We are spending more and more time in front of screens. They are here to stay and although not always a good influence, I wonder if we can take advantage and find any way that they can be of any help to lose weight?
Computers, tablets, smartphones, TV, cinema, video games screens, are now our day to day buddies. Whether for work or for pleasure, we already spend many hours in front of a screen, and it is not getting any better.
American teenagers spend around 9 hours daily in front of a screen on top of the school and homework hours. Adults are not far from that, since they spend 10 and a half hours in total in front of a computer.
Can screens affect our eating habits? And can they be of any help to lose weight?
Rebeca Andradas has been working as an intern for 32 Mondays for a few months, and she is going to graduate as a Nutritionist soon. She is one of the many moms with a teenager spending too many hours in front of the screens and it is something that really worries her. I asked her to write an article to try to find a positive use of screens to help to lose weight so she would not feel so negative about them. She did a great job, and you can read her findings in this article.
How screens affect our eating habits
Being 10 hours inactive in front of screen won’t help to manage your weight. On top of that, all the commercial exposure to highly manufactured food and drinks won’t improve your healthy grocery shopping habits. It may seem then than there is an easy solution and that limiting screen hours will give us straightforward results. But there are other less obvious aspects related to weight management and screen time that need to be considered. The most important: eating awareness in front of a screen.
Mindful eating is essential to be in control of your weight, and eating in front of a screen is not only the opposite but can make lose control of what you eat.
Instead of enjoying the food, paying attention to how much you are eating and consciously chewing the correct amount, you are paying attention to the movie or the news you are watching, to the email you are answering or the game you are playing. Often, instead of enjoying what you’re eating, you’re focusing on the stress of work or the excitement of what’s on the screen.
When that happens, you lose control of what you eat, and it is estimated that you eat 25 % more than when you eat mindfully. On top of that, since you eat faster, you don’t give time to your brain to generate the appropriate signals to let your body know that you already ate enough and that you should stop eating, so you keep looking for more food.
Another aspect you should be careful is the association of the type of food that you tend to crave with the screen activity you are taking, not even being aware of it. For example, popcorn and ice-cream come instantly when watching a movie, and using a computer is usually associated with continually consuming snacks. When you keep repeating an action it becomes a habit; in this case of overeating not the best food options in front of a screen, which added to the fact that those screen activities tend to be very sedentary, it becomes very easy to gain weight.
Tips to minimize your weight gain associated with the screen time
• Instead of having your lunch in front of your computer take the time to eat mindfully and go for a short walk after it.
• Look for leisure activities other than screens, especially the ones that require physical activity, like a sport, a hike or just a family walk.
• Turn off the screens while eating.
• Understand that when you eat in front of a screen not paying attention to what you are eating, the pleasure you are feeling is coming from the activity not the food.
• To break the habit of eating while in front of a screen, have water or a not sugary drink always available so you can have it instead of your food.
• Try to always eat mindfully to be aware of what and how much you are eating.
How can screens be of any help to lose weight?
Nowadays there are many programs online to teach you how to exercise and how to lose weight. You can use them to get fit while doing other activities and to finally learn what you really need to know to lose weight and keep it off for life. For examples, the Mayo Clinic has excellent fitness videos.
If you love screens and the opportunity that they give you to learn online at your own peace and when it’s convenient for you no matter where you are, I encourage you to check my online program.
I have specifically selected what you really need to know and kept aside all the misleading information that is making you confused. I have structured this information in an online course that is easy to understand, apply and keep for life.
And if you are not sure and you want to know a bit more, I encourage you to send me an email to email@example.com so we can set a time for a FREE health consultation personally with me to assess if you are the right fit for the program.
Over to You!
How Do You Use Screen as a Help to Lose Weight?
I'd love to hear from you!