TV = Temptation Vision

I am having a problem with the TV.  Not the set… but the viewer.  Me.  When I watch I want to eat.  There is some deeply ingrained conditioned response that I need to break!

Once upon a time I thought I only had trouble with certain shows.  Like cooking shows.  Top Chef sent me running for a snack.  As does Chopped.  (I like the competition shows, not the how-to shows.  I have given up on learning how to cook but love the drama of chefs battling it out with knives.)  I thought it was seeing all that great food that was my trigger.  But now I realize that almost any time I park myself inactive in front of the boob tube I truly turn into a boob!

When I succumb to the TV-watching food temptation, I am not necessarily eating “bad” food, or what I would consider to be cheating on my diet, just eating when I am not hungry.  And if I am not eating I am thinking about (not) eating.  The set goes on, my mind follows right to the pantry.   Sigh.

So as a result I have been watching a lot less TV lately.  Which has resulted in a huge backlog of shows on our recorder.  Recently in cycling class two women started talking about Lost and I shushed them since my hubby and I are now two weeks behind!  And when I come across mention in blogs of The Biggest Loser, I immediately stop reading since who knows when we will catch up with that!  I know that watching less TV is not actually a bad thing, but I really do have some shows that I enjoy and I would like to have that mindless entertainment without guilt or adding calories.

I know I am not alone in this.  Studies have shown a clear correlation between watching more TV and weight.  But do the shows make others eat because of the power of suggestion or mindless nibbling, or is it more that watching means less physical activity to burn calories?  What would happen if we could only watch TV by powering our sets with a stationary bike or treadmill!

In the past I have sometimes found TV shows to be a helpful dieting tool.  If I wanted to eat, I told myself I could do that at the end of the show.  And sometimes I was no longer interested in food, but if I was, I had at least put off eating for a bit longer.  I got through the first several seasons of Grey’s Anatomy on DVD this way:)  But now that does not seem to be working as well and I am too aware that TV is a trigger for me.  So I spend a lot more time on the computer now than in front of that beautiful idiot box.  And I think I need to start recording more shows on TV that I can see from the exercise equipment than the TV near the kitchen.  Or take up knitting so my hands are occupied while I watch.  I don’t want to give up TV entirely, but I sure do want to give up the eating urge that comes with it!



Filed under dieting, influence of others, trends and/or technology

24 responses to “TV = Temptation Vision

  1. Kat

    Too funny, the suggestions I was going to make while reading are what you said at the end! I always ride my stationary bike while watching BL. I also think knitting, or something to keep you otherwise occupied would be very helpful.
    .-= Kat´s last blog ..HOPE =-.

  2. I know the feeling; sometimes I just feel like I need to be MUNCHING while watching tv, even if I’m not hungry. I like your idea of putting it off until the show ends. I have also been known to brush my teeth right after dinner so I won’t eat! And then sometimes, I just have to remove myself entirely from the kitchen/family room (they are right next to each other) to keep from sticking my head in the fridge!
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Thin for life (and other thoughts) =-.

  3. Ha…I love your comment on my blog! Thank you for the continual encouragement! By the way, my close friends are the ones asking all of those…STUPID questions. In my opinion…it’s there way of busying themselves as I get fit and they don’t 🙂 Anyways….I totally know what you mean about the dang television. Most of the time, I catch up on my shows while at the gym! I’ll be honest though…I’m not really a tv watcher. My husband, on the other hand, can’t live without it 🙂
    .-= Corletta Brown´s last blog ..UGH….another stinkin thing to gab about… 🙂 Phase 1 Day 13!!!! =-.

  4. I enjoy chef competition shows also (can’t cook worth a darn and don’t want to). Interestingly those shows don’t rev up my cravings but make me appreciate the beauty, artistry and science of food. (Richard Blaise just blows my mind! He even has a blog and website now.)

    We tend to watch everything on DVR, staying focused on the content, and blowing past the commercials that had been very stimulating to my food lobe 🙂 Whenever I do feel the urge to eat while watching, I grab a tiny bit of something from my list of “snackables” and some hot tea, but I try not to eat mindlessly – one of my many, many problems with food I’m trying to change.

