Meditation and ABS.
The brain decides your fat percentage.
You can’t tell your brain to lose fat, but you can create the environment that tells your brain it’s ok to let go of some of your energy “savings”.
If you knew, based on your experience and the current state of economy that you are most likely to have less money coming into your bank account and increased expenses soon, wouldn’t you try to save more? Make more now, store more away for a rainy day?
A lot of my clients who I worked with over the last decade on fat loss and maintaining lean body mass looked at meditation as a good-to-have for overall well-being practice, not as a primary weight loss tool. — This is a huge mistake, a failing cognitive model.
The most effective tools to improve and maintain health (your bank account, relationships, or anything for that matter) aren’t about direct actions and getting better at doing them (of course they are important). It’s about creating internal and external conditions that will make these behaviors like fitness and healthy eating, active lifestyle — automatic, default, no-brainer, something your brain and your body almost fall into.
People who maintain great results, like lean body, aren’t the best athletes or dieters who obsessively count every calorie and live in the gym. They are the people who build their life and simple routines in a way, that make maintaining results frictionless and seamless. Along the lines of, if you have only healthy delicious meals in the fridge — that’s what you’ll eat most of the time. If your friends are into an active lifestyle — that’s what you’ll do most of the time on the weekends. If your friends are entrepreneurs who are focused on growing their business — that’s who’ll you likely become, getting better at skills they are good at.
Back to meditation, abs, and the brain.
BRAIN’S MAIN PURPOSE
Very simple and true for all organisms. The primary purpose of any brain is to make sure that we don’t run out of energy and die. Energy is the currency of life and if we don’t have enough nothing else will matter — not mating, not career or business development, not what we have in our bank account. The only thing that our brain truly cares about is your energy budget.
Do you have enough now and in the future to keep going?
BRAIN DOESN’T CARE ABOUT THE PRESENT AND HOW THINGS ARE
No, not really.
The brain cares about what happened before and what’s most likely to happen in the future. Now is just another data point.
A brain is ultimately a prediction machine. Reacting to a lion that’s jumping on you to eat you or a poisonous berry that you are currently chewing is already a bit too late to help you survive. That’s why the brain remembers better the things that come before stressors, before potential danger or negative experience we went through once so that we react/respond just in time to avoid getting into trouble and possibly dying.
The brain is naturally proactive, for better or worse. Sometimes it gets things right and sometimes it makes mistakes and prepares you for the danger that never comes.
THE BRAIN IS THE DATA AND COMMAND CENTER
The brain is not there to help you play music or to create the best product or a multi-million dollar brand.
That brain gathers data from all your sensory and internal organs about the state of things, from your environment (your relationships, noise and light levels etc), and based on past experiences the brain makes the best prediction about the future and changes your metabolism, your mental and emotional states accordingly, your thoughts, your actions to produce the result that from your brain’s perspective gives you the best chance to manage your energy resources, survive, dominate and procreate.
Your brain can and will adjust your energy expenditure, what goes to storage, what goes to maintaining the longevity of cells, and what goes into procreation or into building up your fitness levels as the environment demands it.
STRESS, MEDITATION AND WEIGHT LOSS
Stress has a molecular signature in your body — it isn’t “just what you feel”, emotions are chemicals in your body and brain. Something in your environment triggers the fight-or-flight response, your brain registers that and changes what your cells and all organs and tissues do. If the stress is acute the brain releases energy to address that and right after the brain goes to work to adjust all the settings to preserve, restore and save energy resources.
If you are constantly bombarded with stressors and you don’t control your internal state through practices like meditation, what happens is your brain is always looking into ways to get and save energy — a few simple ways, as you probably know — make you eat more and store as much as possible (mostly as fat).
Your insulin sensitivity, whether energy goes into building muscle or storing fat, your mood, your appetite, your activity levels, your metabolic rate — all are adjusted to preserve energy when you are in a state of chronic stress.
Meditation is one of the most effective tools to lower stress levels — we still don’t know how exactly it all works but there’s been ongoing research looking into all the different mechanisms meditation affects the brain and the body. (From the size of our amygdala to our heart rate, to muscle relaxation — all of which contribute to perceived stress levels and circulating stress molecules).
You can’t tell your body and brain to lose weight, you can’t tell yourself to not stress, in most cases, you can’t predict how stressful your life gets. But you can learn tools that change your body from a stressed to a more relaxed state, you can learn to control your breathing, to visualize calming scenery, to relax your muscles, to do yoga, to go for walks in nature, to listen to the music that helps you to relax, that changes your brain activity. And when your brain doesn’t think there’s an ongoing emergency — your energy goes into the exploration of your world, seizing opportunities, building skills for long-term dominance and ensuring a better mating pool, into keeping you alive for longer to help your species, your tribe dominating the environment.
We can’t fight or fool our brain and bodies — if we are stressed the brain and the body will respond accordingly whether you want it or not. The only thing we can do — is changing what we can control in our world and our body to communicate to our brain that we are OK, we have our affairs figured out and taken care of, and there’s no need to be saving for a rainy day.
Do you meditate as your weight management strategy? Why yes/no?
🙂THANK YOU FOR READING! DO GREAT THINGS.
📘MY BOOK IS OUT “Fit-and-Focused Brain-Body Blueprint for Remote Pros and Digital Nomads: Neuroscience-based routines, hacks and habits to stay productive, healthy and fit anywhere”