If you’re like many Americans across the country, you likely enjoy coming home, kicking off your shoes, and enjoying a delicious meal while you catch a movie or continue binge-watching your favorite shows. While this is a good way to multitask so you can keep up with friends and coworkers about the latest trends in entertainment, it can unfortunately lead to overeating and weight gain.
That may seem strange, but it’s been researched and tested. Distracted eating can cause you to miss cues that might otherwise stop you from continuing to eat. For example, you may not notice how much food you’ve eaten off your plate because you’re engrossed in the current scene playing out on the screen. You may also not realize you’re feeling full–you’re more likely to continue eating until the show or movie you’re watching is over (while you might eat for a fraction of that time otherwise).
Not only can TV and movies cause you to eat more, you’re also not fully experiencing the food in the same way you would if you were focusing on your meal. So not only are you likely consuming more calories, you’re also not getting as much enjoyment out of your food.
Now that you’re aware that TV can cause you to overeat, here’s a few tips to help ward off potential weight gain:
Dissociate TV & Food
While eating a meal or snacking in front of your TV may seem enjoyable, you’re much better off taking a quick break from your couch to eat at your table. This way, you can pay attention to your food–which means you’re more likely to realize when you’ve eaten enough (and you can enjoy each bite more).
Plan Ahead & Set Limits
While trying to break the habit of eating in front of the TV can be tough, you don’t have to go cold turkey. You don’t even have to ever completely stop–who doesn’t enjoy snacking while catching up on shows or movies? However, snacking in front of the TV should be an infrequent treat and not the norm. With that in mind, plan ahead for what you’re going to eat, and when. Try to limit yourself to a specific serving size, and try not to eat too close to bed. Additionally, be sure to plan your evening so you stop watching TV early enough to allow you to get a full night’s sleep–not getting enough sleep can cause you to crave energy-dense, high-carbohydrate (and high-calorie) foods the next day, and can cause you to crave bigger portions of food (source: WebMD).
Be Particular & Discerning
Junk food can be delicious (we all have our guilty pleasures), but too much of it can be a bad thing. Try and find healthier alternatives to your favorite snacks–for example, instead of chips opt for a cup or two of popcorn (especially if you choose popcorn with healthier oils like olive oil or canola oil) to curb your appetite and satisfy your cravings. This goes hand in hand with planning ahead and setting limits–if you know what you’re going to eat (and how much) ahead of time, you’ll be much better off than blindly grabbing the first snack that catches your eye.
Keep Your Hands Busy
If you’re sitting in front of the TV with idle hands, you may be tempted to find something to do with them, such as–you might have guessed it–snacking. Instead, get in the habit of utilizing your hands in other ways, such as: squeezing a stress ball, doing puzzles, drawing or coloring, knitting or crocheting, etc. If you stay busy while watching TV, you’re less likely to think about and crave food.
If you’re looking for weight loss in Tyler, TX, Zana’s Place is here and ready to help! With our medically managed weight loss services, we can help create meal plans and a diet tailored to your unique needs, preferences, and lifestyle. We can even help you decide on what snacks to enjoy while watching TV (and when/how often) to help with weight loss or weight maintenance. Give us a call today or use our contact form to reach out–we’d love to hear from you and to help you with your weight loss and health-related needs!