When I started using meditation for weight loss, I changed the way I think about food and developed the “Weight Loss Mindset”. This alternative way of getting in shape helped me to shred more than 87LBS.
What’s more, I found it easy to use meditation to lose weight.
Unlike many of the current trendy weight-loss methods, like those fad diets and gruelling workout routines, meditation was a much gentler, more relaxed way of losing weight. I found it an enjoyable way to get back in shape.
Today I am a mindfulness instructor, and I would like to show you how to use meditation for weight loss.
For starters, let’s look at what meditation is. Meditation is a psychological exercise in which we focus the mind on one or more aspects of the present moment (such as focusing on the breath or on a sound). It stems from a combination of Hinduism, Buddhism, and yoga. There are many different forms of meditation, including breathing techniques, Loving Kindness, Vipassana, and guided meditation for weight loss. Techniques have different benefits, but most are beneficial for our health.
There are many meditation techniques for weight loss. They work by changing the way we think and feel about food, and by giving us control of our cravings.
Meditation is the best way how to have a healthy relationship with food and lose weight. The key to using mindfulness successfully, however, is not to focus on your fat, ideas of being fit, or calorie counting. It’s a more enlightened approach than fad diet trends. It’s about learning to be more mindful, making healthy food choices, and loving yourself and you body. That’s how you use meditation for eating healthy: by focusing on self compassion and mindfulness.
If you’ve failed on a weight loss program don’t sweat, most people do, and all you need to do is to choose to focus on a new approach: the mindful approach to being healthy.
Science proves it works.
Links between meditation and weight loss
- Meditation helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, reduce amygdala activity, and balance stress hormones like cortisol, which helps to reduce stress eating. Cortisol also leads to storing body fat, so mindfulness helps you to stop putting on weight.
- It also helps you to not allow emotions to affect your diet, and makes you more aware of hungriness and fullness, thereby boosting intuitive eating and reducing overeating.
- And it works long term. Research shows that methods like diet and exercise help in the short term but are less effective in the long term, where mindfulness based interventions for weight loss are more effective long-term [Mindfulness‐based interventions for weight loss: a systematic review and meta‐analysis, K. Carrière B. Khoury M. M. Günak B. Knäuper, Obesity Reviews, 2017].
- Research also shows that mindfulness is the best intervention for binge eating [Mindfulness meditation as an intervention for binge eating, emotional eating, and weight loss: A systematic review, 2013, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Rush University Medical Center]
- Finally, meditation strengthens the lateral prefrontal cortex (which is a part of the brain involved with self control). I wish there were research around meditation and leptin (a chemical that tells the brain that you’re not hungry and can burn calories). But no such research yet exists.
- Meditation helps with emotional eating because it boosts levels of feel-good neurochemicals like, serotonin and norepinephrine, while also balancing dopamine levels.
Best Meditation Techniques For Weight Loss
- You can learn all of these methods and more here.
Through my experience as an instructor, and through reading countless research papers, I’ve discovered that the following are the best meditations for weight loss.
I’ll start with the best weight loss meditation script.
1: Weight Loss Meditation Script
- 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, through your mouth, 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 develop a beach body, you’re focusing on self-compassion.
- Continue to recite this mantra while mindfully breathing. Aim to continue the mantra for ten minutes.
- While your meditate, thoughts and feelings may arise. 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 weight loss, and goals. Again, just let these thoughts come and go as they will.
- At the end of this meditation, tell yourself that you love your body, 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.
2) Pranayama to increase metabolic rate
Pranayama is arguably the very best meditation for weight loss. The term pranayama refers to the type of breathing we do while practising yoga. By combining 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 (breathing techniques used in yoga) have a higher BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate— the number of calories burnt per time period). A high BMR rate helps us to lose weight quicker.
Some meditations aren’t good for weight loss because they are inactive, and the inactivity causes a reduction in metabolic activity, which is counterproductive to slimming. In contrast, 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, and this, in turn, leads to a higher metabolic rate.
Although the research looked specifically at the two methods above, it does seem to imply that other active meditations will also help with weight loss. That’s why you might also like to try mindful walking, tai chi, and kapalabhati.
3) Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Food Cravings
Mindful eating is one of the best ways to develop a healthy relationship with food.
Research shows that mindfulness meditation helps with weight loss by improving self-regulation and self-awareness and enhancing executive function.
Mindfulness, in a nutshell, means being consciously aware of the present moment in a nonjudgmental way.
