of mental, spiritual and physical health and wellness practice in existence.


The earliest known root of meditation is with the Hindus in India who used forms of meditation to discern the true nature of Brahman. Buddha reached “enlightenment” while he was meditating under a Bodhi Tree. Those that followed Buddha, however, did not believe that mediation was a way to understand a higher being but rather a way of sensing ones connection to all things. Forms of meditation are present in all major religions.


Contrary to what some may think, it is not necessary to convert to a particular religion to mediate or become more self-aware. Calming the mind and body is a universal practice that is found all over the world. The fundamentals are the same although the goals may be different. The primary result of meditation that focuses on deep breathing and stillness is calm and focused mindfulness.


Finding a Quiet Spot Within


We live in an extremely hurried time. We rush here and rush there, often paying very little attention to the thousands and thousands of bytes of information that our brain is processing on a daily basis. We then wonder why we cannot remember where the car keys are or why we are so full of anxiety or even physically sick.


Meditation is about finding a place of peace within, a spot where there are not blinking lights and honking horns. No rush, just relaxation. For those who practice meditation on a regular basis, it is a practical tool that keeps them on task and able to approach all of life’s stresses with a calm and focused demeanor. Since many weight issues are caused by stress, it is fitting that incorporating meditation into a healthy lifestyle and weight loss plan is an excellent choice.


As a complimentary form of medicine, meditation has earned a place of respect here in the West as many physicians recognize its value as a stress-reduction technique that lowers blood pressure, elevates mood, promotes healthy heart function and encourages a strong sense of well being.


Weight Set Point


Do you often eat without knowing why? Do you pay attention to your food choices or simply put something in your mouth without even considering the health implications? So many times we are so busy just living life that we don’t give our food choices much thought.


Recently American and Italian researchers teamed up to show how this autopilot gets turned on and what can be done about it. What they found was that the hypothalamus, the brain’s central processing unit, may instruct you to eat enough to maintain your current weight, no matter if you are too heavy or not. As soon as the heavier weight becomes the norm, the point is set.


Don’t let the fact that eating habits are hard wired scare you – there are ways to short-circuit this connection. One noted way is meditation. According to researchers, meditation can help break impulsive eating and encourage natural weight loss. Practicing meditation encourages you to become mindful of your eating impulses, thus allowing time for good decisions to be made.


The Meditative Process


Meditation starts with breathing. Experts encourage those looking to lose weight to take four or five deep breaths before they eat. Taking the breaths slows everything down and allows time for food to be enjoyed. People who do this even find that they chew more slowly and pay attention to what they are eating. This could be because the focused breathing wipes out emotional toxins. Deep breathing also floods the body with fresh oxygen, which energizes, heals and fuels metabolic processes.


Dr. Herbert Benson MD started studying meditative practices in the 1970’s. He coined the term “Relaxation Response.” Benson found that during meditation the waves in the brain could become more relaxed than they are even during sleep. Stress hormones that play a significant role in fat storage, pain and illness, are significantly reduced.


Meditation also brings old junk such as emotional thoughts and feelings to the surface so that they can be discarded. This would include feelings about food and desires to overeat or thoughts about negative body or self-image. As these thoughts and feelings surface, it is much easier to put them to rest so that they don’t continue to recycle in the mind. Ultimately, meditation brings peace and the ability to make wiser choices.


Meditation Tips


The nice thing about meditation is that once you learn how to do it, you can do it on your own in the comfort of your home. It does not take a gym membership or any fancy equipment. It is truly one of the most cost effective wellbeing tools available. Here are some basic meditation tips.


·       Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet place.


·       Close your eyes so that they are comfortably shut


·       Relax all of your muscles.


·       Shift your focus to your natural breathing and keep it there.


·       As distracting thoughts pop up in your mind, notice them but bring your focus back to your breathing.


·       Do this for ten to twenty minutes.


·       Take the time to practice this daily for best results.


Of course, like all alternative therapies for weight loss, meditation should be combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise. When used consistently, meditation can be a very powerful part of the holistic treatment of obesity.



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