How to Kickstart Healthier Television Habits with a Smart Behavior Change
This week’s challenge involves reducing TV time – this includes linear or on-demand internet TV.
Those of you who watch television rarely may skip this challenge. But, for those of you who watch TV frequently, this habit change might be difficult, especially if you live alone.
Are you overweight and love watching TV or Netflix for several hours a day? I have good news for you. Reducing TV time and changing your television habits is likely to be your most effective key to a lean body. This is especially true if you are an emotional eater and your overeating is triggered by boredom.
I will show you a simple, yet effective 3-step habit change plan that will help you cut down your TV consumption and reduce weight gain.
TV time linked with obesity
The average American watches 5 hours of TV per day. Many people watch more than 7–8 hours. However, TV is one of the least healthy ways to spend your spare time. Numerous studies come to the same conclusion: time spent in front of TV or on the internet strongly correlates to body weight.
As time doing sedentary activities (watching TV, driving cars, working at desk jobs, using computers or playing video games) increases, weight and BMI also go up.
Weight loss programs that reduced media consumption led to a significant and sustainable weight loss. These programs were successful for several reasons:
Snacks and media consumption go hand in hand
Couch potatoes who click through TV channels or Google in their spare time decrease their daily activity level by participating in sedentary leisure activities. Additionally, during their screen time, they mindlessly munch away at snacks. For many people, snacks and media consumption always go together, leading to disastrous consequences. Nowadays, many people eat reflexively without realizing it.
TV commercials quicken the appetite
In addition, many TV commercials include food promotions. The majority of advertisements are for sweets, soda and snacks – which further quickens the appetite
Additionally, eating while reading newspapers or books leads to mindless eating. Reading the news with the morning coffee or in a coffee bar while sipping a cappuccino is okay – but not when you are enjoying cereal or pastries with your beverage.
Lack of time for healthier activities
The increased media consumption leads to a feeling of lacking time. Watching TV for 3 hours a day or more, means less time for healthy activities like for example preparing a new clean eating recipe.
Baby Action Steps for reducing TV time
For today’s “reducing tv time” challenge, try eating without media distractions, if you don’t already. Those of you who live alone fall into this trap more often by pairing screen time with meals.
Here comes a simple 3-step habit change that helps reducing media consumption
Desire to limit TV consumption is paramount. Let’s start with a tiny behavior that you want to automate: No TV when eating!
Step 1: Use lunch or dinner as trigger
Step 2: Develop the routine of eating your meal mindfully. Try really hard to do nothing else at the same time. No TV. No Internet. No magazine or book. It’s just you and your plate. Learn to eat until you are comfortably full but not stuffed.
Step 3: Your reward comes immediately: time seems to slow down which many people find relaxing and rejuvenating. Be present while eating. Pay attention to food textures, tastes, what you liked, what you didn’t. You will leave your meal feeling satisfied, rather than thinking, “hey, where did my meal go?”
Tell Me How The TV Challenge Is working For You
Tell me how this week's “Reducing TV time” Challenge is going. How do you feel when eating without watching TV? Can you enjoy the present moment?
…And please share it too if you never watch TV while eating a meal!
I recommend taking your media diet to the next level with the Advanced 3 Week Action Plan: How to stop watching TV
5 thoughts on “Reducing TV Time to Support Clean Eating in 3 Simple Steps”
I eat Dinner while watching TV (catching up on my DVR) – to me this is multitasking. Since I am gone up to 14 hours a day, if I did not combine this time I would just go to bed directly after Dinner and my DVR would be overflowing by the weekend! Where I can make some improvements is on the weekend – since I am so busy and gone during the week, I like to take the weekend to “relax” and enjoy the programs I missed during the week. 1) Carving out some time for non-TV related activities/family time; 2) Use time at commercials or in between programs to be productive – start a load of laundry, clean out a drawer/box/file that has been piling up, take out the trash, etc. Any other suggestions?
I understand your position if weight is not an issue for you…
If however you would like to improve your weight management it is much healthier to eat mindfully WITHOUT TV. Your approach to carve out some time for non-TV related activities on weekends is a great approach, check out my advanced section above on “How to stop TV” where you get many more smart tips for cutting TV time and replacing it with “healthier” activities.
I do eat and watch tv at night. Bad Habit. I did go to a workshop where they said to get up and walk or walk and kick or line walk sideways etc to move, easy to do at commercials.
Yes Pat, activity is key! Another option – this is something I do from time to time: Iron out into the living room. That way you maybe don’t miss your favorite show but you are also productive and active:)
I very rarely watch TV while eating.
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