Meditation is about mindfulness – clearing the mind of its useless chatter and being in a state of peace and tranquility. Oftentimes when people meditate they incorporate breathing exercises to help clear the mind.
So how does this relate to weight loss? One component that most overweight individuals deal with is overeating. Overeating occurs in a number of ways for a number of reasons but mindful meditation can help. When we reach for those late night cookie or bowl of ice cream we typically now we are not doing something good for ourselves. If you can practice recognizing when that feeling occurs and then doing a brief 10-20 second meditation you can squelch the act of these late-night mindless binges. The same goes for daytime snacking. Likewise, during meals, the 10-20 second meditation can be used to help yourself stop when you have eaten enough.
The exercise goes like this:
- Recognize that you are about to binge or overeat.
- Breathe in slowly for a count of 5.
- Repeat breathing in for a count of 5, 3 more times, exhaling after each inhale. (A total of 4 deep breathes).
- Ask yourself this question: “Am I hungry or am I eating for some other reason?”
Unfortunately for many who overeat and binge eat, it has become a habit. Breaking the habit can happen with this single exercise. By using this brief meditation exercise, your eating now becomes a choice.
If your answer to the question above is “no” and there is another reason why you are eating, then do something different. A great alternative is to have a cup of tea instead. Perhaps you could decide to do something different entirely, such as take a bath by candlelight.
In addition to this meditation exercise, regular, frequent, longer meditations help to train your brain to be more relaxed, more in tune with yourself, and simply more content. These benefits also contribute to a healthier overall lifestyle wherein you are less likely to overeat.
According to Norman Farb of the University of Toronto, “Mindfulness-based meditation can actually change the way you use your brain.”
Give this a try for 8 weeks. It is shown, thru scientific study that after practicing meditation for 8 weeks, the brain works differently – after a period of 8 weeks, the place in the brain where we connect experience and action with emotion begins to activate at a more sophisticated level. The result – problems don’t appear as problematic and we stop responding to things out of habit!
As author Catherine Price puts it “Every situation, if you think about it, is an invitation for you to react in a certain way, but being mindful gives you the change to decide how to R.S.V.P.”