One of the major problems with weight loss is that we live in a society of abundance. If we want any type of food or drink imaginable, we can get it, no matter the time of day. No wonder that Americans are, on average, 23 pounds overweight! So, what are we to do? Are we destined to perish under a flood of burritos, burgers and doughnuts? Of course not. We need to realize that there is a single source for all our insecurities, attachments and suffering, including overeating and that is our mind, specifically the thoughts that come from our mind.
We need a method to overcome the issues created by our mind and our thoughts. We need a method to learn about our thoughts, to silently observe the effects of those thoughts and a simple, easy and effective method to let go of these thoughts so that they have no hold or control over us. There is only one method that can achieve all that and that is Meditation.
There are three types of meditation: sitting, standing and moving (i.e., Tai Chi Chuan). For our purposes here, we will only focus on sitting meditation. The advantage of sitting meditation over standing or moving meditation is that we can virtually ignore the body and put our full emphasis on observing our thoughts.
You will not burn enough calories sitting on a cushion or chair to make any difference in our weight. What we are doing is observing our mind and thoughts. There are literally billions of thoughts that race through our mind every day. We are bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages on a daily basis, most of which seems to be food related. And our mind silently processes them all and subtly influences our decisions with random thoughts that we subconsciously obey. It’s no wonder that before we know it, we are standing in line at the nearest fast-food place ordering a super-sized value meal then we blink and it’s all gone and we’ve realized, and sometimes not, that we just consumed 5,000 calories without tasting or experiencing any of it.
The role of meditation is not to change our thoughts or stop certain thoughts from occurring, but to illuminate those thoughts in our conscious mind, acknowledge them for what they are, just thoughts, and then let them go, not to be acted upon. Meditation also teaches us to be aware, or mindful, of our actions. Meditation is not a quick fix for anything. It takes time and consistent practice to be effective. Meditation also works on us subtly. It makes us aware of our body and mind and the union between the two.
Eating and drinking not only nourishes our body, but also our mind. Mindless eating is a major cause of over-eating, because we are not experiencing what we eat. It is important to be mindful of the food we are eating and the liquids we are drinking, experiencing every morsel, every drop as we consume them. Doing this allows our body and mind to experience what we eat and drink, fulfilling us, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Once we find physical and emotional fulfillment from what we consume, we often need less food to nourish us. That is the magic of meditation. If we are mindful of what we eat, we won’t eat as much and the weight will drop off.