When we are unconscious of our thoughts and feelings, we allow them to direct us. When we think, “I fancy chocolate”, if we are not consciously aware of the thought, we will, sure enough, grab a bar of chocolate.
Mindfulness gives us the power to say, “This is just a thought. I don’t want chocolate because I want to get thinner”.
By simply being more aware, we empower ourselves to take control of our minds, and this, in turn, helps us to take control of our actions.
In one randomised controlled trial, it was reported that mindfulness meditation enhanced weight loss by 2.8 kg because of improvements in eating behaviours and dietary restraint.
4. Weight loss visualizations
When it comes to weight loss, visualizations can help motivate you and make you feel great about getting in shape. Essentially, to do a weight loss 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 an ideal vision of yourself in all your bikini-body beauty! And it does wonders for your motivation.
Evidence suggests that weight loss 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. The results of the study show that test participants who performed the visualization ate twice as much fruit as the control group.
Try this simple weight loss visualization:
- 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.
5. Best Guided Meditation For Weight Loss
You’ve doubtlessly noticed the bajillion guided meditations for weight loss that are on Youtube. Some are good. Some are pants. The odd few are truly exceptional.
In my opinion, the best guided meditation for weight loss is by Michael Sealey. It’s called Hypnosis for Weight Loss (Guided Relaxation, Healthy Diet, Sleep & Motivation)
6. Visualization for Weight Loss 2
This is a potent weight loss meditation technique.
In this visualization, you are going to create a very believable mental image of a perfect you.
You’re 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.
1) Sit comfortably with good posture. Make sure your spine is in proper alignment.
2) Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Relax.
3) This is the fun bit. 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 yourself as being amazing. I want your body to be the exact body you want. Everything perfect.
4) 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.
5) 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.
6) Legs: Toned? Smooth? How do you want them? Imagine it in detail.
7) Everything else: Fill in any other details of your ideal body.
8) Imagine that this perfect you is doing something amaze-balls right now, something that you would have to get in shape to do. Perhaps you’re crossing the finish line of a marathon. Maybe you’re standing on a stage with people looking at you. Whatever it is you wish you could achieve, imagine it in detail.
9) Put everything together, so you are imagining your perfect self accomplishing something spectacular.
10) Affirmation: What would your ideal self say after performing this fantastic feat? Choose an affirmation and imagine saying it loudly in your head.
11) It’s vital to visualize your perfect self in detail. You need to truly see your ideal body and truly imagine yourself achieving that fantastic thing and truly hear that positive affirmation in your head.
7: Visualizing Food Assimilation
This is a meditation on biological assimilation.
Biological assimilation is the process through which the body breaks down nutrients and then assimilates those nutrients into the body.
Healthy food assimilation improves our overall well-being and helps us to get in shape and stay fit.
However, stress impeded 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.
8: Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is a game-changer for many people.
Jean Kristeller [professor emeritus of psychology at Indiana State University] states 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 [visit site]
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 of eating.
“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.
- For this exercise, you will need one piece of comfort food / junk food that you always eat. Your favourite one.
- Go somewhere quiet and peaceful.
- Put your junk food on the table / ground a couple of feet in front of you.
- 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 your mind on the impression of this food in your mind (don’t look at the actual food, focus on the mental impression of the food).
- As you focus your mind on the food, you will 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.
- To get rid of the 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 though. 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.
By practising the weight loss meditation technique above, you will change your thoughts about food.
You might have been surprised when I said to remove all thoughts, even good thoughts. You may have thought at one point (for instance) “Food is nutrition. I should eat healthily.” This is a good thought, isn’t it? So why get rid of it?
The reason for getting rid of all thoughts and not just the bad ones is that thoughts exist in the mind as something of a mesh. Thoughts are like a horrifically tangled piece of string. Thinking one good thought doesn’t necessarily lead to another good thought. When you think “I’m going to eat healthily,” your next thought is just as likely to be “No I probably won’t because I have a bad diet” as it is “Yes, I’ll eat healthily and exercise.” Diet meditation techniques help you to remove those thoughts.
Meditation is one of the alternative ways to lose weight that actually work.
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. I personally combined my meditations with my love of movies, and I watched tons of movies about weight loss for inspiration!
Enlightened people like you and I know that weight loss 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.
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Effectiveness of mindfulness training and dietary regime on weight loss in obese people, Journal of Medicine And Life https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319254/
Losing weight: Mindfulness may help – Harvard Health Blog https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/losing-weight-mindfulness-may-help-2018062714144