In addition, this activity will help you live longer, above and beyond the longevity benefits of weight loss.
What is this amazing solution? Meditation, specifically mindfulness meditation, which has its roots in eastern spiritualism (such as Buddhism). Both mindfulness and meditation have increased in popularity in modern society, and combining both can be powerful.
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
In this type of meditation, the focus is on paying attention to this moment, not something you failed to do earlier, nor something you need to worry about later. Instead, the practice draws your attention back to your current circumstances and the input from your senses in real time.
In a published study in 2011 in the Journal of Obesity, a small group of 47 overweight or obese women was divided into two groups. One of the groups was given a series of classes on mindfulness meditation techniques over a four-month period. Participants in the study were not dieting.
How the Meditation and Belly Fat Study Worked
Participants were coached on paying attention to sensations of hunger, food cravings, and noticing emotional eating triggers. They were also counseled on self acceptance and forgiveness of others. They practiced guided meditations, as well as mindful eating skills like paying closer attention to the taste and texture of foods. They deliberately ate much more slowly than usual.
The study group participated in nine 2 ½ hour classes as well as a silent retreat day. During their classes they practiced their new mindfulness meditations as well as mindful eating skills. They also use these skills at home in assignments of up to 30 minutes a day six days a week. They performed mindfulness activities before and during meals, and logged their mindfulness activity.
Both the study and control groups were given a two-hour nutrition and exercise information session as well.
Try a Short Mini Mindfulness Meditation
Just click the link to listen now, or you can right-click and download the .MP3 file to play later on your favorite music player.
Promising Study Results
At the end of the study, all participants were measured for abdominal fat distribution and blood cortisol levels (high levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol impact insulin resistance, fat storage, the GI tract and hunger). Two main outcomes were identified:
1.) The mindful eating and stress reduction program reduced emotional eating. Participants reported less anxiety, and less eating in response to emotions and external food cues. They experienced a greater awareness of bodily sensations.
2.) The study group had the largest reductions in abdominal fat, even in participants who did not otherwise lose weight. Participants in the study group maintained their current weight or lost weight, and lost belly fat. Participants in the control group gained weight on average during the study.
The study group also experienced slightly lower blood levels of cortisol when compared with the control group. Only the obese subjects had significantly lower measures of cortisol.
Although this is only one small published study, it does indicate that mindfulness meditation practices to reduce stress and support mindful eating also lead to a reduction in belly fat, even in participants who were not dieting. This suggests that be on the other benefits of meditation, it can lead to a healthier distribution of body fat and help you maintain weight loss you may have achieved through our dietMD Hawaii program.
Reducing Belly Fat is a Significant Benefit
Many people want to lose belly fat to look their best, but there’s much more to losing belly fat than that. The accumulation of fatty tissue around the organs in the abdominal cavity has been proven to promote insulin resistance and contribute to metabolic syndrome (which is linked to a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death). A lifestyle change such as mindfulness meditation can help you reduce stress, live longer, and keep off belly fat.