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10 Signs You're Watching Too Much Television

Is Your TV Habit Interfering with Your Healthy Habits?

-- By Erin Whitehead, Health and Fitness Writer
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Many people claim that they don't have time to work out or cook healthy meals, yet they do find the time to park themselves in front of the TV. In fact, the average American watches 31.5 hours of TV per week, according to a 2010 Nielsen report. That's almost as many hours as most of us spend working! That's a lot of hours that could be spent shopping for and preparing nutritious meals, hitting the gym or even taking up a new hobby.

If you think your loyalty to your favorite TV shows could be interfering with your life—or your pursuit of health—then read on.

10 Signs You're Watching Too Much TV

1. You've turned into a hermit. If you can't commit to a night out with your friends because you don't want to miss the latest episode of your favorite show—or even one of your top 10 favorite shows—you may have an addiction to TV. Hanging out with friends can combat loneliness and put you in a better mood. Plus, time with buddies may even help you live longer, according to the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. So don't banish your buddies just because you love that show about people who fish with their bare hands. Set the DVR—or if you're old-fashioned, program the VCR—and head out with your friends. Even better: Go for a walk with your pals to get your heart pumping.

2. There's a dent in your couch where your butt usually goes. If your couch is looking increasingly lopsided, it might be a sign that you're spending too much time parked on its cushions. Don't just flip them over or switch your position to fix the problem—get off the couch! There are numerous exercises that can be done with little or no equipment while you watch TV—think jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, squats and lunges—or you can crank up your treadmill while you catch up on the latest episode of Real Housewives. Choose an hourlong show to get moving to, or if you'll be camped out for a while watching a marathon, get moving during commercial breaks instead of heading to the kitchen for that snack.

3. Your dog jumps onto the couch and looks at you with sad puppy dog eyes when you don't join her. If even your dog has gotten used to your nightly routine of snuggling on the couch while watching Animal Planet, it may be time to break away from the boob tube. Take your faithful furry friend for a long walk—you'll both benefit from the exercise and the change of scenery!

4. You find yourself ordering out so you have more time to veg. If you're calling for pizza delivery or stopping to get takeout on the way home so that you won't have to bother with groceries or cooking, it might be a red flag. Skip a show or two so you'll have time to make that healthy meal before getting comfortable for an evening in. Healthy cooking can even be quick and easy! Continued ›
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About The Author

Erin Whitehead Erin Whitehead
is a health and fitness enthusiast who co-founded the popular website FitBottomedGirls.com and co-wrote The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (available May 2014). Now busier than ever with two kids, she writes about healthy pregnancy and parenting at FitBottomedMamas.com.

Member Comments

  • I mostly really get into the tv when my hubby and granddaughter come home. - 11/3/2013 8:31:35 AM
  • JWOOLMAN
    Don't forget walk in place- very easy to do while watching tv. Also use the technology! I can watch a tv show live or recorded or streaming from a website or my cable provider anywhere within reach of my wifi on my iPhone. I always record anything I really want to watch, using an application on my Mac and a USB device which replaced my old tv. Then I can be interrupted any time and also can easily take a short minimeal break while watching a show and then just stop watching when I'm done, picking it up again on another break. TV doesn't have to make you eat mindlessly... But I do a lot of exercise while watching tv, again recordings let me do it for whatever time I want and whenever I want. I often watch while preparing food for now or later or doing other chores, the iPhone makes it easy. - 12/10/2012 6:33:11 AM
  • There is so much junk on tv, I definitely DON'T have a problem with tv. I can't stand reality tv. I know people who don't answer the phone when certain shows are on. Now do a study on the computer, and there is my problem. I spend way too much time on it. Spark People, email, facebook, scrabble, church groups, shopping. The good thing is that I am starting to realize it and trying to cut down my time on it. - 12/9/2012 6:50:09 PM
  • I don't watch TV, it's all rubbish, but the computer is my problem. Too many emails, ans I do all my shopping on line. i am trying to get this down to a minimum but can't seem to do it. Somebody please write a blog on this! - 12/8/2012 4:10:14 PM
  • Bwaaahhhhhahahaha
    ! I love the picture!!!! If I could get into that position, I would be at my goal!!! Let's keep in mind that computer time can be just as bad! - 12/8/2012 11:17:10 AM
  • This is me! It is terrible! Home from work ...quick eat..get my iPad, my sudoku book, my cell phone, my bills and debit cards and I run to the tv room before my husband can get my spot on the couch. Yikes! I do get my exercise ball ready to be my foot rest. Often don't even know what is on the tv. We have to get a life!!!
    - 12/8/2012 8:24:40 AM
  • You know you are addicted to the Tv when you take the time to watch the refund of the refund and you can say the dualities along with the characters!!! - 11/12/2012 10:38:01 PM
  • I don't have cable or dish and haven't for years. Occasionally I may watch a movie but for the most part I have better things to do. Having to sit and relax is not a necessity, it its a modern belief. I can relax quite well standing or doing something. - 11/12/2012 9:52:34 PM
  • I'm a radio gal - from a childhood without a TV set probably. Now my problem is this computer - neverending things to do on here!! - 11/12/2012 5:19:43 PM
  • While I do have the TV on more than most, I absolutely CANNOT sit still and watch. *lol* I've never been a sitting still kind of girl. I'm sewing (which involves more active motion than a non-sewer would ever realize, haha!), knitting, crocheting, doing needlepoint, stretching, balancing a checkbook, painting or drawing, doing crunches, lifting weights, riding the stationary bike, journaling, scrapbooking... Anyway, this is why dvr's were made. You tape what you want, you go out and have fun, you come watch later and skip the commercials. :) - 9/9/2012 1:48:37 PM
  • Who needs TV (as opposed to want)? For the third time in my life, I have now been several years without a TV in the house and I don't miss it.

    The only reason I'd considering purchasing a large flat screen is to make it easier to see exercise DVDs. - 7/21/2012 12:24:08 AM
  • Isn't all screen time bad?? I find I waste more time doing THIS than I ever did watching tv. - 7/18/2012 9:30:04 PM
  • LOL. This is why my dog is giving me the sad eyes. - 6/11/2012 6:24:40 AM
  • STEADFASTNSEE
    As to number 8; the correlation of TV and fast food--is that why they call it "saturated fats"??! - 5/20/2012 9:23:54 AM
  • ALICOTTER
    I turned off the TV in 2009. And have not turned it back on. I never had cable or Satellite. And now with the new HD I do not have access to local stations. And I don't miss it. Maybe once a month a rent or pay a DVD I own. But for the most part my TV set is very dust and rarely used. - 2/17/2012 2:09:35 PM