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TV-watching Plus Eating is a Bad Combo

23 October 2015

TV and Computer or Food?

Eating while watching your favourite show on TV or working in front of the computer may look acceptable nowadays and quite entertaining but research says it is bad for your health and one should be mindful.

Many people love to eat snacks in front of the TV, that’s why people we call ‘couch potato’ exist but this is not a good thing at all. Doctors are quick to add that watching TV or using the computer while eating are two activities that are not compatible and must not be done all at once.

Adults and children alike suffer a lot from this problem and are usually having difficulty concentrating on the food they eat. Watching TV can block your feeling of satisfaction all because the brain is focused on what you are watching instead on what you are eating.

While watching TV, the mind and body are relaxed and it distances us a bit from our daily routine and worries making one eat more without realising it. Eating and watching TV or using the computer goes hand in hand; whether we like it or not, when we do these things altogether the food that we usually eat are often either fatty or sugary.

People who watch TV a lot, often have the worst diets due to a sedentary lifestyle and less active routine. Pigging out can essentially add to weight gain and watching television can stimulate your appetite to eat more because food commercials convince your brain to eat more.

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In a study conducted on 44 men and women, researchers discovered that those persons eating lunch while doing something in front of a computer ended up eating more cookies 30 minutes later than those who ate lunch without any distractions.

Being distracted while eating caused this group of people to feel less full afterward compared with the computer free lunch group. This study suggests that distractions such as TV and computer may distort a person’s memory of mealtime and will have real effects on appetite like eating more food. Attentive eating must be done in order avoid weight gain and unhealthy eating.

Be Aware of What You Eat and Where You Eat

The best suggestion we can probably give you is to become mindful of what you eat, how you eat and where you eat. Everyday, it takes courage to form good habits like eating without distractions and if possible in peace where you can focus on the food that you eat.

Mindfulness allows you to appreciate the colour, smell, taste and textures of your meal. This also means avoiding distractions like watching TV, working in front of the computer, being on a phone or even reading a book, newspaper or magazine.

If you want to start making changes with the eating habits you’ve already formed, here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Have a timer and set it to 20 minutes to limit your time on the kitchen table. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to receive the message that you are already full. This will give you enough time to enjoy your meal without overeating; also remember to eat slowly, savour your meal, take small bites and chew it well.

2. Eat silently and in peace for five minutes and take time to reflect on important things in your life.

3. Try eating your meal using your non-dominant hand.

4. Use chopsticks to help lessen the amount of food you eat. It will be hard at first if you’re not a chopstick user but you will learn to enjoy using it in time.

5. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with the right amount of serving. If you’re hungry in between meals, eat healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables.

6. If you’re tempted to open the fridge and eat in the middle of the night, ask yourself if you’re really hungry. If not, divert your attention with a glass of water (sometimes we confuse thirst with hunger).

Pay close attention to what you eat and where you eat and make sure that every time you open your mouth you’d rather eat healthier foods to make mealtimes fun and enjoyable for you and your family.

*Disclaimer: the information in this article is intended purely as information and not health advice. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and one should always seek expert advice from their trusted health practitioner.


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