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When trying to lose weight, most people turn first to diet and exercise (or supplements or other products intended for use in the body).

Fitness and healthy food are certainly essential components of any good weight loss strategy, but the mind is a vital tool as well – one that’s important not to overlook.

In terms of weight loss, mindfulness simply means controlling your mood, outlook, and stress levels to help prevent weight gain or even achieve significant weight loss, as well as benefit your overall health.

Being mindful enables you to control your reaction to life’s daily events, even the stressful ones. Many people spend too much time worrying about past events or an unknown future.

Although this is a natural response to the subconscious beliefs we develop through life experience, it has a huge impact on stress, health, and even weight.

Besides “stress eating,” stress affects weight in another major way. Stress causes the body to release cortisol, a hormone designed to protect the body from perceived danger. When a real danger exists, this is a beneficial reaction.

The problem is that cortisol is also often released when there is no physical danger – such as when we are overly stressed out about a schedule that’s too hectic, family or work problems, or something else. And cortisol is known to play a role in excess belly fat – perhaps in an attempt to protect the organs from some perceived danger.

In contrast, when we gain the ability to restrict our thoughts to what we have control of in the present moment, we are then able to maintain an emotional state that precludes unnecessary stress – and the havoc it wreaks on our bodies.

Restricting your thoughts doesn’t mean you have to ignore the realities of life; it simply means that you learn more effective ways to manage important issues. And since we as humans can change the way we think, this is completely achievable with some practice.

Learning to be mindful in all things can have a very beneficial effect on your weight loss goals. Through the use of mind-body connection tools, such as meditation, along with mindfulness and self-compassion, we can lose weight (or prevent weight gain) and improve our overall health and longevity.

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