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Stop Waiting to Lose Weight: Five Ways to Start Today

Stop Waiting to Lose Weight: Five Ways to Start Today

Waiting to lose weight? You never will, unless you start today.

You’ve wanted to drop those 15 pounds (or five, or 50) for longer than you remember. But every time you start a new diet you lose a few pounds and then those old habits rear their heads again. Before you know it, you’ve gained it all back and then some. Here are five secrets to successful weight loss that will help you keep it off. (N.B., Of course, see your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan. Make sure your body is ready for these changes. Don’t substitute this advice for that of a physician’s counsel.)

1. Do the Math

Your body is an amazingly designed, highly efficient, energy-processing machine. It’s a medical fact that if you give your body the right kinds of fuel in the right amounts, you’ll lose weight. Quit trying to starve yourself and learn to eat properly by being a math nerd.

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Start by understanding one fact: if you take in fewer calories than you burn, your perfectly designed energy-processing machine of a body will do its job. Find out how many calories per day your body needs to maintain itself at your current weight and you’ll understand what it takes to start shaving off those extra pounds.

Use a free online tool like this one from the Calorie Control Council and get the data you need to use math to melt it off.

2. Step It Up

You don’t have to be a triathlete to get in better shape. Here are a few ways to start moving more. Before you know it, you’ll be healthier and feel better, and the positive feedback in the mirror will keep you going.

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  • Park farther away. Even 50 extra feet from your workplace or the grocery store when you run your errands turns into 100 extra feet you walked on the round trip. Over the course of a year, all those extra steps will turn into lots of calories burned off your body, just by that one simple change. Think of your goal, not grabbing that convenient close spot, and you’ll see the results. Here’s a great article from the American Heart Association for more information.
  • Take the stairs. Climbing a few flights of stairs can burn off excess calories, melt fat, and does a lot for your muscle tone and heart health. Here’s one stair-climbing success story. 
  • Watch your step(s). Get a pedometer to keep up with how many steps you take every day. You’ll soon start seeing it as a goal and try to take a few more than you did yesterday. Every step burns calories off the old waistline. Here are more stats about taking more steps.

3. Use Food for Fuel, Not as Medicine

Sometimes we eat to comfort us when we’re feeling bad. The problem is, emotional eating doesn’t do anything to help our emotional issues; it just makes us feel worse the next day. Examining why you eat when you’re sad or stressed and admitting to yourself that it’s an issue is the first step.

Here’s a great article about how to examine why we eat at certain times, and what to do instead.

4. Understand What You’re Eating and What Your Body Does with It

Knowing how different foods are handled by your body’s energy machine will help you make better choices. Most people cannot sustain a radical diet for very long, and the result of many extreme weight-loss strategies (no-carb, all protein diets, etc.) is that people tend to rebound and gain more weight. Knowing what your body does with the fuel you give it will help you make better choices and lead to lasting success.

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Here is a primer from the CDC to get you started.

5. Win Today

You don’t have to focus on the 15 or 50 pounds you need to lose. If you’re focused on the big number, you’ll be discouraged every time you step on the scale. But if you simply learn to win today, every day, you’ll hit your targets and feel successful. Take in less than you burn, one day at a time, and your body will do the rest.

A good example is the 500 calorie plan. It’s pure fact that if you can reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, you’ll lose one pound per week. It’s very easy to cut 500 calories in one day if you plan your food intake strategically. Think about the simple things, like substituting water for soft drinks. A typical soft drink or fruit juice has 120 or more calories per serving, so if you make three or four of those choices a day, you’ll hit your 500 calorie target without much trouble.

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Keeping it up, and making a conscious choice to win the Battle of Today, every day, will produce the leaner, healthier version of yourself you’ve always known was hiding under all those extra pounds.

Remember: You can’t lose weight tomorrow. Stop waiting and start weighing less, starting today.

Featured photo credit: mrd00dman via Compfightcc via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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