09 Jan Cut TV Time Short
Research has discovered a link between excess TV use and the tendency towards eating unhealthy foods. A main reason may be the content of the majority of TV commercials today, as the food and drink industry has taken over screen. And what types of products are being advertised? Certainly not fruits and vegetables! Viewers jump from one processed food commercial to the next and become inclined to run out to the grocery store and stock up on garbage.
Also, as we watch TV we become unaware of the process of eating. We forget to chew, to put the fork down to rest, and most importantly, we forget to check when our stomachs feel full. Snacking gets out of control, and as we continue to watch commercials featuring hot pizza and tacos, we find ourselves constantly racing to the pantry to grab something to satisfy our fictitious hunger.
Here are some tips to limit TV time:
Link TV and Exercise
Though this isn’t a way to limit it, use TV as way to motivate yourself to exercise. Watch a show or movie on your iPad at the gym, or if you have a machine at home, invest in a TV set to go up on the wall. Time flies while watching an enjoyable program. Rather than running to the kitchen for snacks, you’ll be running for an endorphin boost and heart health!
Watch with Healthy Snacks
Before you turn on the remote, choose some healthful munchies to sit with. Cut some carrots and celery and portion out a healthy dip, like hummus. Bring over some grapes, apples, water bottles, tea, or whatever it is that will allow you to snack without consequences. For movie night, pop a bag of 100 calorie popcorn and give yourself half to start—this will trick the mind into thinking you’re getting seconds when really, it’s just one full portion size.
Eat Dinner at the Table
Aim for family dinners as often as possible. Whether it’s a family of five or just a couple living together, the quality time spent together will both prevent you from overeating on the couch and allow you to grow closer and reconnect after a long day of school and work. Mindfulness matters—be present with your company and engage in active conversation. Ground yourself in your chair, chew carefully, take breaks between bites to speak and listen: these steps will connect you with your body and surrounding.
Narrow down your repertoire to five TV shows. It’s healthy to look forward to those programs, as they provide relaxation and a good laugh. The real key is quality over quantity. Be present while viewing—give those programs your undivided attention. Chewing will distract you from the experience. Although tempting, try not to watch pilots for new TV shows until one of your 5 has been discontinued or is currently on a break between seasons.