Research shows that mindfulness can improve metabolism, decrease emotional eating, and improve overall health.
We’ve heard about how to rev up our metabolism for a long time. “Work out at least 30 minutes a day.” “Eat lean proteins and cut down on carbs.” Maybe there’s one we were missing: Make mindfulness part of your daily routine. Studies have shown that mindfulness can improve metabolism and decrease emotional eating. In optimizing metabolism and prompting us to be focused, and present, while we are eating, mindfulness can reduce chronic-disease risk, and improve our overall health.
What exactly do we mean by mindfulness though? Does it mean that we have to meditate everyday? Or, maybe we should do yoga a few times a week. These are both excellent options; but, mindfulness is more than a technique or an exercise routine. Mindfulness is a state of being, achieved by focusing on the present moment, while acknowledging, without judgment or preconceptions, one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. From this definition, you can be—and should be—mindful with your family, at work, while painting, while playing football, even while gaming. Mindfulness is a constant state of being and a constant state of mind. Simply, to be mindful means being present and being responsive. And, the first step is showing up.
With having to be everywhere all at once, you might think that there isn’t time to be mindful when eating. There is; being mindful just takes a few moments. We just need a minute, even a few seconds, to redirect ourselves and get back to the present. Being mindful will not only help us as we eat; more importantly, it will help us before we eat. Mindfulness can also guide us in making the food choices that will fuel us, not just fill us. Here are quick steps we can take:
1) Before eating, take 30 seconds to check how you’re feeling. Are you low on energy? Do you just need some refreshment? A high-protein meal can help in the first case, and a glass of water, or a healthy energy drink, can be the right choice in the other.
2) Savor each bite or each gulp. Much too often we just rush through meals. Take the time to be grateful for what you’ve accomplished already, and building your energy for the remaining tasks.
3) Take time to refocus, 30 seconds to a minute, at the end of the meal. Begin transitioning to the next task or activity, so you can fully “show up” for others, and, most importantly, yourself.
It’s easier to do all this if you’re already in a state of mindfulness. How can you make mindfulness part of your daily routine, or better yet, part of every moment? These are four simple steps we can all take: 1) be grateful (being alive is the opportunity to be better); 2) stay active (moderate exercise is enough to help you be present); 3) make time to unplug (we can’t be tethered to our phones all day…we need to be focused with family, friends, and colleagues); and 4) appreciate the journey. We can’t control what happens; but, we can always control how we react. Even the most formidable challenge or the most devastating setback is an opportunity to do better. Challenges are great reminders; they are prompting us to do something differently. Sometimes, that “different” is totally outside of our comfort zone or our area of expertise. And, that’s okay. If we are mindful—present and responsive—we will more than meet the challenge. Take that first step, stay open, and the Universe will guide us the rest of the way.
You might be thinking about your next meal now. Any balanced one will optimize your metabolism. Just make sure mindfulness is your key ingredient.
Davis, J.L. (2006). Meditation balances the body’s systems. https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/transcendental-meditation
Gizewski, E.R., Steiger, R., Waibel, M., Pereverzyev, S., Sommer, P., Siedentopf, C., Grams, A.E., Lenhart, L., & Singewald, N. (2021). Short-term meditation training influences brain energy metabolism: A pilot study on 31 P MR spectroscopy. Brain and Behavior, 11(1), e01914. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.1914
Kaplan, D. (2018). Here’s how meditation helps with weight loss. https://www.forbes.com/sites/dinakaplan/2018/01/28/meditation-for-weight-loss-and-holistic-health/
Leigh, S. (2016). Mindful eating, meditation may lead to better metabolic health. https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2016/03/402171/mindful-eating-meditation-may-lead-better-metabolic-health
News 18. (2022). How might breathing assist in weight loss? https://www.news18.com/news/lifestyle/how-might-breathing-assist-in-weight-loss-5642263.html
Whalen, R. (2017). How to make mindfulness part of your daily routine. https://info.totalwellnesshealth.com/blog/how-to-make-mindfulness-part-of-your-daily-routine
Wilson, J. (2022). 14 habits that can boost your metabolism. https://www.healthdigest.com/1000355/habits-that-can-boost-your-metabolism/
Xue, T., Li, H., Wang, M.T., Shi, Y., Shi, K., Cheng, Y., & Cui, D.H. (2018). Mindfulness meditation improves metabolic profiles in healthy and depressive patients. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 24(6), 572-574. https://doi.org/10.1111/cns.12816
I said I'm going to do it this year. I'm going to keep the weight off and I'm not going to cave to the cravings. Are there things I can do through the day to keep my metabolism up?
Seminal Wellness Team
Sophia, you'll do it this year! I know you've heard about intermittent fasting; but, that's not ideal for everyone. A high-fiber diet (with leafy greens, beans, etc.) and lean proteins (nuts,if you're not allergic, can substitute for chicken and turkey, and beans, which work for any lifestyle) in small every 2 hours or so, up to 3 hours before bedtime, may be a better option for some. You'll be sated, but it also revs up your metabolism through the day. And, replacing sugary drinks, and alcohol, with water also has substantial benefits. Of course, avoid processed foods. This may help you reach your optimal weight; but, most importantly, you'll feel better and your body will work better. You can contact us for more tips, and please consider our body-cleansing products. Here's to a healthy 2023!