Meditation is the centuries-old practice of stilling the mind to develop a higher level of consciousness called mindfulness. It is a way to view the present without judgment and to calm the seemingly tumultuous waters of existence. Though medical professionals generally recognize diet and exercise as the path to realizing a lasting loss of pounds, meditation for weight loss can help develop the patterns of mind needed to follow a new path. Using meditation for weight loss involves choosing the right form of meditation for you, considering how much and why you're eating, and being aware of the food itself.
Therapy and medication are most commonly employed to soften the impact of injuries, depression, anxiety, insomnia and poor self-esteem. About 10 percent of the American population also uses meditation to lessen the effect of these maladies. Since overeating is often tied to some of these issues — consuming to fill a perceived void — a regular regimen of meditation can help the dieter carefully consider the things he eats and how much he is eating.
Using meditation for weight loss isn't difficult, aside from allotting 15 to 30 minutes to sit and do "nothing." The overall process of meditation should be learned first. Sit with a straight back and breathe comfortably, with your eyes closed. Practitioners use different methods to achieve a state of mindfulness. Many Hindu followers chant an easy-to-remember mantra, which is the cornerstone of transcendental meditation. A Buddhist method is called vipassanna, which begins by concentrating on breathing, then shifts to a nonjudgmental consideration of whatever thoughts may come.
Others types of meditation for weight loss involve subtle movements. Walking meditation is focusing on the walking itself — the precise movements of the body and the surrounding elements — to the exclusion of distracting or self-defeatist thoughts. The Chinese practice of Qi Gong involves subtle movements of the arms and legs to bring the mind more in concert with bodily needs.
Once the basics are mastered and a preferred method is chosen, focusing a routine of meditation for weight loss can occur. When it's time to devote the mind to a single object, an image of your perfect body will suffice or the look of a healthy meal. If a meal is about to be consumed, meditate on the way the food looks and will feel being eaten. This will help to develop a natural appreciation of the type of diet needed to lose weight. Let this mindfulness extend into the eating of each meal. Eat slowly and deliberately, which will help the body more quickly inform the mind when it is full.
Chant a mantra geared specifically to weight loss. One example: "Om ... and I will resolve to eat only when hungry and only for the benefit of my body, mind and soul." Write out a short, personal affirmation, memorize it and quietly repeat it during meditation to drill a healthy, life-giving message into the brain.