There are hundreds of studies documenting the benefits of meditation. Scientists have shown again and again that people who have a meditation practice are calmer and happier. Their blood pressure goes down. They sleep better. Their immune systems function better. But here’s the rub: meditation is little bit hard, especially those of us who live in a constant motion, constant entertainment society.
So what does being calmer and happier have to do with weight loss? How will it boost your metabolism and make the pounds “melt away”? Short answer: It won’t. Meditation probably will not directly do anything for the extra pounds sitting on your hips right now. What it will do is make you much less likely to keep packing on the pounds, so you will stop adding to your weight problem. It will also make you more likely to take the actions that will help take the pounds off, like getting out for a walk, or simply helping you relax enough so your body does not hold on to its fat stores so tightly.
Meditation is a technique used by people who are not looking for a short cut, like dropping 10 pounds in 10 days. There are ways to do quick weight loss, and I talk about them elsewhere on this site, but that’s not the kind of weight loss we’re talking about here. I’m talking about the kind of weight loss that sticks. The kind of weight loss where you actually change how you eat, and how you live in a permanent way. If you want to do that kind of weight loss, then you should know about meditation. You should also know that while meditation is in some ways uncomfortable at first, with just a little practice it can become one of the stabilizing techniques of your life.
So let’s talk meditation. When they hear the word “meditation”, most Americans will think of someone in full lotus position, saying “ooooooom”. That’s one kind of meditation. But its just one of many, many, many kinds of meditation. Don’t get tense worrying that doing meditation is going to make you practice some “weird” religion, or that you have to be in a certain position while you meditate, or that you have to try to stop thinking while you meditate. Meditation can be oriented toward different reigions (Buddhism is its major advocate), but there are excellent meditation techniques that are centered around other religions, too. There is the Christian meditation practice of centering prayer, to name just one. There are centuries worth of experience in Jewish meditation practice.
Actually, once you start to look, you can find meditation and meditative practices in any religion. But you can also do meditation without giving God a second thought. You can have a full and effective meditation practice and be a 110% atheist. It works either way.
The best part of meditation, and your meditation in particular, is that you do what works for you. Just do it. Thinking about meditation, talking about meditation, learning about meditation — its all good, but its not actually meditating. It is better to do some form of simple meditation once a day than to do a more difficult, intense form of meditation once a week. So many of us get caught in this with our meditation practices, but it is OK. Treat it just like you would with a thought that comes up in your meditation: acknowledge it, welcome it, and let it go. And go back to the simplest thing… which in this case is whatever form of meditation works best for you.
Got it? Sorry to be long-winded, but I really want to impress upon you to keep this simple.