How to Use Meditation for Weight Loss

Older Hispanic woman meditating in living room
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Most dieters are willing to try just about anything to make the weight loss process easier. Most of us would also like to lose weight faster and more cheaply, as well. That's why meditation for weight loss is such a great idea. If you haven't considered it, maybe you should. Meditation for weight loss can be a healthy and effective way to eat better and lose weight.

What Is Meditation?

First, let's be clear about what meditation is. If you don't currently practice meditation, you might imagine that the process involves sitting in an uncomfortable position for extended periods of time, breathing deeply and thinking about nothing. That's not really what meditation is all about.

Meditation is simply the act of focusing your attention in order to become more mindful. The American Meditation Society explains that "during meditation, the attention flows inward instead of engaging in the outside world of activity." According to the organization, a meditation practice can awaken positive qualities in you.

Meditation for Weight Loss

Scientists have studied the effects of meditation on our bodies and have found that the practice can help us to relax, sleep better and improve our health. But they are also beginning to explore the ways in which meditation can help us lose weight. 

In one recent research review, scientists evaluated the role of the way in which meditation can affect weight loss and certain behaviors that are often linked to poor eating. They found that mindful meditation can help to decrease the frequency of emotional eating and binge eating.  Other studies have also found that using stress reduction techniques, like meditation, can have a positive impact on results during a weight loss program.

Of course, researchers can't say that meditation alone will make you lose weight. But since the practice of meditation is free, carries no side effects and provides other health benefits, why not use it to help you curb emotional eating and create more mindful food habits?

How Should I Meditate to Lose Weight?

If you'd like to give meditation a try, the first step is to choose a practice. There are several meditation styles but they all follow the same basic technique of quieting the mind and taking time to breathe and become more aware of your body in the present moment. You can try different methods to see which one works best for you. 

You can also invest in a tech tool to help you meditate. There are devices like the WellBe bracelet that monitor your stress level throughout the day and can even track the locations where you are most likely to feel anxiety. Smartphone apps and fitness trackers can track your daily stress levels. There are also apps and gadgets (like Calm, Headspace, or Inscape) that use can use for guided meditation.

There are also books to help you learn how to meditate. Newbies to meditation might enjoy Bliss More, How to Succeed in Meditation Without Really Trying by Light Watkins. The book takes a simple, no-nonsense approach to building a practice that is perfect for beginners.

If you'd like to try meditation in a guided group setting, consider visiting a local meditation center. Most urban areas have schools or facilities where meditators of all levels join together to practice. In New York City, Inscape provides unique spaces to relax, destress, and center yourself. If you don't live in the big apple, download the Inscape app to enjoy their services.

Lastly, you'll find plenty of online resources. To refine your practice check out the Free Guided Meditations from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. Or if you prefer a personal approach, you can find a teacher in your area through the American Meditation Society. 

A Word From Verywell

Remember that no weight loss meditation practice can help you lose weight without changes to your diet and activity plan. The bottom line when you're trying to lose weight is creating a calorie deficit. But a program of mindful awareness is likely to make the process easier and may help you to keep the weight off for good.

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  1. Katterman SN, Kleinman BM, Hood MM, Nackers LM, Corsica JA. Mindfulness meditation as an intervention for binge eating, emotional eating, and weight loss: a systematic review. Eat Behav. 2014;15(2):197-204. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2014.01.005

  2. Xenaki N, Bacopoulou F, Kokkinos A, Nicolaides NC, Chrousos GP, Darviri C. Impact of a stress management program on weight loss, mental health and lifestyle in adults with obesity: a randomized controlled trialJ Mol Biochem. 2018;7(2):78–84.