Today I was on a networking conference, virtual of course, and one of the ice breaker questions posed to us during break out sessions was, “What is your guilty pleasure?” Not surprisingly, since so many of us have been spending lots more time at home, many of us said binge-watching TV shows was a guilty pleasure.
Now, I’m not here to tell you to stop watching those Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime faves but this brings me to today’s topic.
I noticed that after dinner, if I’m watching TV, I find myself wanting some munchies and I may start to feel hungry, even when I know that technically, that’s not possible because I just ate a balanced dinner.
I thought I’d do some detective work and let me tell you what I found out one afternoon during a little experiment I conducted.
I watched a sitcom recommended by my sister who said it was funny (who doesn’t need a laugh these days, amirite?) and I have to admit, although I’m not typically a sitcom fan, I did enjoy the show. It was called Blackish and the acting, writing and topics were very well done.
I watched reruns, on a cable station, and watched two shows, for a total of one hour. In that ONE hour I made note of all the food and beverage ads I saw and it knocked my socks off. Here’s how it stacked up:
- Red Bull (hyper caffeinated “energy” drink): three times
- KitKat candy: twice
- Airheads candy: twice
- Cheesy bread
- Frappuccino: (mega sugar AND mega caffeine)
- Twizzlers licorice
- Dairy Queen: ice cream and fast junk food
- Freshly.com: prepared meals—ok, at least this looked like real food
- Starbucks Nitro cold brew super caffeinated coffee (I’m jittery just thinking of this)
- Frozen “pizza burger”: what the? I never even heard of this mess.
- Sonic fast food
I saw a total of 16 ads for mostly unhealthy food or drink in ONE HOUR. In the middle of the day. We know this junk food advertising barrage is ramped up as dinner hour approaches.
Is it any wonder we get the message that we should eat, eat, eat, even when we are not hungry? Even when we know this stuff is horrible for our health, blood sugar levels, energy, LIFE?
Ads are designed to be enticing and the repetition can wear away at your resolve until suddenly you’re in a trance dialing the phone and ordering some “pizza, pizza” delivery. Half hour later you’re face down in a greasy cheese pie with extra pepperoni, wondering what the heck happened.
I’m not saying not to enjoy TV at times but here are some tips I use to make sure I stay on track with my nutrition:
- Do NOT watch TV if you are hungry or haven’t eaten in several hours (no-brainer).
- Try to record shows and then fast-forward through commercials.
- If you’re watching live, turn off sound during commercials and go do something else. Get a drink of water. Take a bio break. Throw in a load of laundry. Text a friend. Do some stretches.
- Make sure you eat satisfying meals that include clean, lean protein, health fats and veggies galore. Every meal should include these building blocks. If you do this, hunger is much less likely and nutrition is balanced. Win-win!
- Do not eat in front of the TV, ever.
- Eat meals at a proper table, then when you are finished, be finished. Constant grazing or eating while doing other things, especially watching TV, is a recipe for ingesting WAY more food than you need and not even enjoying it. SHOOT, I like my food too much to waste it that way. I want to taste and experience every bite! Be a mindful eater and use all your senses to enjoy the meal. You’ll stay satisfied longer and only eat what you need.
Have you found that you eat more when watching TV? What tips and tricks do you do to curb excessive snacking? Leave a comment below and share with us all.