Using meditation for weight loss may sound kooky, but I can’t change my eating habits and exercise routine without getting my mind in the game.
Meditation and weight loss
In this post, I want to explain the role meditation plays in my weight loss and fitness goals.
Weight loss and fitness are built around the conditions of eating right and exercising. I believe that the state of mind we are in is equally, if not more, important.
Weight loss through meditation is a very well known and respected technique. It involves learning your thought patterns, observing your impulses, and being aware of your state of mind while visualizing a healthier, happier future for yourself.
Every action we take start with our thoughts. Our thoughts are instinctive, reactive, and emotional. It is rarely the case that we go through our day with a deliberative state of mind guiding our actions. We choose some things, like what time to get up, what to wear, or what to have for breakfast. But even those “choices” can be subject to influences we are not consciously aware of.
These influences can trigger us into actions counter to what we say we want our lives to be like. Things like exercising and losing weight.
Getting into our headspace and becoming aware of those influences is extremely important if we want to succeed at losing weight. Most importantly, we must become aware of how unbidden thoughts and mental routines lead us back down the paths to being overweight and unhealthy.
Mindful meditation is probably the best way to gain this awareness. I think it is as important a part of a weight loss plan as any other measure.
Meditation and the brain
Meditation is not a fad. It has been in practice for thousands of years to bring insight, awareness, and control to people’s minds. It’s not just about incense-burning or chanting or vision quests. It is about taking the effort to bring our thoughts to the present moment. To become aware of our thoughts.
While meditation has been studied extensively, only relatively recently has science has been able to gauge what is actually going on in the brain when people are practicing meditation.
It shows that regular meditation improves brain plasticity, increases grey matter development, improves memory and learning abilities, and strengthens will power while reducing cortisol levels and countering depression.
Just a few sessions of meditation can have a significant effect on people’s mental states. A person’s brain function will improve with just 11 cumulative hours of meditation in ways that can actually be seen medically.
Meditation and will power
Mindful meditation is the key to developing will power. Much of the brain runs on automatic. And like any engine, a brain’s energy supply is finite. When we use will power with all those other programs running automatically in the background it can exhaust our brains.
Meditation improves will power by helping the brain manage its resources better. It also builds will power by improving our attention and focus, which reminds us of what we are trying to accomplish. Finally, it takes that focus and plants it in the subconscious, helping it take root.
As a result, our focused goals become part of our unconscious influence, the same as our unwanted impulses. This helps us stay committed to our goals and gives more juice for our will power to run on.
How I am using meditation to lose weight and get fit
I’m going to meditate twice a day for 20 minutes at a time. Ideally, I’d like to do this first thing in the morning and right before I go to bed at night.
I have created areas in the bedroom and living room so that I can peacefully sit and not be disturbed.
On my phone, I have a meditation app that plays rain sounds and chimes. When a mediation session is over it rings a gentle gong.
When I sit to meditate, my first order of business is to begin breathing in deep, full, conscious breaths. I bring my awareness to my body from head to foot, exploring where I have pain, aches, or fatigue. While I notice the feelings, I don’t dwell on them. Additionally, I seek to dump any thoughts or mental images that don’t promote a positive or neutral state of mind.
Once I am settled, breathing mindfully and relaxed, I go on a journey. I often go to someplace calming like a serene beach or a forest glen. There may be a cabin or a tent there and I go in.
Inside I calmly and without judgment look at my feelings, my choices, my actions, and my thoughts. Then I create affirmations that help with my challenge of losing weight and getting fit. This way I can make my mind and my thoughts allies in my struggles.
These are the results I want to see:
I don’t just want to lose weight in the short term. I want to change my life. Over 16 weeks I can perform at least 75 hours of meditation. There is proof which shows that is enough time to make profound changes in the way my brain functions.
I can expect results. At the least I’d like to come out of my 16-week program with these benefits:
- Greater control over my emotions and impulses, therefore, better decision making.
- The ability to ride out cravings, so I’m less likely to cave to temptations.
- The ability to program my thoughts and will power to become indomitable.
- Better brain health.
- The ability to listen to my body and know its limits and needs.
- Overcome pain, depression, and anxiety without medication.
- Beat my “fight-or-flight” reflex and being more thoughtful and conscious in my responses.
I can achieve this through meditation. In short, it’s a lot to receive in exchange for 40 minutes a day.