You know to eat, what you're supposed to eat to achieve your weight loss and wellness goals, but something trips you up. A voice, a thought, a fear that you'll be judged for not going along with the group order, for not taking a cookie in the break room at work, for asking for what you want.
Maybe you're an emotional eater, reaching for food when emails pile up, when your boss doesn't appreciate you, when you feel empty in (or not in) a relationship. Whatever the cause may be, it's your mind that's ultimately tripping you up. It's your mind that reacts on instinct to your emotions and surroundings. It's your mind that can sometimes be your worst enemy on your path to a healthy way of eating.
But what if you could tune down your reactive, instinctual mind so that your response is calm, centered and poised?
You can. And meditation is the key.
This doesn't mean you start meditating when a pizza shows up on the dinner table.
Being centered is the outcome of consistent meditation, in much the same way that sculpted muscles are the outcome of consistent weight training.
Meditation trains the brain to move from an active learning state to an intuitive, listening state. It takes the frequency of the brain from 100 hertz to 4 hertz and primes the brain for an unruffled response. Consistent practice enables you to quickly switch to these lower, calmer frequencies when life feels chaotic and frantic.
The result? Less unplanned and emotionally charged eating, which translates into sustainable weight loss because you've changed how you view and use food.
Even science confirms mediation's affect on weight loss. In 2014, researchers identified that when participants meditated, their binge eating and emotional eating decreased. In another study, individuals who meditated were less reactive and lost more weight than those who didn't. And in a 20-week, mind-body intervention study, individuals that meditated lost more weight than those who didn't, their hunger decreased and their body confidence increased. What's more, their weight loss was sustained six months after the study.
These results are impressive. And for anyone who's lost weight only to regain it, this research should act as strong catalyst for adding meditation to your weight loss toolbox.
Meditation was one of the tools I used to break my own nighttime sugar eating habit and it's absolutely something you can — and should — use as well.
But what if you don't know how to meditate? What if you're fearful that you won't — or can't — do it right? Luckily for us, meditation is like breathing. We innately know how to do. If you want a little guidance to fine tune your practice, check out meditation master Charlie Knoles.
Meditation is equally important as the food you put into your mouth. If you're truly looking for a body that you love and cherish, meditation is one of your greatest allies.
Dana James is a Columbia University–educated nutritional therapist and founder of Food Coach NYC. She holds her master's in clinical nutrition and is trained in nutrition biochemistry, functional medicine, and cognitive behavioral therapy. She believes that food should be viewed as nourishing, joyful, and fundamental to self-care. Her goal is to help women break their antagonist (and often obsessive) relationship with food and their bodies. She believes that true beauty stems from grace, dignity, and embracing our idiosyncrasies that make us unique and imperfect.
James created the "How to Ditch Sugar" video series for mindbodygreen. Check out the program here: How to Ditch Sugar.
James coaches one on one, runs workshops in NYC and LA, and holds tele-seminars on various topics that help women lead a more beautiful and balanced life. To connect more with James, check out her Instagram account and sign up for her biweekly Sunday-evening emails.