Music and Weight Loss

September 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Music and Weight Loss, Weight Loss Exercise

Music is such a natural part of the daily lives of people this generation that they tend to take it for granted: they sit in the car and turn on the radio, their kids play CDs all day, malls have music piping in to enhance one’s shopping experience, and, more importantly, fast food restaurants also have music playing in the background.

Do you know that music can play a major, though subtle role, in your weight loss goals? If you are not convinced, perhaps you can pay a bit more attention to the type of music that restaurants play: a fine dining setup will likely have relaxing music, while a fast food chain or a food court might have a faster beat. What sorts of effect do you need to know about music in order to use it to help you in your weight loss goals?

1. Music, when played during meal times, can enhance appetite. A study has been done on the types of music and their effect on the way people eat: fast music tends to lead people to hoard down their food, while slower, relaxing music tends to lead to longer, drawn-out times of bonding over several courses. This might give you an idea of your choice of eating out places when you are on a diet: do you go for the food court, or the pricier, but more relaxing, atmosphere of a fine restaurant?

2. Music may be an option for relaxation. Many people, especially women, turn to food during an emotional low. This is called emotional eating. Learning to use music to counter these negative emotions, instead of compound them, may actually help curb the frequency of your emotional eating incidences. For example, after a break-up, the now single person tends to find the most heart-wrenching songs to play over and over on the CD player, while wolfing down pint after pint of Rocky Road ice cream. Is it possible that playing a happier tune, say, an inspiring song, can protect against your desire to buy another plate of pizza?

3. For those who play a musical instrument, music as an outlet further helps turn your attention away from food. Maybe you used to play a lot when you were younger. Is it possibly a good time to recapture the hobby you once enjoyed so much? Perhaps you had dreams of becoming a great musician, but because of the call of reality, you’ve set your old violin or guitar or keyboard aside. But deep down, you know that you love the way music makes you feel, even only as you express yourself and play for nobody but yourself. If so, brush the dust off your old guitar case! How does this have anything to do with being on a diet, you ask? It can actually help cut down on your time in front of the TV, where you tend to munch on chips and other fatty food! The fun thing about music when you are on a diet is that you typically cannot eat while playing it; the same goes for people who love to sing, as you really cannot do music and gorge your face at the same time.

4. Sharing music with a group of people also enhances your connection with it. Hanging out with friends does not always mean a night out at the bars downing a whole tray of calorie-laden bottles of beer, or finishing an entire plate of pizza watching a football game. Why not get together for a jam session? More likely than not, some of your friends also have hidden interests in music, and jamming with your instruments allows you to bond socially as well as emotionally without sacrificing your waist line. Of course, there might be some snacks afterward, but the satisfaction that comes from playing well will likely help keep you from overeating.

Perhaps you’re thinking that the connection between music and weight loss actually seem a bit hazy to your diet plans. This is the beauty of knowing how it can actually help—or break—your diet. Try these ideas out and you will see that there are actually many other forces on the planet that can help you achieve your ideal weight, and they’re not just limited to food and exercise.

Protein Shake Myths and Misconceptions

Towards these recent years, protein shakes and other nutritional drinks have increasingly become favorite choices among people who want to lose weight quickly and safely. Just what is so attractive about these health drinks? Despite their high prices, what makes them so appealing for people?

First off, protein shakes are seen as a convenient way of boosting the nutritional consumption of athletes, particularly those working on their endurance, patients who have undergone weight loss surgery, those who are senior citizens, as well as patients with cancer or many other conditions. This is because these shakes help boost the levels of protein needed by that person undergoing certain medical procedures. The average person typically would not need that added boost, and might actually be harmful when taken for the long term.

So what’s wrong with the way that people perceive protein shakes? The following are common myths and misconceptions surrounding the fad that has crept up on us:

1. Taking in extra protein means more muscles, which translate to more calories burned. In terms of weight loss programs, it is viewed as a great way to increase protein intake without the added burden of fats and other weight-affecting calories from eating meat. For those who want to lose weight, substituting protein shakes for meat might seem to make them lose weight, but in that case, it is not an issue of the protein intake but rather a switch of the protein source. Some people actually are not aware of their actual intake of meats, and might write it off as protein shakes being more effective in turning their fats into muscles. What really happened might be that, with protein shakes, they wind up sticking to that particular serving instead of stuffing themselves with protein, and not to mention fats and sugars. But remember that proteins themselves are not the main contributor to muscle build-up, as it should be tied up with the necessary exercise to break down muscles and build them up again over a period of time.

2. Protein shakes are sometimes misperceived as being needed for losing weight. Manufacturers sometimes have the tendency to claim that their product is the best way to lose weight, but doctors argue that no product is a magic solution for weight problems. The reason why people lose weight with them is that when they substitute a meal with them, they wind up consuming a fixed number of calories, instead of sometimes accidentally having an extra serving of roast beef. Bear in mind, though, that these shakes still contain calories, some higher than others, so using them alongside regular eating habits, or in higher numbers of servings than the recommended, will actually still cause you to gain weight.

3. Some advertising pushes protein shakes as a safe and wholesome way to lose weight. But do you know that these products are actually not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration? The absence of this regulation means that you have absolutely no guarantee of the safety of the product you are considering. Interestingly, in July 2010, Consumer Reports magazine conducted a laboratory test was of 15 brands of protein shakes, and found that all of them contained heavy metals in their ingredients, such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium. Also, the MayoClinic warns against consuming too much protein on a daily basis, as this puts unnecessary stress on the body to manage the byproducts of digesting protein. Among the risk for the added pressure is liver damage. Of course, this is more true for those who are not serious athletes anyway; bodybuilding athletes tend to be the exception, as in their case, the protein will naturally be used up for building up muscle instead of losing them as they work out regularly.

While there may be some parties that contest these warnings for protein shakes, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Of course, if you only intend to use protein shakes for a temporary weight loss program, it might be a good idea, as it can help you regulate your appetite over a period of time. The greater care is needed for those who have plans of using protein shakes for a long period of time, as most of the health warnings involve long-term and high quantities of use.

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