If you have struggled with weight loss before, the missing piece of the puzzle could be meditation (we’ll look at the best techniques in just a moment).
I personally found it really simple to use meditation to lose weight. That is, once I started using the right techniques. Because truth is, some meditations help and others do not. Indeed, some meditations actually make you put on weight.
Thanks to meditation I was able to get down to the right weight. And now, years later, I am a meditation teacher, and I teach people to lose weight in my lessons. So, let me show you how to do it.
Best Meditation For Weight Loss
1: Guided Meditation
- Sit comfortably with good posture. Make sure your spine is straight but relaxed. Your feet should be grounded and shoulder-width apart. Your face (including your mouth, ears, nose, and forehead) should be relaxed.
- Gently close your eyes and focus on your breath moving through your nostrils. Observe the passage of your breath through your nose, down your throat, into your diaphragm. Continue to watch your breath for ten minutes.
- Start to recite the mantra “I am making loving, compassionate choices for my body”. Notice how you’re not focusing on getting in shape or developing a beach body, you’re focusing on self-compassion.
- Continue to recite this mantra while breathing mindfully. Aim to continue the mantra for ten minutes.
- While you meditate, you might experience thoughts and feelings. That’s fine. Some of those thoughts might relate to your body image. Again, that’s fine. Just let your thoughts come and go as they will. Do not repress them, do not fight them, and do not judge them. You might also think “positive” thoughts, like your motivations for health, and goals. Again, just let these thoughts come and go as they will.
- Continue for ten minutes.
- At the end of this meditation, tell yourself that you are grateful for your body and that you will love and protect it.
- Open your eyes and go about your day as usual.
Mindful eating is one of the best ways to develop a healthy relationship with food because it improves self-regulation, self-awareness, and executive function.
Mindfulness, in a nutshell, means being consciously aware of the present moment in a nonjudgmental way.
It’s about awareness. And this is important because you need to be aware of hunger and cravings. Only by being aware of these things can we stop them from influencing us.
In one randomised controlled trial, it was reported that mindfulness meditation enhanced weight reduction by 2.8 kg because it improves eating behaviours and dietary restraint.
And in a recent North Carolina State University study, participants who learned mindful eating lost 633% more weight than a control group.
When it comes to weight loss, visualizations can help motivate you and make you feel great about getting in shape.
Essentially, to do a visualization we create a mental picture of who we want to be. We then meditate on this picture. It’s like you’re meditating on a vision of ideal yourself in all your bikini-body beauty! And it does wonders for your motivation.
Evidence suggests that visualizations help us kick unhealthy habits. McGill University investigated how visualization enhances our ability to control our diet. They asked test participants to eat more fruit for one week. Half the group were asked to vizualise buying fruit and eating it at particular times and to write down a plan for reaching their goal. The other half of the participants were the control group.
Results showed that test participants who performed the weight loss visualization ate twice as much fruit as the control group.
- Sit quietly for a few minutes and focus on your breath.
- Now visualize yourself after getting in shape. What would you look like? What would you feel like? What would be different about you? Imagine these things in detail.
- Now tell yourself how you are going to get there. What steps are you going to take to get in shape? Write those steps down.
- Now visualize yourself going through the steps above until you reach your desired body type.
- Do this visualization once a day every day for one week.
4. Guided Meditation #2
You’ve doubtlessly noticed the bajillion guided meditations for weight loss that are on Youtube. Some are good, others pants. The odd few are truly exceptional.
In my opinion, the best guided meditation for weight loss is by Michael Sealey.
Do bear in mind, however, that research from Harvard Medical School  shows that guided meditations are nowhere near as effective as traditional meditation.
5. Visualization 2
In this visualization, you are going to create a very believable mental image of a perfect you. You are going to see yourself as everything you want to be. You’re going to train your mind to recognise what you truly want. This will turbo-charge your slimming.
- Sit comfortably with good posture. Make sure your spine is in proper alignment.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
- You are going to systematically build a mental picture of yourself as the person you truly want to be. And don’t you dare go short on me. I want you to visualise weight loss success in detail.
