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Mindfulness & weight loss—is there a connection?

Before and After BMI

May 16, 2016

Mindfulness & weight loss—is there a connection?

Illustration of a meditating woman surrounded by flowers and birds.

The mind-body connection is strong and well established, but you might be surprised to learn that mindfulness and weight loss may also be linked.

Meditation has been used for centuries as a way to clear the mind and find calmness and clarity. It often involves deep, mindful breathing that can make you feel relaxed and focused.

Increasing mindfulness

Experts think that meditation and weight loss may be connected. Some believe that by simply taking five deep breaths before eating, we’ll slow ourselves down and become more mindful of the taste and appearance of the food. Instead of diving in and mindlessly wolfing down our meals, taking those breaths can make us more conscious of what we’re eating and increase our appreciation of the food in front of us.

Reducing stress

In addition, meditation is thought to reduce stress, which can also help reduce weight by preventing overeating. Many people have been guilty of overeating due to stress at some point in their lives. And we don’t just eat too much when we’re stressed – we also make poor food choices. Cookies, chips and ice cream are all easy to binge on after a tough day at work or a disagreement with a loved one. Eating junk food seems comforting at the time, but that feeling doesn’t last for long.

Meditation is so effective at reducing stress that it can make us feel as relaxed as we are during sleep. Studies have shown that brain waves mimic a sleep-like state after meditating, and in some cases, they indicate an even greater degree of relaxation than that induced by sleep. As a result, our levels of stress hormones fall, and we feel more relaxed.

Clearing your mind of negativity and clutter

Finally, meditation has been linked to healthier, clearer thinking. People who meditate regularly often find that they have a sense of relaxation and peace, and their minds feel cleared of clutter and negativity. This can lead to a sense of mental well-being that may help us make better choices when it comes to our physical well-being.

Tips for beginners

Meditation and mindfulness aren’t quick weight loss fixes, of course, but they seem to be helpful in terms of reducing stress and promoting a sense of well-being that may help you reduce your weight. There are many different ways to meditate, and meditation only takes a few minutes, so if you’re interested in trying it, follow these steps:

  • Choose a quiet location and get comfortable: You can be lying down, sitting in your favorite chair, standing or even walking.
  • Focus your attention: Focus on a word or phrase, or on your breathing.
  • Start with just a few minutes: When you’re just starting out, even a few minutes of meditation may feel like a long time. Begin by meditating for as little as three minutes, or even by taking just a few breaths.
  • Understand distractions: Letting your mind wander to other thoughts is normal. When this happens, don’t give up. Gently re-focus your attention on your chosen word, phrase or breathing.

Getting started

If you’d like some extra help, try using a meditation app or taking a class. Several places in San Antonio offer classes, including The Synergy Studiothe San Antonio Zen Center and the Shambhala Meditation Center of San Antonio.

For more information about mindfulness and weight loss, contact BMI of Texas.