Meditation For Positive Body Image: How To Quiet Obsessive Thoughts About Food & Your Body

By Sarah Jenks and Nisha Moodley

Over the past two weeks we’ve learned how to stop dieting, overindulging and obsessing about food and how to keep the power of food in check by releasing its power. We’ve learned the importance of putting ourselves first and why we should just eat the darn donut. We have learned to renegotiate our relationships with food and our bodies. But that doesn’t mean we’re all “cured” of our unhealthy habits. This is a process. Sometimes a long process. But overanalyzing isn’t the answer.

A lot of us have the tendency to think about food all the time. So much so that it can detract from our being fully present in our own lives. The constant mental chatter of “eat this, don’t eat this, I shouldn’t have eaten that, is that good? Bad?…” leaves us feeling confused, degraded and plain old exhausted.  But so often we feel totally out of control of our thoughts with no way to get our mind to quiet down. The best tool for quieting our obsessive thoughts about food, though, is meditation.

10 steps to a more balanced life!

Most of us, when we first learn about meditation, are convinced it’s not for us.  We think meditation is for yogis sitting by a rippling brook or hippies swaying in a circle. We think that we’re either way too busy or way too “normal” to meditate. But the reality is that meditation is all about getting to know yourself. It’s about getting comfortable with being still, with being with yourself and with your body. And there is nothing weird or “not normal” about that.

You see, our obsession with food is really just a fear that we can’t survive this moment of stress, loneliness or boredom without being distracted by eating.  It is based in the belief that we can’t handle it alone, that our internal systems of coping are not enough and that we need food to keep us afloat. But, if you just take ten minutes every morning to sit quietly and focus on your breath, you will get really comfortable with just chillin’ with yourself.

Still skeptical? Check out these meditation tips for beginners!

Meditating is actually very simple, there is no right or wrong way to meditate, but for starters, try this:

Sit on the floor with your legs crossed and your palms face ups on your knees.  Feel free to sit on a pillow, mat or towel.

Set your alarm for 5-10 minutes (whichever you are most comfortable with to start)

If you like, play some calming music

Close your eyes and slowly breath in through your nose and out through your mouth

The goal is put your attention on every breath, feel the air come into your lungs and out through your lips.

Your mind will wander, that’s ok! Just keep bringing your attention back to your breath

Some people find it helpful to say a “mantra” which is just a short sentence you repeat silently in your mind. (If you would like, start by repeating “I am” until you come up with your own personal mantra.)

Now, when you’re at work and you’re exhausted, bored or grumpy, instead of reaching for package of Oreos to get you through the afternoon. You will be able to tap into your calm centered being, take some deep breaths and have an overwhelming sense of knowing that you will be more than fine, in fact better, without the Oreos.

Still struggling with cravings? Read this!