The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life as we know it. And all this extra time spent at home and outside of our routines has made it very easy to gain weight. (Some people are calling it the “Quarantine 15.”)
Especially since many people are turning to quick fixes—like stress eating—to help cope with all the amplified feelings of stress and anxiety.
Many people are also having trouble sleeping, further slowing down your metabolism, making it even easier to pack on a few pounds.
If this sounds like you, don’t be hard on yourself. These are strange times! And know you’re not alone.
Fortunately, researchers have uncovered how music is helping people make big strides in their weight loss efforts.
Here are three ways you can use the power of music to melt off those extra pounds.
Turn down the volume
Restaurants have known for years that background music can affect what and how you eat.
In fact, in a 2018 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, researchers examined whether the volume of background music had an effect on what customers ordered in a café.
Over two days, researchers played the same selection of ambient music in a Swedish café—once at a soft volume of 55 decibels and again at a louder volume of 70 decibels.
What they found was that when the music was softer, people ordered much healthier menu items.
The Swedish researchers repeated the same experiment at a grocery store.
Again, they found that shoppers exposed to softer music tended to buy healthier grocery items.
Why? According to the researchers, music volume directly affects heart rate and arousal.
So the softer the music, the calmer the customer. And when people are calm, they’re more apt to make more mindful decisions.
The louder the music, the more aroused or stressed they become, increasing the desire for high energy or high fat foods.
Fortunately, this is something you can control. You can bring your own relaxing music to listen to while you grocery shop. And when you go out to eat, either sit outside or farther away from restaurant speakers.
Both of these strategies can help to alleviate subconscious stress so you can make better, more level-headed choices.
Naturally lower stress levels
When you’re stressed, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode, triggering the release of two stress response hormones:
The surge of adrenaline can make you feel good (hence the term “adrenaline rush”).
But when your levels of adrenaline start to come down, your cortisol levels begin to rise.
Although cortisol builds up very slowly, it takes just as long to go back down. So if you’re constantly engaging in things that require short bursts of adrenaline, your cortisol levels will keep building up.
Eventually, cortisol will begin to work against you—especially when it comes to putting on weight.
High levels of cortisol can cause a host of problems including:
The good news is, music has been shown to help lower cortisol levels.
In a 2013 study published in PLoS One, 60 women performed a stress test after being exposed to one of the three:
The researchers concluded that the relaxing music had the most significant effect on the participants’ stress response, helping them to relax much faster after the stress test.
Maximize your motivation
Music can also help you get a more intense workout and stay motivated to keep going!
A 2005 study from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s School of Psychology studied 41 overweight to moderately obese women during a 24-week program consisting of dieting, walking, and group meetings.
Half of them listened to the music of their choice while walking, while the other half walked without listening to anything.
During follow-up after the study, 98 percent of the music group continued with their walking program compared to only 68 percent of the non-music walkers.
Even more exciting was that the women in the music group doubled their weight loss results—losing an average of 16 pounds and 4 percent of body fat! In contrast, the non-music walkers lost an average of 8 pounds and 2 percent of their body fat.
Taking the first step
Regardless of your weight or where your fitness levels are right now, I encourage you to use what you’ve learned today to make at least one healthy change this week.
And if you’re ready to jumpstart a health or weight loss routine, know that music can be a powerful tool in helping you to take that first step.
Oftentimes, taking that first step offers the momentum needed to propel you to your goal.
Remember, something is always better than nothing. It’s a process. Be patient with yourself as you progress. You’ll not only look better—but feel better, too!
P.S. Explore the natural benefits from music, sound, and rhythm, by joining my Donovan Sound Healing Circle which gives you unlimited access to every single one of sound based wellness methods and courses for less than $9/mo! Simply click here to learn more or give it try today.
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Biswas, D., Lund, K., and Szocs, C. (2018). Sounds like a health retails atmospheric strategy:
Effects of ambient music and background noise on food sales. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.
Retrieved from: researchgate.net/publication/
Cortisol. (2019). You and your Hormones. Retrieved from: yourhormones.info/hormones/
Demystifying Depression/The Stress System. (2014). WikiBooks. Retrieved from: en.wikibooks.org/wiki/
Koelsch, S., (2011). Effects of Music Listening on Cortisol Levels and Propofol Consumption During Spinal Anesthesia. Frontiers in Psychology. 2: p. 58. Retrieved from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/
Sarnataro, B. (n.d.) Exercise Music: Tunes to Get Fit By. WebMD. Retrieved from: webmd.com/fitness-exercise/
Thoma, M. (2018). The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response. PloS One. 8(8): e70156. Retrieved from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/
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