Fitness Fun

[Updated] Watching TV Leads to Weight Gain (Unless You Do This)

woman watching tvOnce there was a girl like you, who wanted to be thin,
But every night she’d sit at home; the couch would draw her in.
She’d tell herself that exercise was something she must do
But when she’d sit down on her couch, she’d lose her follow through.
Until one day she realized that they both could co-exist
There was a way to exercise where shows would not be missed
You see the girl learned something, that we want you all to see
It’s that exercise is possible even though you love TV!

If you’re anything like me you can totally relate to the girl in the story and you’ve probably given in to the call of the couch a time or two.

Sometimes you just need a break from reality and sitting in front of a screen can give you the perfect escape to forget about life for a while and just relax.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, unless you like having a stomach that’s softer than your couch cushions.

TV Time

According to the 2014 American Time Use Survey compiled by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans are spending a shocking amount of time in front of the TV. For the survey, approximately 11,600 random participants (age 15 and over) were interviewed to determine how they use their time. Nearly every participant (96 percent) reported spending time in a leisure activity like watching TV, socializing or exercising.

It probably won’t surprise you that of those three leisure activities, watching TV was the one that occupied the most time. The average time spent in front of the TV totaled 2.8 hours per day. That’s 19.6 hours a week, 78.4 hours a month, and 940.8 hours a year. That’s a part time job.

And let’s not forget, that’s just the average. Other reports put our numbers even higher. New York Daily News reports that the average American watches more than 5 hours a day.

It doesn’t matter which statistic you chose to focus on, the truth is that watching TV is making us fat faster than we can change the channel. There’s never been a more important place to be below average. Your weight depends on it.

Your life might even depend on it.

TV Time and Your Health

male couch potato

Watching TV is the ultimate veg-out. And we get it; it’s nice to escape for a little while, but it’s also important to know that your break from reality can cause a multitude of problems that are much harder to escape from than a bad season of your favorite show:

  • Health Risks-too much TV time has been linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Too Much TV Makes you Fat-it’s no secret that TV is a major distraction. It even leads to distracted eating, which, you guessed it, leads to weight gain.
  • Time Waster-it’s a safe bet to guess that you regularly wish for more hours in a day. It’s also a safe bet to guess that you waste some of those hours watching TV when you could be doing more productive things.
  • Sleep Stealer-how many times have you postponed your bedtime just to finish a show, or start a new season on Netflix? Probably too many to count. But that sleep you are missing is also causing you to gain weight.
  • Higher Mortality Rates-Has anyone every told you that that their new favorite show was “to die for?” Not to alarm you, but they were right. Too much TV time has been linked to an increased death risk

Taking Control of Your TV Time

Taking control of your TV time is about so much more than being in control of the remote. It’s about being in control of yourself.

You determine how much time you spend in front of the TV.

You determine when you turn the TV off.

And, it’s up to you to make the necessary changes that will make you lose weight and improve your health.

Lose Weight While Watching TV

woman watching tv while exercising

While it’s up to you to make the necessary changes, we are always here to help you on your path and give you the best advice to help you succeed. Here’s our favorite 8 suggestions to help you lose weight while you watch TV.

1. Make TV a Reward Instead of a Right-don’t get into the habit of thinking you deserve the downtime just because you’ve had a long day taking care of yourself, your kids, your job and your home. That’s just life, and TV isn’t going to make those things any easier, it’s just going to take more time away from them which will add more stress to your life.

Instead of using TV time as an escape, use it as a reward. Maybe it’s your reward you earn for exercising. Maybe it’s your reward you earn for meeting your daily diet goals. And, maybe it’s your reward for getting all your kids into bed without losing your temper.

Whatever it is, using it as a reward will help you manage your time better and will make you appreciate your screen time so much more.

2. Limit Screen Time-if TV is an absolute must-have for you, set a time limit on your daily viewing, and then stick to it! The best thing you could do is limit your TV time to the treadmill. If that’s not possible, even when using TV as a reward, try to spend a healthy amount of time watching and then make yourself move on.

3. DVR Only-it’s time to give up your days as a professional channel surfer and instead be purposeful with your TV time. If you have a favorite show, by all means, record it and watch it. But only watch what you’ve recorded and nothing else. That way you won’t get sucked into the TV trap.

4. Don’t Fast Forward-whether you’re sticking to pre-recorded shows or watching TV live, never skip the commercials. Instead, use them to your advantage. See how many air squats, sit ups, push ups or lunges you can get in at each commercial break. Make it a game and try to beat your previous attempts. You’ll be surprised at the energy it will give you. If you’re streaming shows, use the same strategy before you allow yourself to move on to the next episode.

5. Sip, Don’t Snack-That’s right. Skip the snacks and consider mastering your munchies with a beverage instead. But don’t reach for a soda. Instead give IdealBoost a try. You’ll love having its hunger-blocking, weight loss and fat blasting powers on your side.With a variety of flavors to chose from you won’t get bored.

IdealBoost Weight Loss Energy Drink

6. You are What you Eat– if you just have to have something to munch on while you watch TV, make sure to make appropriate food choices before you sit down on the sofa. Don’t watch on an empty stomach and make sure you stock up on IdealBars. They make the perfect TV snack. They taste great, are low calorie and have the hunger-blocking benefits of all IdealShape products.

7. Unplug an Hour Before Bed-sleep plays a huge role in weight loss and if you are stuck watching TV until the moment you turn off the lights, you’re not giving your brain enough down time to get ready for sleep.

8. Move your Hands-we know it sounds silly, but if you’re sitting still, you’re not burning any calories. If you’re moving, you’re at least burning something. Figure out a way you can keep yourself moving while still watching TV. Try painting your nails, take up knitting, or even practice your air guitar skills while watching TV. Whatever you do, do something,just keep your body moving during TV time.

It’s Up To You

Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the kind of change that matters. You have to decide what’s most important to you-weight loss or TV time? We’re not saying that you can’t have both, but if you want to drop the pounds, you’re going to have to change the way you watch TV. So, put down the remote and don’t be afraid to make a difference in your own life.

If you’re feeling the desire to workout, but still craving some screen time, give Trainer Lindsey’s 12 week YouTube workout series a try:



Becca Mathis

Becca Mathis

Writer and expert


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