MEDITATION AND FAT LOSS
Guest Blog: Dina Kaplan
28 January 2018
Here’s How Meditation Helps With Weight Loss
What if our ideas around weight loss are only partially true?
What if losing weight is about more than watching our eating and working out?
Entrepreneur Sarah Anne Stewart learned this when she signed a modeling contract at 15 years old and had agents immediately bark at her to “stay skinny” and “not eat until next week.” For the next ten years, she developed a fear and anxiety around weight that consumed her life. Then one day she woke up in an NYU hospital bed, almost dying from anorexia. When the ER staff told her she needed to make changes in her life to survive, she finally found her saving grace: meditation.
What’s wrong with traditional weight loss programs?
Traditional plans usually focus on calories in versus calories out, designing meal plans, educating people about exercise and telling them what supplements to take.
If you type the words “weight loss” into Google, you’ll find endless sites on how to lose weight, but more often people struggle with keeping weight off or not gaining the weight back plus more!
Sadly fad diets, trends and pills usually only give you temporary results. They can cause you to yo-yo diet, which often makes people feel frustrated. And research shows that traditional diets often lead to low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. These feelings often fuel the decision to choose unhealthy foods, and the cycle continues.
You see, what traditional programs overlook is that you’ll face countless obstacles to successfully adopting a new routine and most importantly, the highest barrier is often ourselves.
Traditional weight loss programs tell us what we should be doing, which is often not sustainable, and they rarely focus on how we can change our long-term behavior.
When it comes to losing weight, most of us have focused on the wrong things. We haven’t worked on the most important part of ourselves, our minds. And then we blame and judge the ‘program’ or coach instead of looking within.
What’s the connection between meditation and weight loss?
Meditation is often thrown out the door and disregarded because people question how sitting and not burning calories can help them lose weight. But our body is a mirror reflection of what’s going on in our minds. If our primary focus is on losing weight, we cut ourselves off from the emotional and mental beings we are, and that prevents us from understanding why the weight is showing up in the first place.
In meditation, you get to the truth of why you consistently skip your morning workout or grab fast food each night on the way home. You can explore your motivations for weight loss and why you haven’t accomplished your goals. You can confront childhood programming such as being told you have to eat all the food on your plate. Most importantly, you can understand why weight loss has been an issue in the past and get to a place where you’re mentally prepared to stick to a weight loss program and get to (and keep) your ideal weight.
Through meditation and mindfulness, you can connect the dots to create a unique and personalized approach so that you are keeping the weight off as well as finding peace with food and your body. Best of all, you’ll find yourself becoming more confident, compassionate and loving towards the most important person in your life — you!
If someone has never meditated before, what’s the best first step?
Not to worry! The best way to integrate a holistic approach to weight-loss is to understand that like traditional weight loss programs, it’s not a one-size-fits-all practice.
First, if you’re resistant to meditation, you can start by trying to become more mindful during the day or even just slowing down, especially while preparing meals, eating, and moving. This will help you start becoming more aware of any unhealthy habits and triggers that don’t serve your weight loss goals.
Then begin to shift from thoughts on weight loss to feelings of compassion, exploration, and a more holistic approach to health. This could mean going for a walk when you’re triggered to eat, recording affirmations about body positivity in your voice, keeping an emotional food journal, writing a forgiveness letter to your body or listening to a self-love guided visualizations! I also suggest learning to regulate your breath, which increases your energy and moves you one step further towards developing a mediation practice.
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