It’s 10pm. Do you know where your junk food is?
Unfortunately, it’s a bad habit many of us can relate to: that unwanted craving for junk food. Whether it’s a craving for ice cream right after dinner, or a hankering for potato chips while you watch the nightly news, food cravings are a bad habit most of us would like to drop. One of the easiest ways to drop a bad habit is through the practice of meditation.
What exactly is meditation? Meditation is a practice of “thoughtless awareness,” where we bring ourselves to a state of deep peace by quieting and calming the mind as we remain alert. Through the practice of meditation, you can begin to reduce stress and improve both mental and physical health.
Here’s how meditation can help reduce your food cravings.
Exert Better Control
A 2009 Duke University/CalTech study found that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the section of the brain activated by people with high willpower, is the same area of the brain that’s especially active during meditation. Other studies have shown that the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that relates to self-regulation, is more active in meditators than non-meditators. Through regular meditation, you can exert better control over your decisions throughout the day, and kick those bad food cravings to the curb.
Coping with Stress
It’s well known that stress can cause you to crave junk food. When we’re stressed out, we have a high level of the stress hormone cortisol. If we eat sugar, our body releases serotonin, a hormone that calms and relaxes us. Also, eating foods high in fat, sugar, and salt elicits a strong response in the body’s natural opioids, relieving our stress. Through regular meditation, we can better manage our stress, which will help reduce junk food cravings.
Meditation helps us practice mindfulness, which is being more aware of what’s happening in the present moment. To break a bad habit, we have to be aware when it’s happening. With improved mindfulness, we can stop mindless snacking and start to change our unwanted behaviors.
If you’re new to meditating and need help starting out, search YouTube for “guided meditations for breaking bad habits,” or “guided meditations for habit change.” There are also a few guided meditation videos specifically for dealing with food cravings.
Are you struggling with maintaining healthy eating habits and need professional guidance and support? Call me today so we can schedule an appointment.