Step 22 – Television Is Not Your Weight-loss Friend

BrainwashedWhat the experts say – Americans spend on average approximately 5 hours per day watching television, but this isn’t the full picture of our total “Sit Time” which is contributing to our more sedentary lifestyle.  Most of us work desk jobs, watch television, play video games, drive to and from work, and use tablet pc’s as part of our recreational downtime. (And this is after using a computer for 8 hours a day) Evidence is emerging that too much time sitting whether at work or at home increases the risk of becoming obese and may also contribute to chronic disease and early death. What is unclear is whether the act of sitting itself is the culprit or whether sitting is just a marker of other unhealthy aspects of our modern lifestyle (vis-a-vis television watching or other “screen time”) that is primarily responsible for the trends. It is however possible that other types of our modern sedentary lifestyles and behaviors promote over eating in different ways: reading e-mail and taking work home may increase stress (remember step 10?) which can lead to overeating, while listening to music may distract you from even noticing how much you are eating even when you’re not even hungry.  Matt Denos PhD. Is a biologist and writer interested in obesity treatment research and issues related to nutrition, weight-loss and medical diet programs.  He writes that there are at least 5 ways just watching TV can make you fat:

  1. The powerful brainwashing effects of food advertising
  2. Increased calorie consumption
  3. Unhealthy eating
  4. Metabolic rate slows down
  5. You tend to eat more at succeeding meals

Check out the rest of what the good doctor has to say here 

How I did it – I am a huuuge movie buff and can sit on a couch watching movies all day and well into the night.  Whenever I didn’t have any money or anything planned with the kids, it was big bowls of popcorn and either LoTR or Potter movie marathons.  We did it all wrong and I was the culprit teaching my children the terrible habits of mindless eating while lowering their resting metabolic rates and setting them up for possible chronic disease and/or early death. I love my children with my heart and soul, but after reading articles on “Sit Time” I realized I was contributing to the problem in a big way and damaging the health of people whom I loved. Some dad huh? My wife Rebecca had always sought to restrict screen time to a couple of hours a day and I thought that was extreme, now I was the one restricting screen time and trying to find low cost ways to get us out of the house even in the winter.  Winter was the hard part.  I’m from TX and I never got over moving to Chicago right before the blizzard of 1979.  So needless to say old man winter and I don’t exactly see eye to eye.  The kids didn’t seem to like it either.  It usually took them 30 minutes or less to come running back in the house.  So we decided to get everyone good winter clothing so that we could all stay active even when it was cold outside. The difference was night and day.  It’s amazing how warm you can be when you buy for function over looks. We were outside for hours and no one was running around holding their hands in agonizing pain like we did when we were kids. We were still together laughing, playing, being active and not allowing the couch to drive us all into an early grave.  I even went hunting for the first time since my dad took me when we were in TX. I knew we were finally doing it right when someone asked me about a popular TV show and I had no idea what they were talking about.