A theme of my blog has been that real, long-term weight loss can’t be achieved through simple tactics. There is no quick fix and anybody who wants to sell a simple solution to a complex and individual problem like obesity has only one true goal: profiting at your expense. Success in this area of your life (and honestly any area that’s actually worthy of success) requires deep mental and emotional work. You can approach this work in a number of ways: therapy, coaching, prayer, etc. Personally, I’ve found that the ultimate tool in this work is mindfulness.
You may have heard the term mindfulness many times. Usually its associated with meditation, especially Buddhist meditation. You may believe that the purpose of mindfulness is relaxation and stress relief. You may even resist this idea, conjuring images in your mind of zoned-out, chanting hippie, sitting in lotus position and escaping reality. And many people do use meditation for precisely this goal. However, true practice of mindfulness is about facing the TRUTH of reality in its most basic form, and is one of the most profound and transformative practices you can engage it. This has tremendous implications for many aspects of your life, including weight loss.
If you’re not meditating now, I urge you to start! Just 10 minutes a day can have a huge transformative effect, if you are willing to stick with it. At first it will be hard, it will be boring, it will seem annoying. You may find yourself getting more stressed out while meditating because you can’t seem to do it right. If you keep practicing with patience, gentleness, and compassion, you will find your mental state starting to change. Mindfulness meditation trains your mind to focus, to let go of distractions, to compassionately accept yourself as you are in the moment. This kind of training lies at the root of habit formation. You’ll think more clearly, you’ll let go of annoyances more easily, you won’t get distracted as quickly by momentary desires and emotions. When you fall off the wagon, you’ll be quicker to forgive yourself and also quicker to get back on! You’ll also develop greater awareness of your hidden motivations behind eating and exercise behaviors and discover greater control. I’ll blog more about this topic soon!
Be careful about choosing an appropriate instructional resource. Don’t just do a Google search for meditation and follow the first set of instructions you read. Many of the so-called experts on the web offer advice that is counter-productive. Seek out a true expert. I highly recommend Pema Chodron’s course “How to Meditate” Her approach to meditation is simple, easy to follow, and very effective.