Meditation and Healthy Weight
As summer approaches most people want to improve themselves, starting with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. In my ‘Weight Loss Journey’ workshop, the two ‘A’s that form the foundation of the program are: awareness and accountability.
Let’s begin with awareness and the practice that is specifically designed to produce it. Meditation is the key that brings you into a “here-and-now” state of awareness, expressed in terms such as “mindfulness,” “being in the moment,” “in the flow” or “in the zone,” and so on. If you engage in this practice, producing a state of meditative awareness, you are ready to achieve your healthy weight and maintain it in a new way.
To bring your “here and now” awareness out of your meditative practice and into your daily routine, start with your food intake. Begin by staying aware of your intake for one day. Use an index card, sheet of paper, tablet, journal, or a section of your planner or calendar to record everything you eat. Notice that I did not say to restrict yourself or deny yourself anything that you would normally eat. You can eat anything you want, as long as you write it down. The skill you are developing here is the accurate recording of your food intake.
The second ‘A’ is accountability, and refers to counting calories. When people tell me they have a hard time losing weight, but don’t want to count calories, it’s understandable. But, the fact is, that whether or not you are counting, that number of calories translates to fat and weight gain, maintenance or loss. The ultimate goal here is to determine the number of calorie intake that is ideal for your age, weight and activity level, then go through an entire day without surpassing that number.
After your “Day One,” research an online calorie tracker or by the nutrition label what you have consumed. Then total the calories for your one-day count. That’s it. You’re on your way! Now do it again the next day, and the next. After seven days, you’ll have a sense of the kinds of food you usually eat, and the amount and most importantly, the calories that come with each food choice. With your knowledge of your own personal eating patterns and which foods are the better choices, you will start making choices with fewer calories, yet are still satisfying. The more items you record, the easier the process becomes. This is the most effective method, since it works from your own personal food preferences.
Not every day will feel like a success. If you do succumb to an impulse, consider why. It might be a way to escape your present moment or to escape how you feel in the moment. Realize that this is the power that the item has over you. Think of an alternative to the food/drink that you consume. Your goal is to feel satisfied, to feel good, to feel safe or secure, to feel engaged, without that particular item. Have your alternatives ready. For example, sometimes your stomach simply wants that full feeling, and you can drink a glass of cold water with a lemon wedge to fulfill that craving, rather than eating that sandwich at night. Or you can choose a filling low-calorie snack instead of one that you now know is high-calorie. Choose whatever alternatives work for you. Test your ability to stay aware (in the moment, etc.) when the urges occur, and your power to choose your alternative items will increase. When you succeed and an impulse finally passes, you will feel that you have developed a new kind of power in your life. And if you do succumb to a certain food, admit the power that the item had over you. Acknowledge how great the challenge actually is; and start again!
— Text: Anthony Rubbo