To Enjoy TV Without Eating
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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
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
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
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.