It’s that time of year when it’s safe to pause your Hulu Live account. Who needs to stream old-school holiday specials, like Frosty the Snowman? Although, there’s a valuable lesson in this childhood classic: One of life’s biggest challenges is believing in things that cannot be explained. Somehow we view meditation and losing weight the same way.
Meditation seems like an out-of-reach, ethereal Jedi mind trick accompanied by foreign chimes and the near-equivalent of speaking in chilled-out tongues. For those of us who’ve had challenges with weight, it’s often hard to fathom the pounds ever coming off. In Meditate Your Weight, health and wellness pro Tiffany Cruikshank, blends these two seemingly untouchables together and makes them tangible.
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Think you can’t control your food cravings? Cruikshank lays out a plan where you can do it within minutes of meditative practice a day. What is meditation anyway? According to Cruikshank, it’s just a collection of our thoughts. “Thoughts are more like breaths or the blinks of an eye,” and “…meditation is a means of training your brain.” Her guide leads you on a 21-day retreat to help steer your mind away from cravings and feelings of “I can’t” when it comes to losing extra weight. It might not be as simple as Barbara Eden using her magic in I Dream of Jeannie or Elizabeth Montgomery twitching her nose in Bewitched, but Cruikshank lays out a solid, science-backed plan for allowing your thoughts to help you do the work of losing weight.
Instead of filling your brain with self-defeating thoughts every day, pump yourself up by focusing on mantras that reinforce willpower. There’s a lot more to it — but mantras are easy things to circle back to throughout Cruikshank’s program. Her daily supply of mantras makes things easier. Does the word “mantra” get into Jedi zone for you? It shouldn’t. It’s just a tool. Cruikshank breaks it down for us “…a mantra is not inherently spiritual—it is merely a word or sound that you can repeat to help you concentrate.”
When it comes to controlling cravings the key mantra for the day is “What is my body asking for?” If you can boost your awareness of what is sparking your cravings, the thinking is you are more likely to be able to control them. Cruikshank’s direct, clear, and easy to understand mantras help keep your thoughts from spiraling out of control or losing your mind over the next sugary treat you come across. As Cruikshank puts it “Our minds are usually searching for the next desire to chew on.”
So instead of chewing on the nearest Mallomar, chew on Cruikshank’s helpful mantra “What is my body asking for?” This is also a way of setting an intention for a 3, 5, 7 or 10-minute meditation where Cruikshank suggests you focus on five questions (…with some editorial license):
1. Do I eat the brownie, or do I talk to my partner? (…In some of our cases that’s a bestie or family member.)
2. Do I hate the mirror, or do I take off my makeup for the day, appreciate my natural beauty, and love myself? (…I mean this is some Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder real-talk!)
3. Do I eat the chips, or go for food that will give me sustained energy?
4. Do I eat it—or do I sit and meditate, even for just a few minutes, to consider what’s happening and what my body actually needs? Do I need nourishment? Do I need to relax, connect, sleep?
5. Can I find a way to answer that need from the body in a way that leaves me feeling more content?
Instead of eating your feelings, hopefully, you’ll be feeling all the feels and stopping self-sabotage. A simple way to focus on these five questions and abate unhealthy cravings is to return to the mantra: What is my body asking for?
Try it. Maybe you’ll pick tricep dips over chips and dip.
Meditate Your Weight could be the dietary supplement you’ve been searching for. It’s also available as an audiobook where Cruikshank’s 21-day retreat plan can serve as an out-loud, guided meditation.
Illustration Credit: Marie Guillard