I have a problem with weight gain. Will sitting to meditate twice a day make me put on the pounds?
This is a really good question, since many women struggle with unwanted weight gain.
Let’s start off by clarifying that Transcendental Meditation—even though it involves sitting—has been shown in over 600 peer-reviewed studies to be beneficial to health. As just one example, three months of TM practise results in significantly lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other cardiovascular risk factors, as shown in research conducted by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
It turns out that stress is directly correlated with weight gain—and TM has been shown to significantly reduce stress in a multitude of studies. According Dr. Pam Peeke, NIH researcher on food addiction and author of The Hunger Fix, when our brains are overloaded with stress, the prefrontal cortex shuts down. TM does the opposite—it strengthens the prefrontal cortex to be resilient against stress.
TM also boosts the happiness hormone serotonin and gives a huge energy boost. All of that adds up to the ability to say “no” to junk food and “yes” to exercise and healthy meals. After all, it’s when we’re tired and stressed that we tend to reach for the chocolate and collapse on the couch instead of rocking it at the gym.
Dr. Peeke wrote, “I found that TM practise had a profound influence on the ability to maintain vigilance and calm. It also helped people do the one thing that is so difficult in [food] addiction—to adapt to life’s stresses without resorting to self-destruction. TM helps them stay on track by augmenting the pre-frontal cortex.”
In other words, practising the Transcendental Meditation technique twice a day provides the mental, physical and emotional balance we need to stay healthy and maintain a normal weight despite the demands of our busy lives.