I know it sounds a bit crazy right?
You may be thinking “So after all the gurgling workouts and some serious dieting, all I needed to do is mediate to lose weight? Come, on Hamish!”
Well your right.
I’m not here to offer you some magical meditation technique which will instantly melt away all the unwanted fat you have. Nor am I here to promote some quick fix strategy to losing weight.
Sorry to disappoint.
But I do want to introduce you to the idea of meditation and how this amazing practice can substantially help your health and fitness results, be that losing weight, getting stronger, more energy or just all over well-being.
I spent over a year working with a meditation teacher to understand and practice this ancient tradition. One that changed my life, my mind (and body) so much I knew I had to share this with all of our clients and anyone who would listen. I turned to meditation partly through curiosity and a need to reduce stress in my own life. The year that unfolded was an eye-opener because what I had thought was meditation was just a surface level beginning compared to what I now know and experience as my daily practice.
Working with a meditation teacher showed me that meditation was practiced focused attention.
Sounds complicated right but its actually quite simple. Its the act of being still and focusing your mind on something i.e the breath, a fan, a mantra, etc; for a period of time.
Easy enough? Ummm No, not really!
Even as I write this, practiced attention is a work in progress. I have great days where I am in the zone and I other days where I just can’t keep still. Either way, I have learned not to judge the quality of my practice but instead just commit to a daily practice. Meditation is very much like a workout, in the sense that it’s not necessarily how hard you work, but instead how consistent you are.
So how does meditation help with weight loss? (I can hear you asking)
Here it is! I read an article not too long about by Joel Jamieson titled All Pain, No Gain: Why the High-Intensity Training Obsession Has Failed Us All, who spoke about new research which showed that the body functioned differently to what is currently believed. It has been generally understood that the more we move, the more energy we burn. However the “Constrained Total Energy Expenditure and Metabolic Adaptation to Physical Activity in Adult Humans paper basically found that if we walked 20,000 steps in a day, we would have burned no more total calories than if we walked 10,000 steps. It suggested that the body had a set amount of calories that it was able to burn and once that was exceed it would gather energy from other biological process to make up the difference.
So what does this mean when we talk weight loss?
There are 3 key areas the body priorities energy for:
- Vital biological functions
- Physical activity & stress and
- Tissue repair and adaptation.
Vital biological functions are the most important and included all the important systems such as the heart, lungs, brain functions, etc.
Next, energy is prioritised to all your daily activity. This includes your workout but also non exercise activity task like walking, climbing stairs, carry kids around, etc. It also includes stresses of life like children, financial worries, work commitments, etc.
Finally the remaining energy is used by the body for repair and adaptation. The purpose of our workouts is to tear and repair our muscles so that we can become faster, stronger and more efficient. The magic happens when we are recovering which is mainly while we are asleep.
Most people are unaware of the impact stress has on our body and thus energy expenditure. We live in a world where are under constant degree of stress. Our minds are constantly working and trying to figure out how to best protect ourselves in this crazy world. If the body has to prioritize its energy to get through the physical and mental workouts of the day, it does not leave much for the repair and adaptation phase. This creates an energy deficit and leaves the body tired and exhausted.
Reducing the amount of mental stress we have in our day is where meditation comes in.
By reducing this mental stress we leave more energy for recovery and repair. This leads to better workouts, better performance and better adherence to a fit lifestyle.
Meditation helps lower the amount of constant cortisol found in our blood stream.
Problems with high cortisol levels in the body include lower immunity, insulin resistance, carbohydrate cravings, low libido and yes, fat deposits around the body especially the tummy area (and are usually hard to get rid of with standard abdominal exercises).
Plus meditation has been found to elevate feelings of happiness, gratitude and well being from those that meditate regularly.
And yes, you should see not only a spike in your energy but also a fitter, happier you on your way to your ideal weight and body.
Now I am positive you have more than enough reasons to include this practice as part of your workout routine. Give meditation a try and see helps you with your weight lose goals.
Here’s to your meditation practice.
Are you interested in learning more about meditation and weight loss? Join us for our Meditate to Lose Weight workshop. Details via the link below.