Guided Meditation for Weight Loss - What Research Shows

by Guided-Imagery

Considering guided meditation for weight loss? Here's a look at the latest research findings to show just how effective this tool can be.

While there are thousands of products on the market claiming to help you lose weight, including a few prescription medications now available, the answer to weight loss doesn't need to be potentially dangerous products or fad diets. Many people are finding that guided meditation for weight loss can give them the boost they need without putting harmful chemicals in their body.

Think meditation for weight loss is just another fad that doesn't work? Here's what research shows about using meditation and how if might help you, too. By the way, think yoga is just as effective? Find out what a massive study on yoga and weight loss determined.

Image: Keith Ramsey/Flickr

Train Your Mind to Notice Habitual Patterns

A study conducted at UC San Francisco, published in the Journal of Obesity in 2011, found that meditation can help people control eating habits and help them drop extra weight. While the study is small, the findings by the researchers are consistent with other studies on meditation and mindfulness.

In the study, a group of almost 50 overweight women were divided in 2 groups: both received basic training on diet and exercise and neither group was given a diet. This was all the training the control group received while the other group received mindful eating training and meditation, which trained them to focus on the moment to moment experience of eating their food.

The purpose of this study was to using the mindful eating exercise to help the women control their cravings and prevent overeating while meditation was used for reducing stress and eliminating comfort eating.

The women in the control group actually gained weight while the experimental group lowered cortisol levels and maintained their weight. You can read the findings of this study here.

Reduce Cravings and Binge Eating with Meditation

Numerous studies have also found that meditation programs, such as guided imagery for weight loss, help you control your cravings and eat less with only seven minutes per day.

A study conducted at the Indiana State University found meditation is an effective way to treat binge eating. Individuals who meditate seem more able to moderate their intense emotional arousal when they're under stress, finds the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.

Visualization to Improve Success

Visualization is also an effective way to help you succeed while you're trying to lose weight. Visualizing yourself as thinner helps you stay motivated and ensures weight loss remains a priority. A team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University also found that visualization and imagining every single detail of food causes people to actually eat less.

Transcendental Meditation and Brain Chemistry

Transcendental meditation helps your body correct mental imbalances that are causing weight gain as the brain may send strange food cravings to your body and cause a slow metabolism. There have been quite a few independent studies showing how numerous brain imbalances may cause weight gain, such as low sertonin levels from stress or exhaustion.

One study on the effects of Transcendental meditation for weight loss looked at almost 160 African American teenagers and followed them for 4 months. The group was assigned to either Trascendental meditation or basic health education and, at the end of the study, the group receiving education saw a significant increase in their BMI while the group receiving meditation saw a slight drop in BMI.

The Bottom Line

Dr. Frederick Hecht, who studies both mindfulness and meditation, said that, "Based on our preliminary research, we do think both mindfulness and meditation may assist people in losing weight, especially in maintaining weight loss." The key to successfully using guided meditation for weight loss is to combine it with mindful eating, a healthy diet and exercise to see the greatest benefit.

Does Yoga Have the Same Benefits?

William Broad, an author and journalist for the New York Times, took a hard look at yoga and the science behind it. His book, The Science of Yoga, found many benefits to the practice and lifestyle, including boosts to your sex drive, although he found the claims that it aids in weight loss are unfounded. He finds there is no real scientific evidence showing yoga helps with weight loss and points to a study conducted by Mayasandra Chaya, who published a study in 2006 that found that yoga actually decreases metabolism by 8% in men and up to 18% in women.

You can read more about his findings in this article, "Healthwatch: Don't Count Weight Loss Among Yoga's Benefits."

Updated: 03/23/2013, Guided-Imagery
 
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Mira on 03/24/2013

Interesting points! So what exactly do people need to do to lose weight with guided meditation?

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