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Woman Choosing TV Dinner from Freezer

James Fell’s latest blog post lists 5 ways TV makes you fat. Most are the usual suspects, but visit the post to see his links and comments about them.

The thing I’d add to this is: don’t think your Internet habits are a lot better. Especially if you use more than one channel of social media, flipping between sites to check updates is an incredible time eater, and people often snack or keep caloric drinks nearby while online. (And when I say “people,” that includes me.)

What Can I Do About This?

Number 1: Less screen time.

OK, now that we’ve all stopped laughing….

— Move around more: you can do light exercises while watching television, and you can use a standing-height surface for surfing.

— Don’t bring packages of food to the screen: plate small servings in the kitchen. Then at least you have to get up and walk somewhere to eat more. Brian Wansink’s book, Mindless Eating, is full of great information about this kind of end run around your tendency to just eat whatever is in front of you.

— Use a timer to set intervals for breaks from the screen: This is a good idea with computers — getting up and walking around a bit is good for the eyes, wrists, mood, brain, and, well, everything. Apps can help remind you by dimming your screen.

Fell notes that “[u]nless you’re on a treadmill or doing jumping jacks while watching TV, you’re going to die sooner and fatter.” Combining TV with a workout really is an option, especially if you have an exercise machine at home. (I’ve made a deal with myself that I get to binge watch TV series only if I’m actively exercising, and it does take the edge off my Internet problem!)

Image from this article about the popularity of “ready meals” in Europe.

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