Can meditation help you lose weight?
How? In an interview with People, Chopra says it cuts stress, which drives people to eat:
“Meditation decreases stress which is associated with high level hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones alter metabolism. Cortisol adds belly fat, which in turn messes up the metabolism even more, starting a vicious cycle. At the same time, adrenaline overdrive causes inflammation in the body which interferes in the metabolic processes.”
Through relaxation and meditation, the body’s circuitry rewires itself, which works hand-in-hand to help develop healthier eating habits and behaviours. It also makes you more aware of your thoughts and actions, preventing binge eating and emotional eating that can often become a habit.
Think about food differently
In his book, ‘What Are You Hungry For?’, Chopra also highlights the benefits of mindfulness meditation when eating. “Energy is about more than fueling your body - a higher kind of energy comes from the joy of eating,” he writes.
He recommends checking-in on yourself before you sit down for a meal and asking yourself questions such as ‘Am I in a good mood?’ and ‘Is this meal going to be a positive experience?’. Answering yes means you will receive the best energy and fulfillment from this food. If the answer is no then he advises eating to be postponed - the reason for eating is most likely because you’re in a low mood; comfort eating.
It’s also good to check-in with yourself to see how hungry you are. Judge it on a scale of one to 10 - 1 is starving and 10 is how you feel after a Christmas dinner. Chopra says that it’s always best waiting until you’re close to 1 due to the fact that food tastes better when you’re hungry. Stop eating when you’re at about a level five on the scale for optimal digestion.
Eating more mindfully
The best thing about mindfulness meditation is that you can do it anywhere you are - it’s all about paying attention to your body, your senses, and your surroundings. One way to do that is by not multitasking. If you’re used to watching TV, reading, or talking during a meal, try turning this attention to your body - closely watching how much you’re eating, why you’re eating, and when you feel full.
Put simply, meditation isn’t a substitute for working out or a healthy diet - what it can do is support those positive changes, making you more patient, determined, and better informed to make the right decisions. By tuning into your body, you’ll know what to eat and what to avoid to create a healthier lifestyle and cut out the stress hormone that shifts your metabolism and makes you put on weight.