TV and Weight Gain: What To Do

You know how to eat “Pritikin-Style” so your clothes are getting looser and your mood is getting lighter too. Congratulations! You’re one of many guests who learned that healthy eating sheds the pounds, and improves your well-being.

But perhaps, like many members of the Pritikin family, you’re finding that progress at home isn’t quite as steady as it was when you spent time with us when you were busy all day, and got into bed, content and tired, earlier than you had in years.

At home, you resume your regular routine. Many people, after demanding days, come home, eat dinner, and collapse in front of the television till all hours.  The problem is that TV and weight gain go hand-in-hand.  Whether you’re catching up with the news or a viewing a favorite film, you might want to consider changing this habit to boost your weight loss.

One of the keys to successful life style change is changing behaviors that can undermine your efforts. Evenings in front of the TV are prime time candidates for this makeover for many reasons:

  • TV and snacking go together
  • TV commercials advertise “tempting” junk food
  • TV is sedentary
  • TV is often boring and boredom leads to eating
  • TV news is often upsetting, and stress and emotional eating go together
  • Before Pritikin, TV and food may have been a routine habit and TV cues you that it’s “time for a treat”.

Cut down on your TV time and break these associations. Just as wine with dinner can cause people to lapse and make bad food choices or eat too much, TV can be an environmental trigger that sabotages your weight loss.

I’m not suggesting you never watch your favorite shows or films again. But what psychologists do recommend is to avoid temptation until new healthy habits are established. So try these strategies:

  • Limit your viewing to one hour at a time. Don’t spend the evening on the couch! After an hour of TV time, do something else.
  • Get up after that hour and do something more active, even if it’s making a to do list for the next day. Or you can go online and visit the Pritikin website for inspiration and support.
  • Of course, if you have exercise equipment, a quick 10 minutes of aerobics would be great, or you could use your resistance bands.
  • Or how about a 15-minute meditation?
  • If you feel the urge to munch, chomp on some veggies or fruit, or even sugarless gum.
  • Remember that thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so why not make an anti-oxidant rich green tea or a calming herbal tea?
  • And if you’re tired, go to bed! People often eat at night when they really need sleep, not food.

Stay tuned to pritikin.com for more tips and more ways to change your mind, and change your behavior.

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