Obesity is a widespread problem globally. According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) study, in 2016, 650 million adults were obese, and 1.9 billion adults were overweight.
Obesity is a worldwide phenomenon, and it encompasses all age groups. As a result, globally, there is a great focus on losing weight. The two most common ways to lose weight are exercising and dieting. However, there is another, less popular way of losing weight. It is called meditation. Meditation is a rare prescription for losing weight. It is probably because other benefits of meditation are more popular than weight loss. However, if done in the right way, meditation can be very effective in weight loss.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is an ancient practice that helps gain a better connection between the mind and the body. It is freeing yourself from the thoughts of the future and the past and about focusing your attention on the present moment. Meditation involves various breathing techniques and chanting of various mantras. It has been in practice for thousands of years for spiritual development. Though all kinds of meditation aim to bring internal peace, there are various specialised forms. These include meditation for mindfulness , spiritual meditation, focused meditation, movement meditation, mantra meditation, transcendental meditation, progressive relaxation, love-kindness meditation, and visualisation meditation.
Meditation and Weight Loss
Meditation can help you lose weight when complemented with the proper diet and exercise. Losing weight is all about how many calories you consume and how many you burn out. Meditation works on your mind. So what you attain is a sense of control over sensory pleasure. Once you have achieved that self control, you crave less. As a result, it limits your caloric intake by decreasing the frequency of binge eating and emotional eating. At the same time, meditation improves the clarity of thought. It means that you are more likely to be conscious of your wellbeing. So meditation indirectly helps you to eat as much as you need. It allows you to attain portion control as a way of life naturally. Hence, it helps lose excess weight.
Meditation the Right Way
The most basic form of meditation focuses on paying attention to your breath. You can do it anywhere, but you first need to keep your mind off all distractions if you are a beginner. Next, search for a quiet place for meditation. Also, do it at a time when distractions are minimal. Finally, follow a simple process for reflection which will eventually lead to better control over self and weight loss:
- Take a long, deep breath. Hold it for 8-10 seconds.
- Exhale slowly and thoroughly.
- Repeat the process.
- While the air goes in through your nostrils, notice the changes. Your lungs fill with air, and your chest and belly move out.
- If your mind wanders, acknowledge it. As soon as you realise that the mind is wandering, bring your attention back to your breath.
- Do not tell yourself that you cannot meditate. When thoughts come to you, please accept them as a normal phenomenon. Be gentle with yourself, and do not criticise yourself.
- Meditation leads to self-love. Along the way, you learn to read your emotions. You recognise what is good for you and what is excess. Thus, meditation leads to the control of desires and ultimately becomes a medium for weight loss.
As a beginner, you should meditate for at least 10 minutes daily. Also, try to meditate at the same place at the same time daily.
Other Benefits of Meditation
Weight loss is just one of the many benefits that come with meditation. It is the reason for its increased popularity all around the world. Given below are some of these benefits.
It is perhaps the most well-known benefit of meditation when done regularly. Cortisol hormone generally causes most of the physical and mental stress. It leads to many problems like fatigue, unclear thinking and, in worse cases, increased blood pressure. Research has shown that meditation helps manage the stress hormone cortisol when practised regularly. Another study showed that regular meditation also helps improve conditions like irregular bowel movement, fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Habitual meditation reduces anxiety levels as well. Therefore, it is valid for both curative and preventive purposes. It means that a person with high anxiety levels can practice meditation regularly and see things improving. Not only this, practising meditation reduces the chances of facing anxiety-related issues in the future. One study found that regular meditation is also effective in coping up with job-related anxiety.
Improves Mental Health
Meditation also aids people to have more positive thoughts, which lead to an improved outlook on life. For example, a study found that people who practice regular meditation have fewer negative thoughts than people who do not practice meditation regularly.
Meditation improves self-awareness. Improved awareness of the self also helps in adjusting to the surroundings. It also enables you to recognise your thoughts and categorise them as positive or negative. A study shows that regular meditation reduces feelings of loneliness among individuals.
Improves Attention Span
Habitual meditation improves attention span over time. Research found that people who listen to a meditation tape have improved attention span and accuracy while completing a task. Interestingly, you do not need to meditate for hours for it to work. Also, research shows that people who meditate for just 13 minutes per day have a better attention span after eight weeks.
Effective in Fighting Addictions
Meditation is all about having control over your thoughts. Addictions are uncontrollable habits performed over and over again. Meditation helps reduce the urge to engage in addictive habits by giving control over thoughts. This is backed up by research. A study involving 60 people with alcohol addiction found reduced alcohol consumption after three months of practising continuous meditation.
Makes you Kind
Metta is a specific kind of meditation that makes you feel good about yourself. It does that by giving you positive thoughts about yourself. Kindness for self quickly translates into feelings of compassion and forgiveness towards others, including friends, family and eventually enemies. It is backed by research as well. Studies show that Metta meditation increases compassion in people.
