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Weight Loss and The Wisdom of Zen

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What is Zen?

Zen is the fine art of paying attention. It is mindfulness. It is being as opposed to doing. It means fully inhabiting one's self in the present moment. It is bringing your full attention and presence to whatever you’re doing.

Zen is a way of living. Anyone can practice Zen. It is not a religion.

Living in a Zen way means when you eat, eat. When you work, work. It means being fully present and showing up for your life. In the words of Ram Dass, "Be here now."

Sounds easy right?

Most of us live mindlessly. We go about our lives with an endless to do list running in our heads. We are either in the future focused on what we are going to do next, or playing out old scenarios from the past. Rarely are we ever fully in the moment.

Zen is about becoming still. Zen requires that you slow down enough to center yourself in the moment. Life becomes your meditation.

When you live your life mindfully, each moment becomes its own reward. Life takes on an incredible richness. This richness cannot compare to even the most decadent of desserts. With mindfulness, life can become your dessert.

When you live from the center of your being, you begin to flow with the river of life. When you are in the flow of life, you can hear your life speak to you. You begin to experience your unique rhythms, and your being begins to dance in harmony to the rhythm of life. Life unfolds the way it is meant to be. It ceases to be a struggle.

Most of us are in the river of life desperately trying to swim upstream. We are overbooked, frantic, and living in overdrive.

How can the wisdom of Zen mindfulness help you to lose weight?

Most of us eat mindlessly. We eat and aren’t even aware of what we are eating. How many times have you eaten something only to find a few minutes later you don’t even remember what you just ate? It barely even registers an impression! Most of us eat when we're watching TV, driving, reading, or working on the computer. You can ingest hundreds of calories and not really be present while you are doing it.

Mindfulness has been used successfully to treat eating disorders and compulsive overeating. By being mindful when you are eating, you can fully enjoy the food you are eating and tune into your body’s natural reactions and instincts.

When you eat compulsively, you are using food to meet your non-food related needs. You are starving for your own attention. If fat could talk it would say, "I am hungry, angry, lonely, bored, or tired. Pay attention to me!" If you have years of compulsive eating under your belt, you are probably an expert in overriding your body’s signals.

With mindfulness, you can learn to discern when you are hungry for food and when you are hungry for emotional sustenance. When you eat mindfully, you learn to truly savor food and eat until your body registers that you are satiated and no longer hungry. Eating then becomes the true act of nourishment it was meant to be.

When you become mindful, you can tune into your body’s inner wisdom. The body never lies. Mindfulness helps you develop a solid connection with what you are feeling and what you are doing. It develops your inner ear - your intuition. You soul speaks in whispers. You have to be still enough to hear it.

When you practice mindfulness, you will be able to instinctively know what you really want and need. It might be guacamole or it could be a hug. The wisdom of Zen allows you to make the choice.

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