In recent years, many studies and health organisations have raised the alarm on the issue of obesity. Yet, even with many popular health and wellness campaigns, tons of dangerously overweight cases still persist. Beyond exercise, diet, prescriptions, and surgical procedures, what other options are there left for weight loss? The answer? Meditation and mindful eating.
Mindless and Emotional Eating
Emotional, social, and situational triggers cause emotional and mindless eating that form harmful eating habits. Eating gives people feelings of pleasure, satisfaction and fulfilment. So much comfort is derived from food that people tend to combat stress and negative emotions with it. They binge eat, especially when they are sad, lonely, angry, tired, anxious or depressed. They also eat mindlessly when bored, even when they are not hungry while watching TV, movies, or surfing the net. It is also easy for them to keep eating when in company of family or friends who love food. Unfortunately, these “happiness-seeking” food moments all lead to overeating and unnecessary weight gain.
Meditation and Mindful Eating
Meditation is seen by many as an effective and better way to stop this possible one-way road trip to obesity. Because a pattern is set and excess pounds have been gained, mindfulness meditation can help control these detrimental food cravings. With training, it can make people be more aware of their emotions and make them less likely to binge eat. They can determine between stress-eating and real hunger and they can decide how to view food and their relationship with it. Eating less is doable when mindful eating is practiced. Meditation for mindful eating develops discipline when it comes to one’s eating experience. It gets you to relax, slow down, and contemplate. Handling your food and savouring it while eating your meal not only slows you down and lessens your food intake but also greatly intensifies your pleasure in dining.
According to research studies, meditation and weight control are linked, though indirectly. Different experimental groups have been taught mindfulness meditation and training exercises for mindful eating, as well as health education. After months of study, results consistently show that meditation effectively helps people control their eating habits, decreasing emotional and binge eating behaviour. Participants who meditated were able to maintain their weight and lower their cortisol (or stress hormone) levels.
Although further studies are recommended (evidence on weight loss directly by meditation is mixed), the value of mindfulness meditation in relation to losing fat and weight loss lies in its effectiveness in controlling and modifying stress-related eating habits.