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10 Signs You're Watching Too Much Television

Is Your TV Habit Interfering with Your Healthy Habits?

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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 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

Member Comments

  • About three years ago, I cancelled my cable TV and switched to watching Netflix. Five and a half months ago I cancelled the internet as well. Now the only thing to watch are DVDs.

    I've seen all of my DVDs a million times, and if I want something new, I have to drive to the video store (yes, we have the last standing video store in the world ;). )

    It surprising how little I miss TV when I don't have it. In fact, when I'm at the gym, I get annoyed watching TV, or should I say watching commercials, because commercials seem to be the only thing on. - 2/17/2015 3:51:40 PM
  • Funny, my tv is on all day, but I am usually not actually watching it. I should switch it off and put on some music. I start the day out with news and then it just kind of stays on. I bought a table for my computer that eventually became a little table for my meals, that had to stop after a month. I got a real table and I actually eat with my back to the tv, on or off. It is better this way, but I do need to turn the darn thing off more often. - 11/28/2014 1:19:13 PM
  • I don't watch television as much as I play video games. But I have a rule. If I'm playing a video game, I must also be working out. It can be walking in place, or something like that, but usually I'm on my pedal machine. So I'm on a more comfortable stationary bike the majority of the time I play video games (occasionally I realize I've stopped during boss fights, but I start again as soon as possible). If I'm watching TV, it's the same thing. I'm walking or pedaling or doing leg lifts. I just try to keep moving. - 5/1/2014 10:22:33 AM
  • I mostly really get into the tv when my hubby and granddaughter come home. - 11/3/2013 8:31:35 AM
  • 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
  • KAT2010
    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
  • PSALM22
    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

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