It’s easy to presume that meditation isn’t for you. You may have tried it once or twice, deciding that you’re not a “good meditator” and gave up on the whole idea.
Well, there’s evidence to show that meditation and mindfulness can actually be beneficial in meeting your health and fitness goals. Especially if you’re focused on your training or you’re passionate about eating well, you may want to give meditation another shot.
Here, we’re explaining what meditation and mindfulness actually are and how mindfulness can help with your fitness and eating habits.
What are Meditation and Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps you recognize your emotions and what you’re experiencing in the present. Meditation itself, generally, is the practice of noticing your thoughts and quieting your mind. So, mindfulness and meditation aren’t about changing your experience. It’s simply about becoming aware of your experience.
It’s easier said than done but these techniques have been shown to reduce signs of depression and anxiety. It’s the practice of living in the moment - something quite difficult.
So, how can mindfulness help with our eating habits? What about our fitness goals? Let’s find out.
When you practice mindful eating, it means you’re focusing all your attention on your experience surrounding food.
You might sit down to eat without distractions, fully tasting the food, noticing its texture, noticing the thoughts that come up, and paying attention to when your body tells you it’s full. You might come to have a deeper appreciation for your food, eventually releasing any guilt or shame you feel about food.
With mindful eating, you might also start to understand the differences between the cues your body is sending. Are you really hungry? Or do you want to eat due to an emotional trigger? Overeating, binge eating, and other disordered eating habits are often coping mechanisms for deeper problems. Noticing these cues can help you make choices that support your goals.
Mindfulness and Fitness
If mindfulness encourages us to notice our experiences and differentiate between subtle sensations, then it can help us meet our fitness goals too.
Our minds and bodies are connected. During a workout, it’s common to “zone out” and mindlessly go through the motions. However, focusing intently on what you’re doing while working out can help you reach deeper muscles you may have been unable to access before.
You’ll experience better results by noticing how your body feels in certain positions and you’ll be more aware of maintaining correct form.
Similarly to how it can help your eating habits, mindfulness meditation can help you differentiate between your body’s cues before and after a workout. Do you really need to rest or are you procrastinating with your workouts? Have you hit the top of your threshold and need to slow down or can you push through and reach the next level?
Essentially, mindfulness can help you understand yourself better. When we take the time to really notice our experience, without judgment, we can start to take more control over our choices.