I’ve written about the many benefits of meditation before and I’d like to add another one to the list - weight loss. Kinda.
I’m not saying that meditation will miraculously melt away the kilos. Instead it will provide a deeper understanding of yourself and your body which can help you create better habits, overcome negative beliefs and stop cravings which will ultimately lead to a better you.
Here are all the ways that meditation can help you reach your weight goals:
Meditation can help you stop cravings
Well, by that I mean it can help you root out the cause of your cravings and in turn help you put a stop to them. Many people feed their cravings automatically without any real thought put into it. You feel a little peckish, you eat something to satisfy it. Many times we eat things when we’re really just dehydrated, which is why a lot of health coaches advise us to drink a big glass of water first before we feed our craving.
The basic tenets of meditation is to sit within ourselves and be present. Body scanning meditations bring our attention to our body so we really listen to all the subtle and overt ways our body feels. By paying attention to your cravings without judgment, you will soon be able to recognise either accompanying feelings, or perhaps the craving isn’t a food craving at all, but a need for a specific type of attention you’re failing to give yourself.
For example, you could be using food as a way to mask your unhappiness with your job because you don’t want to have to think about changing jobs. Every time you are at work, you eat chips, chocolate or other foods so you don’t have to think about quitting. Or maybe you crave salty food because your body is lacking some vital minerals, but instead of eating healthy food in order to get these minerals, your body tries to get it the only way it knows how, which is by eating salty chips - ironically, it still doesn’t get what it needs, which makes you crave it more - a vicious cycle.
Meditation can help you identify your triggers and stop your reactive cycle.
Meditation can help you recognise the cause of your negative beliefs about yourself
Sometimes, more than losing weight, we need to change how we view ourselves. Which is why overweight people who have lost all the extra weight still fight with body image issues. Our beliefs about ourselves are some of the strongest held beliefs and also some of the hardest to change - though it’s not impossible. Awareness is key. And meditation can help with the awareness. Most people aren’t even aware what they subconsciously believe about themselves.
With meditation you can safely explore your beliefs, "Am I really this? Does this still hold true today? Do I still want this belief?" Slowly you can make conscious decisions about changing your thought patterns. When you catch yourself negatively berating yourself, you can choose to let that thought go and welcome a new, more positive thought.
This isn’t a quick and easy process, but it is a more lasting process than fad diets that don’t address the reason you’re not sticking to your weight goals. As you get to know yourself better you’ll soon be making smarter health choices that are more in line with your new positive self image.