Weight Watchers or Mind Watchers?

One of the main resolutions to be set at 12.01am on the 1st January is to “Lose Weight”.

Some people manage, it some don’t.

2012 will be the year when many accomplish their optimum weight, for others it will be the one when they become obese.

Obesity is a big, fat issue in the Modern World.

Even back in 1829 Sylvester Graham introduced a diet which included mainly vegetables and his own branded biscuits – the Graham cracker!

The world of excess and the mind that fuels it have many consequences on our body and mind.

The Weight Loss industry is a multi billion pound one.

Think of the time, energy & worry that is put into thinking about weight.

When I ran my first series of meditation classes in the mid 1990’s next to the session was a weight loss group. I was always taken aback by the numbers. In the meditation class there were around 10-15 people. The weight watchers pulled in 80-100!

It was during some of these classes that it first came to me that we can go on diets and engage in healthy eating programs but is this really addressing obesity at its root. Surely if we have a problem we need to address it at its root?

It appeared to my mind that the root cause of obesity is in the mind. In particular the mind of desire and impatience.

Desire tells us to eat quickly and more than we need, impatience wants to eat food immediately and sacrifices whole food for convenience.

These two minds are the main reasons for weight gain.

Often when people change diets they approach their new diet with the same mind they put on their weight with – the diet becomes an obsession, an attachment, just as previously the food was.

Dieting doesn’t bring space and peace into the mind. Often a person can be on a permanent diet, so still the main object in their mind is food!

A more constructive approach is to see food for what it is – its fuel to sustain the body, it sometimes tastes good, sometimes doesn’t – eat what you need, pause when your eating, finish your meal and then stop thinking about it!

The multi billion pound weight loss industry would be threatened by these words if they were broadcasted from the main TV networks – the snack oils, tablets and potions which are available are sold and make so much money as a result of information not being made available to them that the main cause for obesity and weight gain is in the mind.

At the UC of San Francisco they have recently engaged in studies that reveal how meditation can help to reduce weight.

They had a group of two overweight women and split them into two.
One group had access to mindful eating techniques and practiced meditation for 30 minutes a day
. The meditation was a method to prevent the group from ‘comfort eating’.
The preliminary results are showing that the women who were not in this group increased their weight and the women who practiced mindful techniques managed to maintain their weight and their was a significant drop in their cortisol levels ( increased cortisol levels are one of the effects of stress).
The survey is revealing that mindfulness helps to sway an individual’s mind away from the junk and onto more constructive activities.
The Scientific Research that is being revealed to the world by top Universities is helpful for people who need to see the evidence of the power of meditation.

It’s not enough though – the best way to see the effects is to engage in the practices yourself.

Mindfulness and Breathing Meditation can help a person on the path to a healthier life – if we can train the mind to reduce the power of unnecessary desire and impatience (which are the effects of mindfulness meditation) then we have found a very powerful remedy to a healthy, balanced life.

What do you think Weight Watchers or Mind Watchers?

Written by Adam Dacey
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