I first heard of FOREST BATHING on a show on Hulu. The idea of forest bathing caught my eye but alas the show was short lived for me and mine. I’m still looking for replacement series and yes, I watch the wondrous Ted Lasso and no, I don’t want to watch The Handmaid’s Tale (too close for comfort).
Back to the forest bathing idea though. I kind of felt like the whole iPhone is watching because several days later my meditation app featured forest bathing. Now, I know you all are holding your breath and dying to find out what it is so let me just burst your bubble. There isn’t any bathing involved. You just go out into a forest and take in the glory of the surrounding trees and flora. It does wonders for calming the mind and spirit.
You may not know this but one of my life’s goals is to walk the Appalachian Trail or the AT as those of us in the know, well, know. I’ve been tracking my walking miles to see how far I would be into my sojourn. Happily I have completed 100.8 miles which is roughly 5% of the total AT distance. Sadly, it’s taken me over six months to do this distance so I will be walking for 10 years to complete the virtual AT at this rate. I’ve got to pick up the pace.
To this end I decided to start hiking locally and I revisited a site that I hiked years before. A mile or so on the trail and I realized I was forest bathing. My mind and spirit were calming as I was taking in both the magnificence and the tranquility of the well maintained and well lit path. There is nothing like communing with nature and being fairly certain you aren’t going to be mauled by a bear to free your heart and wash away the anxiety of your daily existence.
So, what in the world does forest bathing have to do with weight loss? I would like to offer it up as a tool to help you reach your goal weight. How? If the last year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that we all are experiencing large amounts of anxiety which affects our weight in two ways: One, stress increases your cortisol level which over time will increase your appetite. Two, no one likes to feel anxious all of the time and a nice bar of chocolate is so helpful for blissing out but will also lead to some undesired weight gain if you keep eating to reduce stress. Might I offer instead, the practice of FOREST BATHING? Maybe this sounds too woo for you but what a wonderful way to spend a fall day. And, think of how hip you can sound if you say “I’m going to do a little forest bathing to enhance my weight loss journey”. Certainly more hip than going to a weight loss spa and who knows, it might just work. Why don’t you give it a try and let me know what you think of the experience. Who knows? Maybe I can create an app out of this and retire to the AT.