How can meditation help with weight loss?

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Ruth Frechman
Nutrition & Dietetics
For many people, losing weight is a mind-set. If you are determined, nothing will stop you. However, stress can get in your way. Meditation can help relieve stress and empower you, which in turn, will get your mind back on track to achieving your goals. 

All spiritual beliefs at their core have one thing in common and that is meditation to some degree.  Meditation does not make you burn any more calories but it does help to reduce stress but for most it improves peoples self-worth, confidence and focus.  When these things are improved you feel better and the motivation of wanting to stay away from junk and working hard toward goals increases.  

Lets look at the 5 components of goal setting and then below that look at how meditation can help each other.  I hope to prove that simply changing your mind can have a dramatic impact on thoughts which can fuel the likelihood of succeeding.  

5 Steps to Goal Setting (taken from NASM)

  1. You Must Have a Vision
  2. You Must Have a Strategy
  3. You Must Believe You Can
  4. You Must Persist Through Trials
  5. You Must Have Accountability

How Meditation can help with goal setting (weight loss)

  • Vision - The less you are focused on the outside world and the more you meditate the more peace you generally will have in your life.  The more you can focus on searching yourself the easier you can identify the specific vision of what you are wanting to accomplish
  • Strategy - Once the vision is clear it is much easier to have a coach or develop a strategy that matches the vision.  If your vision is not clear then the strategy (even the best) may not be effective
  • Believe - Obviously if you are in a better state of mind, have more peace and joy you will believe that you can accomplish the vision and believe the strategy will work.  Your confidence will be higher
  • Persistence - If your life is full of stress the weight of the world will be on your shoulders.  Everyone has their breaking point and the ability to persist reduces dramatically.  Having peace and joy puts things in perspective and gives you strength to persist
  • Accountability / Learning - If you care about what you are doing and have made it this far you are going to care enough to be accountable to someone and willing to learn more about yourself and fitness.

The power of meditation in fitness is the ability to focus your mind, be balanced and I am fully convinced that if you believe and think right you will live right.  Not the other way around.

Meditation is interesting.  From a caloric standpoint it doesn't do very much for weight loss however from a psychological standpoint it might be very beneficial.  Many of the drivers for eating are psychological not physical (ie boredom, depression, anxiety).  Meditation can help a person overcome these triggers allowing them to more effectively resist the urge to eat when they are not hungry.

Meditation is a fantastic tool for weight loss.  In fact, clinical studies have actually shown that certain meditation techniques have a profound effect on reducing belly fat.  How does it work?  The answer is actually very simple.  When you are under more stress, your body secretes stress hormones that actually cause you to gain weight.  This is your body's anticipation for possible starvation in the setting of a stressful event, such as a famine.  However, modern day stress has little to do with natural disasters that may leave you without food for weeks and are a result of the chronic low-grade stress of daily activities, such as driving in traffic, working long hours, arguing with a spouse, etc.  Meditation is a powerful tool to reduce the body's response to stress and therefore reduces the stress hormones that promote weight gain.  Meditation also helps to increase your natural supply of wellbeing hormones such as serotonin, which actually make you feel more satiated and reduce the desire to eat junk food.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.