Don’t laugh: comedian Jeff Garlin says meditation helped him lose weight.
We can do three to five minutes...
Trick, perhaps, isn’t the correct word. Meditation, as a balm to what ails us, has been around since at least 1500 BC. It’s no gimmick. But how can it really in weight loss? Perhaps the better question, notwithstanding we might not be able to understand a mumbo-jumbo response to the weight loss question - is: what have we got to lose (except fat, and perhaps stress) in trying it?
Yes stress: too much of it wrecks one’s body and blows one’s mind. Too much stress aids in weight gain, by messing up one’s metabolism. So if stress is reduced through meditation, it stands to reason that fat will be lost also. But there are other facets of meditation that play into making a more perfect-physical me and you.
For one thing, for those five minutes of sitting still, you’ll feel more serene and confident afterwards - and peace of mind and confidence help boost a healthy self-image.
And a healthy outlook is WAY better than a depressed or stressed one, with respect to curbing a binge-out-comfort-food EMOTIONAL EATING attack. The stress hormone, cortisol, triggers junk sweet and sugary-food fridge raids, while another hormone, insulin – of higher amounts – is associated with stress - and insulin contributes to the body deciding to store fat.
And fat cells get bigger. (Losing weight will cause fat cells to decrease in size, but unfortunately will not decrease them in number. Once you’ve added new ones, they’re yours for life.)
Back to meditation.
Another benefit is that it helps induce sleep and helps lower hyperarousal. And getting adequate sleep also helps the body to lose fat. It also leaves one more refreshed upon waking. And as Cruikshank has noted with her clients, meditation has reduced their self-criticism. Self loathing, as we all are sadly too familiar with, increases our stresses, thereby increasing...you get the idea.
Moreover, Cruickshank has discovered that adopting mediation as a lifestyle habit helps stymie, abate, reduce, or eradicate unhealthy habits. More wins.
Ok, who the heck is Cruickshank? Not to be a shill, but she has lots of credentials: Outside of her acupuncture and sports medicine schooling (and there could very well be other disciplines she has studied also) and yoga practices, the latter of which she has been calibrating with for 20 years, she “has been featured as an expert in numerous publications including Yoga Journal, Prevention, Self, Marie Claire, Fitness Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Fox News, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Mantra, Thrive, More Magazine, OM Yoga, YogaLife and many others.”
Surely, the BEST thing about mediation as a weapon to lose body fat is how little time it takes. Substitute meditation’s 5 minutes per day – 35 minutes weekly – for let’s say 2 workouts of an hour each – and add 30 minutes per workout for commuting – we’d save some, wait for it:
5.23 days per year.
Huh? Two workouts per week dropped equal 180 minutes (2 x 60 + 2 x 30). Take 180 less 35, you get/save 145 minutes per week. Annualize that; divide that by 60 to get your hours; then divide by 24 to get your days and voila, 5.23 days of time to do something else. (Don’t fill the time stuffing yourself, it will defeat the purpose.)
But you get the point. What a huge time saver!
But wait, there’s more! OK, that sounded shillish. One study purports that meditation has at least 76 benefits – and that study was based on hundreds of other studies to back up that claim.
Apart from the pluses listed above, mediation is said to, in this paper at least:
Increase brain gray-matter; reduce panic attacks; reduces sleep-need, which sounds somewhat contradictory to the earlier stated advantage of inducing sleep, but let’s glide past the what’s-and-wherefore’s of each and get to the next bonus...
Meditation reduces alcohol and drug abuse;
Now about that five minutes per day. Yes, we can do that, but Giovanni Dienstmann of Liveanddare.com - says it could take at least eight weeks of meditation before benefits are noticed. Two months. But 60 days at 5 minutes per day, isn’t the end of the world and the boons to this simple practice – you don’t need religion, special clothes, monkish tendencies, or a guru – sounds like the beginning of a rebirth.
Should we delight in or disdain that fact that celebrities (Hugh Jackman, Madonna, Katy Perry, even tough guy Clint Eastwood, and many others) folks we love, like, or loath...meditate? Depends on whether the celebrity is an air-head or an accomplished smart soul – but these descriptions are based on opinion.
And meditation – no matter what you may say about current adherents and past practices, seems to factually suggest that it is a good recourse to try out - for losing weight and shedding fat. For darn near whatever ails you.
Gotta go. The five minutes of meditation start now - - - with Sting, Martin Scorsese, Paul McCartney, and Eva Mendes right alongside.