- Begin with your face. What would your face look like? See your beautiful skin. Notice how there are zero wrinkles. You look beautiful. Vividly visualise your face.
- Your upper body. If you’re a guy, you might want a six-pack. If you’re a girl, you might want a slim and slender look. Imagine your perfect upper body.
- Legs: Toned? Smooth? How do you want them? Imagine it in detail.
- Everything else: Fill in any other details of your ideal body.
- Imagine that this perfect you is doing something amaze-balls right now, something that you would have to get in shape to do. For instance, crossing the finish line of a marathon.
- Put everything together, so you are imagining your perfect self accomplishing something spectacular.
- Affirmation: What would your ideal self say after performing this fantastic feat? Choose an affirmation and say it loudly in your head.
- It’s vital to visualize your perfect self in detail. You need to truly see your ideal body, truly imagine yourself achieving that fantastic thing and truly hear that positive affirmation in your head.
6: Visualisation 3: Food Assimilation
This is a meditation on biological assimilation.
Biological assimilation is the process through which the body breaks down nutrients and takes them into the body.
Healthy food assimilation improves our overall wellbeing and helps us to get in shape and stay fit. However, stress impedes the body’s ability to assimilate food, causing the body to store more fat.
Meditation improves digestion by helping with the assimilation of food and by reducing stress.
However, we can take things further by visualising food assimilation.
In this meditation, we visualise the journey of food through the body and its effect on us. This heightens mindfulness of body and food and, in turn, motivates us to eat more healthily.
7: Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is a game-changer for many people.
Jean Kristeller [professor emeritus of psychology at Indiana State University] says that mindfulness meditation changed the way she thought about slimming.
“It was more than a light bulb moment,” she said.
After hearing famous mindfulness teacher John Kabat Zinn discussing mindfulness, she decided to start a program called Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training.
The program teaches people to be more aware of food and the eating process.
In one exercise, participants slowly eat a raisin while paying very close attention to the flavour and sensations.
“People are stunned by the exercise,” she says. “They see that if they eat a few raisins mindfully, they can enjoy them as much or more than if they eat a whole box.”
Mindful eating helps with diets because it makes you more aware of the process of eating. It helps you to recognise how you feel about different types of food, and what happens in your mind when you eat. By being more aware of the process of eating, you empower yourself to change that process.
Instructions (Part 1):
- For this exercise, you will need one piece of comfort food / junk food that you always eat. Your favourite one.
- Go somewhere peaceful.
- Put your junk food on the table / ground.
- Sit comfortably with good posture.
- Relax for two minutes.
- Focus your mind 100% on the sensation of your breath coming and going through the space between your nose and mouth.
- Take 25 mindful breaths.
- Bring to mind your favourite junk food (the one that’s in front of you).
- Focus on your mental impression of this food.
- Notice that certain thoughts arise. You will have specific thoughts about the food. It is these thoughts that form your negative relationship with food. We need to get rid of these thoughts.
- Every time you experience ANY thought, SEE the thought (imagine you are looking at yourself experiencing the thought, as though you were spectating yourself). Next, say to yourself, “This is just a thought. It isn’t a reality.”
- Finally, imagine blowing that thought away from you until it fully disappears.
- Pick up the food.
- While holding the food in your hand, you will once again experience different thoughts.
- Take a minute to notice the types of thoughts you are experiencing.
- Again, tell yourself that they are only thoughts. They’re not reality; they’re just delusions in your mind.
- Now, to continue this exercise, I’m going to be using the example of a chocolate bar, but you can continue with whatever piece of food you have.
- Open the chocolate bar. Study it. Meditate on it. Focus your mind 100% on the food, on the colours, the smell, the texture and every other aspect of the food.
- Again notice the types of thoughts you are experiencing. Tell yourself “These are just thoughts. They are not reality.” Imagine those thoughts floating off into the distance.
