It is well known that meditation can help with weight loss. However, you can also use meditation for weight gain. It all depends on the type of technique you do.
Research has shown that meditating can both increase and decrease metabolic rate. The metabolic rate is the rate at which the body burns calories. It can be affected by body size and composition, gender, and energy needs based on how active a lifestyle we live.
The metabolic rate has long been associated with weight because the more calories you burn the quicker you lose weight.
You can influence your metabolism in many ways. Mayo Clinic says, “You can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity. The more active you are, the more calories you burn… Some people with fast metabolism are probably just more active, and maybe fidget more.”
And you can also change your metabolic rate with meditation.
Meditation And Weight Gain – Research
Meditation and mindfulness are practices in which we focus the mind on the present moment. When we meditate, we can either increase or decrease our metabolic rate.
Speaking to WebMD, Herbert Benson, MD [founder, Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center] made a good point.
Benson said that because meditative exercises stimulate the relaxation response, they “help decrease metabolism, lower blood pressure, and improve heart rate, breathing, and brain waves.”
Meditation decreases metabolism, leading to weight gain
MRI brain scans have revealed that meditating can influence activity in areas that affect metabolism and heart rate. This research was based on Buddhist meditation techniques, the majority of which involve sitting still.
Generally, when we relax, the metabolic rate goes down, especially if we are inactive at the same time. This is how meditation can help with weight gain. When we meditate we induce the relaxation response, which decreases metabolism, so we put on weight (assuming the rest of our lifestyle remains the same).
However, this is not true of some techniques.
Some meditations help with weight gain, others with weight loss
Certain types of meditation cause us to lose weight because they increase metabolism. Of course, this is the case with active meditations like yoga, tai chi and qigong. But it also true of some stationary types of meditation.
Research published by the National Institute of Health shows that the deep meditation techniques used in yoga can lead to increased relaxation, reduced oxygen consumption, and reduced metabolic rate .
A study published by the National Institute of Yoga shows that “long-term practice of yoga [and yogic meditations] leads to lower metabolic rates and probably greater metabolic efficiency mainly due to reduced sympathetic activity and / or stabilized nervous system.”
Not only does meditation influence metabolism, but it can also help with eating disorders.
Practices such as mindful eating make us more conscious of our dietary habits, and this can help whether we intend to lose weight or gain it.
Best Meditations For Weight Gain
The best meditations for weight gain are ones that lead to long-lasting relaxation. Why? Because relaxation decreases the metabolic rate. In turn, calories are burnt slower, and less weight is lost during the day.
Any relaxing method will help with weight gain.
Meditation also improves dietary habits
We don’t meditate to influence metabolism. We meditate to gain control of the mind and, thereby, of our actions. So, while you can lower metabolism with meditation and gain weight, it is better to focus on the other aspects of meditation.
Meditation increases our conscious awareness, so we are more able to act in healthy ways. That’s true whether you’re trying to gain weight or lose it.
Meditation empowers us to take control of our life by changing our thoughts and feelings.
In a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, Margarita Sala et. al. revealed that mindfulness leads to a decrease in eating disorders because it reduces the impact of harmful thinking habits around food.
This study did not focus on weight gain. However, the truths it highlighted are highly related.
Both weight loss and weight gain are often based on our thoughts. For instance, consider anorexia. HealthDirect.Gov says, “People with anorexia nervosa have an irrational fear of gaining weight.” It is the fear (the emotion and thoughts) that cause the problem. Meditation gives us the power to control those thoughts and feelings, and thereby to overcome the psychological problem that causes abnormal weight.
As you can see, there are two ways in which meditation helps with weight gain. Firstly, it can help to reduce metabolic rate, which will naturally increase weight gain. Secondly, it helps us to control the thoughts and feelings that cause eating disorders.
The best meditations for weight gain, therefore, are ones that are highly relaxing and thereby stimulate the relaxation response to decrease metabolism. And also, ones that increase awareness of thoughts and feelings.
I recommend you try Anapanasati, Zazen, and Samatha. You can find guides to all these methods via our main menu.
Do you want to gain weight? Would you like to learn to meditate properly? Book an online meditation lesson with me today.