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10 Ways To Enjoy TV Without Eating

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

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If the weather and the TV have you psyched to sack out on the couch with a bag of chips, or worse, you may need to rethink your television viewing habits. Even when snacks are low in calories, TV watching results in distracted eating, which means you're likely to eat a lot more than one serving before you notice you're full.

While the most effective strategy for curbing excess snacking might be to avoid the tube altogether, we realize that may not be very realistic. The alternative? Try engaging in some of these activities while you watch to prevent uncontrollable snacking. Most of them work by keeping your hands busy, but some have bigger benefits:

1. Make a stitch in time Knitting or cross-stitch keeps your hands busy, so you're less likely to reach into a bag of chips. Pick up supplies at your local fabric store this weekend, so you'll be ready in time for Everybody Loves Raymond on Monday. If you don't know how to knit, consider taking a class to learn some basic skills. Check your local listings for ideas. Its never too early to start putting together holiday gifts.

2. Burn, baby, burn Perhaps the most beneficial thing you can do is drag the treadmill or stationary bike in front of that set, so you can workout while you watch. Even better than all those activities that simply keep your hands busy, you'll be adding calorie burning to your evening routine. Your favorite shows will make the time pass more quickly and you may find that you're able to keep up the exercise for a longer period of time. Or, go for a more portable alternative and jump rope or lift light hand weights while you watch.

3. Pay bills You have to write them out at some point -- better now than later. You'll be too busy with paper to eat. (Just be careful you don't get too distracted by Survivor to add or subtract accurately.)

4. Act like a kid again Your kids may be happy enough to play or color on their own while you watch your favorite shows, but they'll likely be even happier if you join them. Occupy yourself with blocks, board games or Barbie dolls and you'll feel like you've spent some quality time with them.

5. Pack it in If you have a TV in your kitchen, this is a good time to prepare for healthy eating the next day by packing your lunch. Some ideal options from your plan include any of the frozen entrees, a Roast Beef and Cheese Sandwich with salad and fruit; Peanut Butter and Jelly with a Yogurt Shake or Healthy Tuna on Pita with salad and fruit. Having the lunch all ready to grab on your way out the door in the morning significantly reduces your chances of straying from your meal plan.

6. Do some floor work In addition to cardio, you can engage in some strength training and stretching while you watch. For some basics, do crunches, push-ups, leg lifts and lunges during commercials.

7. Pick up the scraps Need a new hobby? Have you been stuffing your treasured photos into boxes? Organizing them into an album can be productive and preventive -- you wont want to get grease from chips or icing from cake on your work. Check your local bookstore for scrap-book materials.

8. Roll with it Instead of paying a percentage to use those coin-to-cash machines at your grocery store, roll the coins yourself. Before your show starts, gather all of the coin jars from around the house and empty out your purse or wallet. Then sit down and start rolling. You may be surprised at how quickly those nickels and dimes add up to real money. (Papers for rolling coins are free at your bank.)

9. Wash your hands of overeating Do the laundry, so you're sure to have clean workout clothes for the next day. You don't have to miss anything if you put the loads in during commercials. And all that folding of clean stuff will keep you away from the nibbles.

10. Put it in black and white Keep a food journal on the coffee table in front of you and write down each snack (and how much of it) you eat. The idea is to become more conscious of how much you're consuming. Eventually, just knowing you need to write it down will become a deterrent when you're debating another handful of low-fat chips.

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