May marks a time of new beginnings — the anticipation of summer, the blooming of flowers, and, perhaps, even the opportunity to begin a new, healthy habit. May is National Meditation Month and despite seeming minimal in nature, meditation has been proven effective for your overall wellness, including weight loss! You may be asking yourself, how does sitting on the ground for a set amount of time benefit your weight loss journey? Keep reading to extinguish any doubts and learn how to incorporate meditation into your weight loss routine.
Problems With Traditional Weight Loss 🚫
We’ve all seen the advertisements promising 10 pounds in 10 days or how to target stubborn fat in stubborn areas. This fast-track weight-loss diets often create a “yo-yo” fluctuation in weight, according to Healthline. This is when a caloric deficit is met for an amount of time but, because of the sudden change, it cannot be maintained. This cycle of losing and gaining weight takes a tremendous toll on the body, a toll that can be prevented by incorporating meditation into your weight loss strategy.
How Does Meditation Lead to Weight Loss? 🤔
Similar to everything in life, meditation is not the solution for your weight loss journey, but rather a tool you can use to help make it easier. Eating the correct foods, maintaining an exercise regimen and taking the right vitamins are crucial components to weight loss, but oftentimes these are not the most difficult to overcome. According to WebMD, mental health and physical health have a direct correlation with one another. The most difficult obstacles on your wellness journey could be low self-esteem, anxiety and/or depression. Your mental health journey goes hand in hand with your physical health journey, and meditation can help you achieve your goals.
Meditation allows one to face their emotional barriers and overcome them. Past traumas manifest into our everyday life, and by taking the time to sit, reflect and address these issues, we can accomplish extraordinary things. In meditation, you allow yourself to gently confront your decision-making. Why did you skip a morning workout? Why did you have a cheat meal? Meditation forces us to face the truth, rather than run from it. Having a cheat day or skipping a workout isn’t the end of the world, but allowing yourself to get too comfortable or making yourself feel too guilty is what ultimately hinders your weight loss journey. Through the act of meditation, you’re able to mentally prepare and motivate yourself for the opposition you are about to face. The saying “a healthy mind is a healthy body” isn’t just vague motivation, but a guideline for any physical challenge we may face.
On top of being mindful of what is disrupting your healthy lifestyle, meditation also allows you to create a unique, personalized approach to keeping the weight off, allowing you to focus on the solely most important person of your life…yourself!
Mental health is always the first step to change, and meditation is a great way to manifest change, however recent studies have shown meditation has literal physical benefits as well. Meditation can ease chronic pain, lower blood pressure and, in some cases, even improve heart health! These physical benefits, in combination with the mental benefits, have extraordinary effects on the mind and body, making meditation an excellent tool to take advantage of during your weight loss journey.
Detailed below is a beginner’s guide to meditation. For a novice, this will be a new concept and quite challenging, but with practice and repetition, meditation will slowly become second nature. We wish you luck in this journey of both physical changes, as well as your upcoming metamorphosis in mental betterment. For more information on alternatives to weight loss, visit our website.
Step 1: Prepare a safe space
Not much is needed in order to begin a meditation routine — you can meditate anywhere! But beginners may find it easier to focus in a safe, quiet space. There are no right or wrong answers, but you should be in a place where you are least likely to be disturbed and where you feel most comfortable. Find an isolated spot in your home that you can feel at ease. Add a yoga mat or comfy chair — whatever you need to feel relaxed. If distractions are out of your control, try using an eye mask and noise-canceling headphones to minimize disturbances. What you wear should also emit a comfortable, relaxing aura. Try wearing cozy, loose-fitting clothing to start off. As you practice more and more, you’ll find it easier to slip into meditation at any time or place, but in the beginning, stick to your designated meditation space.
Step 2: Get comfortable and breathe
Once you’ve entered your quiet space, get situated in a seated position. Get settled by lengthening your spine with an upright posture. Rest your hands on your lap or knees, tuck your chin slightly and let your body relax. Take three deep, audible breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. You can let your eyes close or let your gaze fall to a spot on the floor just in front of you, whatever feels more comfortable for you. Wear your eye mask if that works best for you and your environment.
Step 3: Focus on your body and senses
In order to let go of all your stress and outside factors, start your meditation by focusing on your senses and then your physical body. What can you smell? What can you hear? What can you feel or touch? These scents, sounds or feelings can be part of your meditation. Instead of trying to ignore your environment, acknowledge and notice them. Become fully aware of your surroundings, then allow yourself to move on. Now, focus on your body.
Begin reaching inward and bring your attention to every part of your body, starting with your toes and working your way up the lower half of your body. Then move on to your fingers and work your way through the upper half of your body. According to Healthline, this practice is called a body scan and it’s used to “promote physical and emotional wellness in multiple ways, such as improved sleep, anxiety and stress relief, greater self-awareness and reduced pain.” While completing your body scan, detect any tension or discomfort, but don’t try to change it, simply take note of how your body feels. Afterward, do another scan, but this time focus on the relaxed parts of your body. Take your time when scanning and don’t feel it needs to be rushed. When you reach your head, slowly begin to shift your scan to your thoughts.
Step 4: Practice mindfulness
Allow thoughts to come and go as they please. Entering and exiting your mind. This is no time for judgment either. Allow every thought to process as if you were a third party looking within. Flow with the current of your mind, not against it. Should an unwelcome thought enter your mind, you can always bring your focus back to your breath. Allow yourself to become self-aware. Consider what brought you to practice meditation. Allow yourself to feel good for giving yourself this time. Think about your goals and the aspects of your life you wish to change. This step could last 20 seconds or 20 minutes. Whatever you decide, just know by doing this you are becoming the better self you have envisioned.
Step 5: Gently re-enter your world
When you feel ready to bring your meditation to a close, start by bringing your awareness back to your physical surroundings. Re-scan your body from toe to head. As you work your way up to your neck, begin focusing on your breathing. Slowly register your inhales through your nose and exhales through the mouth as your pulsing heart brings you back to consciousness. When you are present and ready, open your eyes. Give yourself plenty of time to transition back to your regular day. Be gentle with yourself so you don’t lose the clarity you’ve just gained.
Step 6: Make a daily routine
For meditation to work it must become a habit. Establishing at least 10 minutes out of your day is an excellent place to start, but can be difficult as we become lost in our days. Find a routine, and stick to it! A lot of beginners find that meditating first thing in the morning and just before bed works best, but find what works best for you.
Remember, this is all for self-improvement. There is no right or wrong. For more information on healthy alternatives, you can practice in your day-to-day life visit our website.