The problem: obesity is a grave public health concern
The World Health Organisation classifies obesity as, ‘a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems.’
We now recognise obesity as one of the gravest public health concerns of the 21st century. And all the trends suggest the problem is going to worsen and affect large segments of the global population, not just the affluent, but also in developing societies.
In some countries, obesity rates now exceed 30% and show no sign of abating. The consequences for physical and psychological wellbeing are enormous, while obesity treatment is notoriously tricky and fragmented.
It’s clear that the widespread availability of nutritional guidelines has done little to address the problems of overeating and poor dietary choice. The impulse to overeat easily wins out over our better intentions to eat sensibly.
We know that cream cakes are bad for us, but we eat them anyway!
All these factors are gradually ramping up levels of obesity in society, and leading to a rise in weight loss retreats and other seemingly radical solutions.
Why do we find it hard to control how much we eat?
There are many elements at play. Certainly, the prevalence of processed convenience foods is a factor. But people buy these foods because they can’t seem to help themselves.
Very often we eat as a way of coping with low energy levels and for emotional comfort. We find ourselves prey to powerful food cravings so strong we just can’t ignore them. And so a pattern becomes established: giving in to cravings, followed by feelings of guilt and of being weak-willed, followed by more comfort eating. This vicious cycle is very familiar!
Exercise, of course, is part of the answer. But unless we are willing to adopt sporting activity as a lifelong strategy, we will very soon put the pounds back on when we stop jogging or simply get bored with the gym. But even an exercise strategy won’t be fully effective if we carry on comfort eating in response to high levels of stress.
More importantly, natural weight loss is about more than just exercising. Gyms and weight loss retreats will do nothing to address the imbalanced insulin resistance of our fat cells, which is often at the heart of the problem.
When we have intermittent stress in our lives, we over-secrete steroid hormones (glucocorticoids), which tend to cause fat cells to hoard every last protein and glucose substance ready for release during the next bout of stress.
We become more resistant to the insulin, and this results in a number of adverse physical reactions, such as brain fogginess, inability to focus, high blood sugar, intestinal bloating, sleepiness – especially after meals – high blood pressure, symptoms of depression and increased hunger.
Many of us also try dieting. Once again, the shifts in eating habits must be permanent if we are to stay on track, and we are often susceptible to snack attacks, which undo all the good work. Stress tends to make us reach for fatty, sugary foods to replenish our fat stores quickly. Unfortunately, in most cases, we tend to store more than we use – and the result is only too evident when we have to struggle to fit into that pair of jeans that seemed to fit perfectly last year.
Even when we are disciplined, we find the body doesn’t respond as well as we want; this is down to the high-fat storage that results from stress-induced insulin resistance.
Indigestion is yet one more problem that often goes along with stress. This is a result of food not being fully broken down and metabolised. Rather, it’s left as rotting detritus in the stomach, causing a build-up of gas, which, in turn, creates air pockets in our cuddly bits. No-one likes cuddling a balloon!
We can also have a very confused emotional relationship with our food, and we are all driven by the primal need to eat as much as we can today, in case of famine tomorrow. Playing into this complex is the guilt many are made to feel if they don’t clear their plates when so many in the world are going hungry.
How can Vedic meditation help with natural weight loss?
There is a way out of all this negativity. We offer a solution that strikes at the root of these problems, requires much less effort than dieting or exercise, and gives us a chance to increase our happiness, healthiness and alertness.
It’s a far better – and sustainable – way of achieving a natural and healthy weight – and an elegant and pleasing figure.
Vedic meditation increases our resistance to stress and reduces the pernicious side-effects of an over-active stress response. It’s a real, no-nonsense way to lose weight fast naturally.
Under the influence of meditation, insulin resistance begins to align itself with a more natural and healthy level of functioning, and fat cells stop hoarding.
Meditators also find that less stress allows them to tune into what their bodies want, both regarding what they eat, and how much. Meditation helps digestion as well, meaning that what we do eat is put to good use by the body, rather than being excreted wholesale.
Having to be disciplined in the face of food becomes a thing of the past. It feels easy and natural to want to eat healthily – simply because it feels appropriate. Food simply stops being an emotional crutch and becomes just food once again.
As well as regulating eating patterns by controlling stress responses and dealing with underlying fears, meditation also gives better hormonal balance, allowing the body’s innate intelligence to reset its systems to a more natural and healthy level.
We nourish ourselves at the deepest level, rather than relying on the superficial attractiveness of starchy comfort foods.
The result is an achievable obesity treatment, a happy and healthy body, and a happy and healthy mind.
Alongside meditation, positive adjustments to diet and exercise are, of course, wholly beneficial. But we should be realistic about this and recognise that it’s not always as easy to make these changes as we think it might be.
Even when we’re fully committed to making changes, we still have to grapple with our very real subconscious programming. As soon as we encounter various demands, we often trip up. Meditation has an answer to this problem as well: it resets bodily systems and allows us to impose healthier behaviours on our subconscious glutton.
If after meditating you feel inspired to do more, then great! Having such a solid foundation will greatly assist you in finding a sustainable solution, and you may find positive habits are inspired naturally from within, rather than being forced from outside.