I’m high strung. My brain moves at a 100 mph, I’m constantly thinking ahead, I’m a planner, I’m a worrier and I need to have everything organized just so. One day when I was complaining to an incredibly zen friend of mine that I’m just not able to convince myself that I need to diet and commit to the gym, he said to me “do you meditate?”. I was like… “ummm…. nooooo… my issue isn’t trying to be calm, my issue is I can’t stop eating my emotions and get my myself moving”. He politely didn’t acknowledge the fact that absolutely, one of my issues is a need for calm lol but he then said to me “you know sometimes when I’m trying to find my focus or my center, I meditate. It returns me to a balanced state. You should try it, start out with guided meditation and move up to doing it on your own. Once you learn to have total control over your mind, you will have a better hold on ways to direct your focus”.
At first I was skeptical. I couldn’t really make the connection between closing your eyes and thinking about nothing and finding the motivation to get started on a serious exercise and diet program. Like he suggested, I started with guided meditation. Here are my recommended steps to starting with meditation for beginners:
1. Find a quiet and dark room where you will not be disturbed.
2. You can perform your meditation sessions either sitting up or lying down. I prefer lying down for total relaxation.
3. I recommend a good pair of headphones for listening to your guided sessions.
4. Choose a good guided meditation session that focuses on weight loss or whatever other issue you’re struggling with. Here are some of my favorite guided sessions. Sessions can range from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. Choose a session that fits your schedule. I don’t watch the videos but only listen to the audio:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Dqi-eigp7M (19 min, 5 sec)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMPOeVtSj98&list=WL&index=2 (16 min, 5 sec)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDgFIFpAswQ (7 min, 25 sec)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2jp9HvjQHw (14 min, 50 sec)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z_RvlwrtDE (5 min, 50 sec)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfIZl9RsWK0 (4 min, 34 seconds)
So how does guided meditation help with weight loss? The theory is that if you can train your mind to deal with stress better, then you won’t reach for your easy fix – which for many of us, is food. We eat when we’re stressed, when we’re sad, when we’re mad, etc. If you’re able to diffuse those feelings during daily thoughtful sessions, you’re better primed to handle feelings that may come your way. Dieting and losing weight takes a lot of self discipline and if you’re able to convince yourself that you don’t need excess food or the wrong foods to make you feel better, then that’s half the battle. Tapping into your self conscious, to gain understanding that you do not need food to make you feel better, is the foundation of how weight loss meditation works. Many of us feel a sense of relief and comfort when indulging in foods that are not good choices. What if you never felt the need to satisfy yourself with food? What if your mental needs were met? What would you think about then?
Initially when I started my sessions, I tried to do one every night. This was for about a week straight. Now, when I feel myself “falling off the wagon”, I re-engage into these sessions to help me get back on track. After the initial stage, ideally you’ll want to do at least one session per week to keep you balanced and pointing in the right direction. If you mess up and get into the “might as well” frame of mind, you’ll be in a continual vortex. I remember reading a Jillian Michaels quote that spoke to me, she said “If you get a flat tire, you don’t get out of the car and slash all three other tires”. Try not to get discouraged when things don’t go according to plan. Acknowledge the slip up and move on.
I learned a lot from performing guided meditation. Firstly, I learned to slow down my mind, listen to my body breathing and leave myself open to focus on the task at hand – my wants and desires with regards to my body and health. Many guided meditation sessions for weight loss use the tool of visualization. Essentially this tactic employs visualizing what you want. If that means a toned and fit body, then it will ask you to visualize yourself with that body. It also uses words of encouragement and motivation. You need to believe you can do something, in order to help get you there. One of the great side effects of meditation is also the calm it brings over you. When you’re centered you’re able to handle stress better, you’re a more effecient problem solver, your concentration is improved and you become a motivated positive thinker.
This same friend said to me “think of yourself as a circuit of live wires…. your meditation session is like the reset button”. I’ve found out that during these sessions, I’m able to process and sort my emotions and thoughts. They gain order and organization. My mind becomes more calm and focused, ready to conquer the challenges that I set forth. My subconscious is also influenced with mental images of my goal (to be fit and strong!) and my mind believes that eating well and exercising is a need that I must fulfill.
Once you have mastered the guided meditation sessions and feel more comfortable, you can then move on to meditate completely on your own. You can also employ some of the meditation techniques learned in your every day life events. I’ve used it in the past to get over cravings (deep breathing and calming thoughts), emotionally stressful situations, painful situations (laser hair sessions or tattoos!), angering situations (traffic!), etc. Meditation taught me how to process my emotions instead of eat them.
Meditation in conjunction with yoga is also a great way to bridge the mind and body, to open yourself up to the possibilities of being in a calm and controlled state. I’m not promising you that you will magically turn into a Shaman or Buddhist Monk but if it provides you with the mental strength to tackle your cravings and gives you courage to stick to your promises to yourself, then the few minutes you’ve spent each day is well worth it. Let’s not forget it should also provide you with some calm and patience – you may feel less likely to want to choke someone during your next angering situation. 🙂