Benefits Of Meditation

Tomorrow is Mother's Day (in case you've been living under a very large rock!) and I usually do something to acknowledge that special woman in all of our lives. So (you might reasonably ask) what does meditation have to do with Mother's Day?  Glad you asked…..

It can be kind of tough being a Mom these days and so, if I may, I would like to share some of the benefits of something I have personally been doing for about a year. Perhaps you will find it beneficial as well….

I started practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) about a year ago. Reason being, I was told my blood pressure was a little high. Yikes, my blood pressure is high! I don't smoke. I exercise regularly. I am not overweight (after all who would go to a bariatric surgeon who is overweight!). Of course, I will confess to enjoying an occasional alcoholic beverage (but you have to have at least one vice, don't you?). I guess my point is, I thought I was basically doing all the right things for my health and here my doctor is telling me I have high blood pressure…bummer! Guess it was my family history or "stress" (who knew being a surgeon was stressful??)

Anyhow, like most of you reading this who had bariatric surgery so you could stop taking medicine for diabetes, and high blood pressure I didn't want to take any medicine if I didn't need to. So I began looking around for things that could help control blood pressure without medication.

The most important is exercise which I was already doing but I have definitely stepped it up a notch over the last year (I have written about this in previous newsletters, varying your exercise routine both in the type of exercise you do and its intensity). In addition to exercise I looked at what would be called other types of behavioral therapies (not medications). Turns out the American Heart Association (AHA) published a statement about these types of therapies about a year ago. You can find the link here

Let me give you the brief version. They looked at the evidence for different types of therapies: 1)TM, 2)Other meditation techniques, 3)Biofeedback, 4)Yoga, and 5)Other relaxation techniques. Reviewing the best available scientific evidence there were only two techniques they could recommend as being safe and having some evidence of effectiveness. They were Transcendental Meditation and Biofeedback. To be fair, the authors did say the level of evidence for both TM and biofeedback was a little weak (not all the studies were that well designed) and that more research was needed. However, both TM and Biofeedback had evidence of effectiveness were definitely safe and without harmful side effects.

My personal experience with TM has been great. I find it very relaxing and it is a very easy technique to learn (and I have tried other types of meditation in the past, this is the one that feels the most "natural").

In case you're wondering, I check my blood pressure frequently and it is very well controlled (but since I am good patient I also take my blood pressure medicine). At my next doctor visit I will ask about stopping the medicine and seeing how my blood pressure is with just the TM (stay tuned!). For me though, the most noticeable effect from the TM is I sleep much better. I used to "toss and turn" quite a bit and often didn't feel totally rested when I woke up. That happens much less since I started practicing TM.

So, if you are stressed out from being a Mom (or life in general) or your blood pressure is high or you want to sleep better or you just want to check out TM you can go to their website here

For the record I am not sure I agree with everything on their website or even know everything that is on their website but it is a good place to start if you are interested.

If you do want to learn TM there are centers in Summit, NJ and in Monmouth county in Shrewsbury, NJ. If you choose to learn TM you will get a discount since you are a patient of this practice. Just let me know and I can give a prescription and when you go to the center you will get a discount.

fromthegutFrom the Gut… by Glynn Fluitt
Mr. Fluitt is a patient, member of the Century Club and graciously contributes his thoughts and insights as a patient, a champion and an advocate for us all!

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What's for Lunch?

You don't have to eat. Just go to lunch!!

Every once in a while, someone says something to me that sticks. That becomes my mantra. That drives my logic in all else I pursue. I usually eventually claim it as my own.

Dr. Bilof is the owner of one of those.

He said to me "don't eat just because of where the hands are on the clock! Eat when you need fuel."

I try to keep that in mind when I need to determine if my cravings are boredom based. Or stress. Or comfort. Sadness. Celebration.

There is a down side though. You miss out on SO much!!

Not food-wise. Socially!

Meal times are community time. Social outlets that feed your soul rather than your belly.

I was standing at the elevator on my way to the cafeteria with one of my best friends. She and I have worked together for over a decade and we have a great GREAT time reflecting on the world around us. My pursuit is to get her to laugh uncontrollably.

While standing at the elevator I started thinking that I wasn't hungry. Going to lunch was feeding the muscle-memory demon. "It is 12:30, it must be time for lunch!" Words of Dr. Bilof started floating in the air around me. "Don't eat just because of where the hands are on the clock!"

I almost physically shoo'd the words away when I realized that I hadn't had lunch with Janette for weeks! I was missing out on the non-caloric meal of lunch — my social outlet!!

We made our way to the cafeteria. I picked up a tray and made my way to the food line. Hmmmm. No chili today. Hmmm. I made it to the cashier with a Turkey meatball, a spoonful of whole wheat pasta and some English peas. A small plate of "no harm — no foul". And I didn't eat the whole plate of food.

I talked. And I laughed. And Kenneth joined us. As did Bob and Phyllis. Man, I'm full — with eating only a few bites.

Follow me @BariatricDude

And what's for lunch?!

Glynn

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