If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we’re really big on meditation here at Reflect. Mediation’s scientifically proven benefits include stress and anxiety reduction, increased focus, better academic outcomes, and supercharged awareness. It should come as no surprise that we try to incorporate it into as many parts of our lives as possible.
Food and diet are no exception. Whether your goal is losing or gaining a few extra pounds or simply eating a healthier and more balanced diet – meditation is a tool that can help you get there.
This may seem counterintuitive given that meditation is practiced while sitting still. We’re conditioned to think that to reach our fitness goals, we must run a marathon or do the intense body workouts seen across our Instagram feeds. But when it comes to weight loss and meditation, the two are more closely linked than you might think. Think, “mind over matter.”
So what even is mediation? Meditation is an extended practice by which you train yourself to gain awareness and perspective. It’s about observing your thoughts, feelings, and wishes without judgment or prejudice, so you can learn how to better understand them and act upon them. Meditation doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated; it just has to be meaningful. Even a one-minute meditation can be beneficial for your overall well-being.
So how can this help you better regulate your diet?
One of the pillars of meditation is releasing judgment. When it comes to our relationship with food, you may find yourself feeling shame over specific cravings or eating habits – hence the term “guilty pleasure.” These repetitive negative feelings towards oneself may further trigger unhealthy eating habits and disorders. However, through meditation, you can learn acceptance and the release of judgment, putting you on a healthier eating journey.
Mindfulness & Mindful Eating
Mindfulness is an extension of meditation. It is about being 100% in the present, intensely aware of how you’re feeling and thinking. When it comes to food, practicing mindful eating is all about being acutely aware of what you’re putting into your body — how that glass of water is hydrating you from within or how those fries crunch in your mouth. It is about focusing attention on all the senses and the present moment of eating so that you can make the best decisions and truly enjoy the pleasure of the experience.
Before reaching for a bag of chips or that second candy bar, you might ask yourself – why am I reaching for this? Am I bored? Procrastinating? Hungry? Mindful eating and meditation make you more aware of why you may be craving foods and lead you to healthier decisions about withholding or wholeheartedly indulging in them – guilt-free.
Meditation is shown to help us get better sleep and even treat insomnia. As it relates to food, not getting enough sleep may result in the tendency to give in to cravings and temptations. Think: if you’re tired and groggy, you might want comfort food and rely on emotional eating instead of mindful eating. Getting better quality sleep through meditation provides a more relaxed and clearer state of mind so that you can forget about the late-night snacks.
Wondering where to start incorporating meditation for weight loss?
Below are five meditation techniques you need to try in order to lose weight:
1. Guided Meditation
This type of meditation is perhaps the easiest to start with. Guided by an app or a teacher in person, guided meditation helps get your mind ready to relax using visualization techniques. Try the popular Headspace app and, more specifically, its meditation for weight loss program.
2. Sit while you eat.
We’ve all been there. Grabbing a sandwich and eating it on the walk to the subway or taking a bite out of something while standing in front of the fridge, the door still ajar. Our busy lives and lack of time make it hard to prioritize something as simple as sitting while we eat. However, taking the time to sit, even if it’s just 10 minutes per meal (ideally more) is the first step towards implementing mindful eating. Sitting will make your lunch or dinner less of an afterthought, it will make you feel like you’re eating a “real meal” instead of a snack (which may stop you from reaching for another snack later,) and it will ultimately give you the mental space you need to change your relationship with food.
3. Eat slowly.
Taking the time to focus and meditate on how you chew will result in eating slower and an awareness of how the food you consume influences your body. Eating slower gives you time to think and, therefore, making better choices in all aspects of life. It also improves digestion and increases the level of gut hormones that make you feel full, resulting in reduced calorie intake. In other words, the slower you eat – the less you’ll eat.
4. Minimize distractions.
While it may be tempting (particularly if you’re eating alone) to reach for your phone or the remote, taking the time to focus on the task at hand (ie. eating) will allow you to go into a more mindful state. When you minimize distractions and truly give in to the experience of food, you’re one step closer to your meditation goals.
5. Feel the sensations.
Becoming a witness, not a judge, is the building block of meditation. Pay attention to the texture, smells, temperature, colors of your food. Is it spicy? Hot? Slippery? Crunchy? This will help you not only appreciate the flavors and the thought that went into creating your meal (whether you made it yourself or not) but may give you a new perspective to consider. Using all of your senses makes for a fuller eating experience.
Meditation techniques for weight loss are a more holistic, long-term approach than hard to adhere to fad diets. The beauty of meditation is that it’s your practice, and the more you train yourself to focus your attention inwards, the more you’ll find that meditation for weight loss does work.
For making it easy to start making a friendly commitment to meditate every day, you might want to check out the Reflect meditation device, it’s a biofeedback-based device that can help in motivating you to start your journey of managing your weight with the help of mindfulness, meditation, and biofeedback.