- Eat the food slowly. Bite into it, hold it in your mouth and stop. Don’t swallow. Meditate on the flavour.
- With the food in your mouth, be aware of your thoughts. Tell yourself, “These are just thoughts. They are not reality.” Imagine the thoughts floating off into the distance.
- Continue until the food is gone.
Pranayama is arguably the very best meditation for weight loss. The term pranayama refers to the type of breathing we do while practising yoga. When we combine yoga and meditation, we train both the mind and body for fitness.
Scientific research (1), shows that people who practice a combination of meditation, yoga and pranayama have a higher BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate— the number of calories burnt per time period).
Basically, a high BMR rate helps us lose weight quicker.
Some meditations aren’t good for getting in shape because they are inactive. And inactivity causes a reduction in metabolic activity, which is counterproductive to slimming.
But pranayama can “acutely increase metabolism” according to the National Library of Medicine.
In particular, Ujjayi Pranayama (filling the lungs by breathing through the nose) while practising Surya Anuloma Viloma (right nostril breathing) has been shown to increase oxygen consumption by 19% because of increased muscular activity. In turn, this increases metabolic rate.
Although the research looked specifically at the two methods above, it implies that there are benefits of other active meditations for weight management.
That’s why you might also like to try mindful walking and tai chi.
How meditation Helps With Weight Loss
1) Helps with binge eating
Research shows that mindfulness is the best intervention for binge eating .
Meditation strengthens the lateral prefrontal cortex, which is a part of the brain involved with self-control. And because of this, it helps us to overcome binge eating.
2) Reduces emotional eating
Meditation reduces emotional eating because it boosts levels of feel-good neurochemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine. Plus, it balances dopamine levels.
As well as this, meditation strengthens the hippocampus according to research from the University of Geissen, Germany. This helps to reduce negative emotions that cause emotional eating,
There’s also a link between loneliness and binge eating.
When we are lonely, we are more likely to binge eat. However, Dr Andrew Newburg, [University of Pennsylvania neuroscientist] says meditation relaxes the parietal lobe to reduce feelings of loneliness. In turn, this helps prevent emotional eating.
3) Increases motivation to lose weight
Johnson et al at the University of Toronto say that the key to successful weight loss is having intrinsic motivation instead of extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation means our motivation comes from within (thinking about how we will feel after losing weight) instead of from without (for instance, because your wife tells you to lose weight).
Meditation increases intrinsic motivation. Therefore, it increases the chances of a successful weight loss program.
4) Meditation reduces visceral fat caused by stress
Meditation helps with visceral fat.
As Dr Kristen Hairston [assistant professor of endocrinology, Wake Forest University] told WebMD, visceral fat creates lots of harmful substances that affect our health.
A leading cause of visceral fat is stress according to the University of Massachusetts (Hardy et al).
Meditation reduces stress. In turn, this helps with metabolic syndrome (i.e. high blood sugar, high triglycerides, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and so on).
The Cedars-Sinai Research Institute states that meditation helps with weight loss by reducing three of the primary markers of metabolic syndrome: insulin resistance, HOMA (homeostasis model assessment) and glucose.
5) Reduces Body Mass Index
Brown University researchers discovered that people with higher levels of mindfulness weigh less on average, have better Body Mass Index (BMI) scores, and have less abdominal fat.
5) Increases self-compassion so you treat your body better
A 2012 UCLA School of Medicine study found that meditation activates the compassion brain. This helps us to stop hating ourselves for putting on weight. Plus, it promotes positive, compassionate behaviour.
You can achieve your perfect body and mind. The weight loss meditation techniques we’ve looked at will help.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try other techniques as well. Obviously a healthy diet like the Mediteranean Diet, exercise, and drinking plenty of water can help.
But for me, the key to begins in the mind.
The mind’s ability to stop cravings, to motivate us to lose weight, and to support us through stressful times… those skills are infinitely more valuable than anything the gym could give you.
If you want to lose weight, book an online meditation lesson with me today.
Giving Is Caring
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison