“In meditation there is peacefulness, there is silence. We’re not thinking—we’re simply being. It’s enlightening and empowering and I look forward to experiencing this stillness every day.”
The way we typically think about losing weight has always been “weight loss=torture.” We somehow believe losing weight is something that must be “endured;” to be effective, it must be painful and unpleasant. Researchers believe this propensity for self-torture may be related to the stigma around extra weight: overweight people are believed to be wrong in our culture, so they must be forced to do their penance.
Yet public health research has proven that shaming people into losing weight never works. Stigma is de-motivating and actually leads to greater relapse rates, depression and severely compromised overall health. And it’s not your imagination – that stigma has grown dramatically recently. One Yale study estimates that the stigma against people who are overweight increased by 66 percent between 1996 and 2006. Research has documented the stereotypes behind it, which include some extremely harsh words, such as lazy, weak-willed, unsuccessful, unintelligent, and lack of self-discipline.
These words are hurtful and usually false. But that doesn’t stop the person who might be carrying extra pounds from hanging on to those labels and internalizing them. And if you’re not aware, that judgment can play like a soundtrack in your head, all day, every day.
But meditation is a perfect antidote. The more we become aware of what’s going on inside our heads, without judging it, the more we can start to notice those unhelpful automatic thoughts and emotional reactions, and the faster we can stop the cycle before it starts.
With Meditate Your Weight, we focus on learning how to accept and love ourselves, without the layers of judgment, anger and feelings of unworthiness that society wants to heap upon us. We can give ourselves compassion and forgiveness.
This self-compassion is the cornerstone of the book. To look, to accept and to love – as is. We can shift into setting goals and work toward being healthy, but without this cornerstone, there’s nothing secure to build on.
Repeat after me: I recognize that, within this body, no matter where I am today, I am wonderful, lovable, amazing. I’m beautiful inside and out, and I deserve respect, love, and vibrant health, no matter what.
Excerpted from MEDITATE YOUR WEIGHT: A 21-Day Retreat To Optimize Your Metabolism And Feel Great Copyright © 2016 by Tiffany Cruikshank. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC