Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Mindfulness meditation, the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment, has been brought into mainstream medical practices to help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduce blood pressure and improve sleep quality. After reviewing study findings from the past decade, researchers from Canada, the US and The Netherlands found that the concept of mindfulness may also lend a helping hand to those who want to lose unwanted pounds. Whether study subjects participated in a formal meditation practice or a more casual mindfulness-training exercise targeting dietary habits, or a combination of the two, researchers found that all of the approaches were effective for weight loss and improving behaviors such as emotional eating. What’s more, participants who continued their mindfulness practices after the study period kept losing weight while those who only dieted and exercised regained a few pounds.
If your current weight-loss strategy isn’t measuring up, give mindfulness training a try. You can start by noticing the colors, smells and textures of your meal before chowing down, as well as taking smaller bites and chewing more slowly.
Activities that distract you from your food – like watching TV – can lead to overeating, so save the Netflix binge watching for after dinner. You can also find your zen by downloading a mindfulness and meditation app such as Calm (calm.com) or Headspace (headspace.com).