Mindful Eating: How To Lose Weight With Meditation
Posted by Aggy Birchenough - October 20, 2016
To experience more gratitude, happiness, positive human connection, and honest contentment throughout your day, many turn to meditation. According to the organization How To Meditate, “Meditation can help us to understand our own mind. We can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming negative thoughts and cultivating constructive thoughts is the purpose of the transforming meditations found in the Buddhist tradition.” — and now in secular therapy, self-help, and corporate practices, as well — “This is a profound spiritual practice you can enjoy throughout the day, not just while seated in meditation.”
But how can mediation with a focus on mindful eating help with weight loss? So many women and men struggle with healthy weight maintenance, and weight loss. Could the answer be in daily meditation?
Lindsey Mangan of Chester, VA agrees, “Absolutely! I try to be mindful in about 90% of what I eat, opting for healthy, cleaner choices.” Allison Victoria of West Virginia meditates by repeating a simple mantra to herself of "always choose the healthy option". Nubz Siddiqu of NJ says mindful eating helps her focus planning, preparing and packing her healthy food and meals for the day. “I'm setting myself up for success. I always say that successful and healthy eating is easiest when you follow the P’s.” Ivona Dixon of Washington, DC uses mindful eating, and takes it up a notch. “If I say "no" out loud to unhealthy foods, it makes me that much less likely to eat it because I don't want to go back on my word!” Lauren Reed, a business owner and mom of two, recently made the switch to focusing on the amount of sugar in the foods she eats. “I've found that it’s easier to mentally digest and decided I don't even want sugar anymore. It's only been a couple weeks but it works.”
We’re a busy society, we are used to going full speed through life. Our meals our no exception. Before we even realize it, we are overeating, have chosen poorly, and are now left to deal with the consequences of a heavily processed, high-sugar, high-fat meal, over and over again.
If weight loss and health through mindful eating and mediation is your goal, start off with a few small steps each day. Build onto your practice daily, by being motivated by your success.
1 - Each day find a quite location to meditate. Take these few minutes to sit down and clear the mind.
2 – Push out the stress. Let the stress, negativity, the challenges and the obstacles of the day flow out of you. We often react to triggers caused by our daily stressors and do everything but eat mindfully because of them, so instead, let them be on their way.
3 – Be comfortable. Sit, lay, stretch – whatever you need to do, to be comfortable. Breathe, and let your mind be still and all negativity flow away.
4 – Stay present. Focus on mantras.
I am healthy.
I eat healthy.
I choose foods that nourish my body.
I am my best self.
I eat fruits and vegetables, and they make me feel whole. I eat whole foods that promote wellness.
I am well, I am healthy.
I choose well.
5 – Plan and meditate. Think about upcoming scenarios that help you meet your weight loss goals. Imagine you are sitting at a restaurant deciding on your dinner meal. What can you order? What will you order? Picture you are home along. What can you eat which will nourish your body? Visualize you are at a birthday party with a wide buffet. What will you choose? Decide what is best.
This practice can be done daily, or often throughout the day.
If you do not have separate time to spend meditating each day, there is still so much you can do. For example, before each meal, turn inward and remember your goals. Be mindful of the selection ahead. Be mindful of the food on your plate, be mindful of your portion sizes, of your hunger and satiety, and most of all - satisfaction.
Self-efficacy or one’s own belief that one can lose weight is a major factor in weight loss success. And meditation can help in building up your self-efficacy muscles. According to The Center for Minding Eating, “A daily eating meditation practice also helps awaken you to the thought patterns and habits that tend to keep you feeling trapped and demoralized, such as the belief that “I’ll never be able to change,” or the intense feeling that leads to the thought “I have to have this cookie.” Daily practice helps develop confidence, a feeling that is often absent when in the grips of craving or strong emotions. Awareness gives you the option of choosing which habits to develop and which to abandon, and this freedom to choose helps develop the confidence that change is possible.”
Meditation and mindful eating is just like any other muscle. We have to practice it, use it often, challenge it, so it becomes stronger, and grows sturdy – especially with weight loss in mind. You have to literally use it, to lose it!
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