The obesity epidemic has taken a serious toll on humanity. Since the onset of the industrial revolution and the modernization of societies, there has been a rise in processed food items. Meanwhile, newer food chains and empires came up with ‘junk food’ which is steeped in saturated fat.
Studies have revealed that refined sugar and complex carbs, are hazardous to health if consumed in large quantities. However, such food items are also highly addictive and can result in long-term dependency, compulsive, and binge eating. While there have been movements to curb the crises, such an unhealthy lifestyle is becoming more prevalent each day.
The rise in obesity also witnessed the rise of the fitness industry. People ended up becoming dieticians, nutritionists and fitness experts. There are numerous ways and techniques to curb the extra pounds off your body and achieve your ideal body. However, for people who feel hopeless and who have not been able to achieve much success despite their best efforts, meditation seems to offer a cure.
There are numerous benefits of meditation which include a reduction in stress, depression, and anxiety and the regulation of blood pressure. On the other hand, meditation is also reported to have a significant effect on a person’s physical health as it can lead to more mindful eating and the adoption of a healthier routine.
What is Meditation and How Can We Meditate?
Meditation is a relaxation technique that has long-term physical and mental health benefits. Various kinds of meditation techniques involve practicing mindfulness and relaxation. For example, in transcendental meditation, one is required to take the following steps.
- Sit in an isolated place, you could reserve a room in your home or find a meditation retreat
- Avoid all kinds of distractions, including the presence of people and noises.
- Place your hands on your lap and ease your body’s muscles.
- Repeat a mantra silently while focusing on it intently in your head.
- The mantra can be a word that you find appealing or something an instructor provides you with.
- Spend approximately twenty minutes in this position and keep yourself focused on the mantra.
- Repeat the routine regularly for long-term results.
Apart from transcendental meditation, there are other numerous forms of techniques that are more or less easier to practice.
How Severe Stress Contributes to Binge Eating?
Stress can contribute to binge eating in several ways. When we experience stress, our bodies release the hormone cortisol, which can increase our appetite and cause us to crave high-calorie comfort foods. Additionally, when we are stressed, we may be more likely to eat in an uncontrolled manner, often consuming large amounts of food quickly, which can lead to binge eating. In some cases, binge eating serves as a coping mechanism for dealing with stress; individuals may turn to food as a source of comfort or distraction from their stressors.
Additionally, repeated and uncontrollable stress can dysregulate the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis), affecting energy homeostasis and eating behavior. This dysregulation can result in increased levels of cortisol, which may cause individuals to experience persistent food cravings and increase their likelihood of binge eating.
How Meditation Helps in Eating Mindfully?
In order to reduce the risk of binge eating, individuals may find it helpful to engage in techniques such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. Additionally, maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet and engaging in regular exercise can help promote overall health and wellbeing.
Regular practice of meditation helps in alleviating the hormone cortisol in our bodies, which results in reduced stress. Once we feel relaxed, happier and more joyful, the desire to gorge on food naturally declines.
Online Meditation Classes give us an enhanced sense of awareness and focus, leading to an enhanced interest in multiple hobbies, activities and creative pursuits. People find more joy in playing their favorite video games, gardening, or physical sports like cycling and swimming.
Once they get the hang of it, it becomes easier for them to turn these pursuits into long-term habits. As these new avenues open up, food becomes a secondary choice of comfort. With time, healthy eating strategies are incorporated that reap multiple fruits for a person’s physical health. Self-awareness also enhances our experience of enjoying food; therefore, we find it easier to eat slowly and mindfully while savoring every bite of food. As our heightened senses get accustomed to the various flavors, with time, we can condition our minds to eat healthily and to eat less.
There has been an emergency worldwide as obesity continues to rise and tips the scales on our overall health and well-being. Keeping in view the chronic effects of high-calorie food items on our cholesterol levels, heart, gastrointestinal parts and bones, it is a need of the hour to change our unhealthy lifestyle and engage in regular meditative practices. With a stress-free mind, we can overcome our desire to turn to food for pleasure, comfort, or relaxation. In the long run, regular practice can aid us in forming healthier coping mechanisms and habits.