For decades, books have discussed not only the merits of losing weight but have offered a plethora of tools from boosting your metabolism through exercise to radical diets and more. But very few have addressed the actual self-talk going on in our heads and whether this chatter is actually to blame for our extra weight.
Enter Tiffany Cruikshank’s new book, Meditate Your Weight (Harmony Books, April 5, 2016), which offers no exercise regime – although she’d be qualified to do so as one of the leading yoga instructors in the world – nor eating plan.
Instead she has you turn inward to acknowledge how your thoughts are affecting your body and your overall happiness. We all know that stress has negative effects on our body, but we often forget to take this one step further—if stress causes inflammation, depression, anxiety, and overeating, it also negatively affects our blood sugar levels, our dopamine levels and our overall chemical make-up.
In a study researchers in fact found that when stressed-out overweight women meditated, they had a greater decrease in anxiety as well as belly fat without making any changes in their diet.
But the best part of her book is how she makes the concept of meditation easy and less intimidating. She addresses everything from how to sit to how to meditate when you have small children, and more, and gives you a 21-day plan to accomplish your goal – making meditation a key component of your overall wellness.
You might just do three minutes a day; you might work up to twenty. You might fall in love with it and decide to dig deep and do a retreat. But at an elemental level, no matter where you find yourself currently, you are a medita- tor. From the very first moment you sit, take a breath, and notice that your mind is wandering, you’re al- ready doing it—you’re meditating.
All of these might be helpful suggestions to you—or not. To use meditation to reach your health goals, there are truly no absolutes of this kind. What works for you is what works for you. It doesn’t matter if you do a visualization, or count your breaths, or simply take a moment to close your eyes and be still while riding on the bus—all of these are just tools, and all of them are forms of meditation. Anytime you take a moment to just sit there—voilà, you’re meditating.
And that’s the ultimate goal of meditation: that, with practice, you will get to a level of comfort in which you can just tip back into that same relaxed, focused mental space on the drop of a dime, anytime you notice that you’re getting stressed. By developing your meditation skills, you become able to step out of the stress loop and remain cool, calm, and collected as often as you’d like.