Improves Sleep Quality
Insomnia is a grave problem worldwide. A report claimed that about half of the world’s total population suffers from insomnia at least once in a lifetime. regular meditation gives control over your thoughts. A significant cause of not being able to sleep at night is that your mind is full of unnecessary thoughts. Meditation gives you the capability to drive these thoughts away. A study found that people who do meditation have longer sleeping hours than those who do not.
Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major concern of the time. Meditation helps in lowering blood pressure as well. There have been various studies that have stated this. An analysis of 12 previously done studies showed that meditation helps in reducing blood pressure. Further, meditation is more effective in older people than in younger people.
Meditation is becoming popular around the world for various benefits. If done correctly and regularly, it helps one attain better control over oneself. In addition, it reduces stress and anxiety. As a result, one has better control over cravings. Therefore, it can effectively aid in losing weight with a proper diet and exercise regimen. However, the benefits of meditation are not limited to weight loss. If done correctly, it can prevent and cure a lot of problems. These include high blood pressure, anxiety issues, and high-stress levels. In addition, it is helpful for you as it improves self-awareness and increases attention spans. Interestingly, meditating daily for even 15 minutes can help you achieve all these benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Can we reduce belly fat by meditation?
A. Yes, meditation can help reduce belly fat eventually. However, it would help if you complement it with proper diet and exercise. Losing weight or belly fat is how many calories you take in and how many you burn out. What meditation does is that it limits your calorie intake by decreasing the frequency of binge eating and emotional eating. At the same time, meditation increases the probability that you will have more self-love. It will motivate you to go out and exercise. So meditation indirectly helps you to reduce belly fat.
Q. Does meditation increase weight?
A. Losing weight or belly fat is just a matter of how many calories you take in and how many you burn out. You burn calories even in basic metabolic activities like breathing, pumping blood and digestion. In addition, meditation makes you keep still for a short span of time. However, the calorie burn is the same as when you are in a restive state.
Q. Do I lose weight when I poop?
A. Yes, you lose weight when you poop as the body has ejected waste. But this weight loss is temporary. It is because the body is continuously processing food. So the weight lost after pooping will replenish within a few hours. To lose significant weight, you need to be on a calorie deficit. There are only two ways to do that. Either take fewer calories in (eat in moderation) or burn more calories (exercise).
Q. Can yoga and meditation help lose weight?
A. Yes, yoga and meditation can help lose weight. Yoga creates a stronger connection between your mind and body. It has numerous types, with some focusing on meditation and mindfulness and others helping with strength and endurance. Hence, you can make yoga a part of your daily exercise regimen for weight loss as it can burn many calories.
Q. Can you lose weight by mindful eating?
A. Mindful eating refers to eating without distraction and being wholly involved in eating. It consists in eating until you are full by recognising hunger cues from the body. As a result of mindful eating, you can distinguish between true hunger and non-hunger. When you are wholly involved in eating, you can understand when you are full. Therefore, it eliminates the chances of binge eating. It further reduces calorie intake and hence helps in weight loss.
Q. Does sleeping help you lose weight?
A. Sleeping well is essential for losing weight. Lack of sleep is associated with hormones like leptin and ghrelin. These hormones increase cravings for unhealthy foods and contribute to increasing weight. Another way of losing weight while sleeping is to lower the room’s temperature. It makes the body spend more energy to keep itself warm. It increases the number of calories burnt and hence helps in reducing weight.
Q. Can you lose weight by walking?
A. Yes, you can lose weight by walking. It is because you are burning calories as you walk. The number of calories you burn while walking depends on your weight and walking distance. For a 180 pound person, 100 calories per mile burn for every mile of walk. For a 120 pound person, 65 calories per mile burn for every mile of walk. If your goal is to lose weight, you need to be mindful of the other side of the equation: calorie intake. To effectively lose weight, you must also eat right and not put excess calories in your body.
Q. Does drinking water help you lose weight?
A. Yes, water forms up to 60% of your body. Water helps in a variety of ways in reducing your weight. For starters drinking enough water enables you to suppress your diet. It reduces calorie intake. Drinking water helps in stimulating your metabolism and hence burning calories as well. Water helps during exercise as well. The water requirement is to distribute the required electrical energy needed for muscle movement during exercise. Finally, drinking water helps better bowel movement and removes waste from the body.
Q. Why am I eating healthy and working out but gaining weight?
A. If you are doing right on the eating and exercising front, a possible cause for weight gain may be poor sleep quality. Make it a point to sleep at least 7 hours each night. Another reason is that you might be retaining a lot of water. Therefore, you need to reduce sodium intake and eat food rich in magnesium.
Q. Does hypnosis work to lose weight?
A. Yes, hypnosis makes you feel relaxed and more susceptible to advice. In addition, it can make it easier for you to build better habits like healthy eating, regular exercise and sufficient sleep. These can help you lose weight effectively. However, it can only cause slight weight loss with an average loss of 6 pounds or 2.7 kilograms. You will begin to see these results in 18 months.