  5. I came across your blog and I realized that I like to eat in front of the TV also. Matter of fact watching TV makes me hungry… Liked your blogg..

  6. Karen

    My latest trick is to drag out the laptop while I watch TV. Anything to keep my hands from putting food into my mouth!

  7. I am six weeks behind on Biggest Loser. I so know what you mean though about eating and watching t.v. Especially with Survivor. That was the show that my husband and I would ALWAYS have snacks prepared for! It’s been a hard habit to break, but we’ve been replacing the snacks with healthy alternatives and some nights I try to make sure we eat dinner first before tv time. Just a bad habit to break in general though!
    .-= Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog ..Running: a dreamland full of shit & my ideal utopia =-.

  8. Just stopping by from Lady Bloggers!

    I totally know where you’re coming from and have had a hard time NOT eating in front of the TV. I live alone now so I have learned to make dinner as soon as I come home from work and then I take it to watch in front of the TV. This obviously won’t work if you have a live in bf/hubby, but it allows me to multitask (sometimes I also check email during the commercials).

    When I lived with my ex, I used to lift 3 lb. weights if we were watching TV and I felt the urge to snack. Sometimes that helps, too! Best of luck and great blog 🙂

  9. Funny how different we can all be. I never crave food while watching cooking shows, but commercials will make me hungry – so the DVR is great. I hardly ever eat and watch TV. And I hardly ever watch TV without also doing something else, too. So I agree – find something that keeps your hands busy.

    If I am feeling hungry in the evening, I go upstairs to my room (my computer is on my desk in my kitchen and the kitchen is open to the family room) then I am away from the visual cues of food and I get over feeling hungry. So maybe watching TV in a different room would help?
    .-= Brightside Susan´s last blog ..WHERE DO THESE MEAN GIRLS COME FROM? =-.

  10. I LOVE to eat….all I do is think about food all day long………I know…….I have issues….it’s a wonder I don’t way 300 pounds! My favorite thing to do is ‘go out to eat’..I know, I know….that’s bad for me! I don’t eat in front of the TV too much, tho…….so I can’t blame it on that! ……….Oh, and I’m 3 episodes behind on ‘Lost’, too! (Thank God for DVR’s!)

    Thanks for visiting my site! :):)
    Thanks for the support!

  11. sunnydaze

    I definitely feel a strong urge to eat while I watch tv even if I’m not hungry. I think it is because I need to keep my hands busy or something, I can’t just SIT there. Thankfully, the days are getting longer and warmer and I can spend time outside walking or in my flower beds away from the TV and the food. There are a few choice shows that I do enjoy, though. I used to be addicted to Food Network; now not so much. These days it’s HGTV.

  12. Every now and then a commercial comes on that tempts me, but the actual act of watching doesn’t seem to bother me. I usually watch while I’m doing something else, or late at night when I’m already under the covers and it would be too much trouble to get up. 🙂
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Help for the Fashionably Clueless? =-.

  13. ALE


  14. It’s funny but just this past Monday while my husband and I were getting ready to watch 24 (it’s the only show I watch), he offered to make a plate of nachos to eat while we were watching! I said no thanks! So he said if I wasn’t having any then he wasn’t going to either! I think I did the right thing.
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..My safety net =-.

  15. I love the idea of having a treadmill-powered TV! That’s just genius!

    I definitely have a tendency to want to snack and/or eat more quickly when I watch TV—and when I read, which is too bad because I *really* love to read!
    .-= Hilary @ Tiny Glow´s last blog ..Asking for Help When Things Fall Apart =-.

  16. I love Tivo because I don’t have to watch the commercials for food. It’s very seldom that I’m just watching TV. Usually I’m knitting or exercising while watching TV and I’m in the basement far away from the kitchen.
    .-= Siobhan´s last blog ..another awesome trip =-.

  17. 🙂 Isn’t it funny how we all seem to fight so many of the same battles? I’ve barely watched TV since October because it’s so hard for me to watch without munching…. It’s amazing what decades of habit do to you, eh?
    .-= Heidi´s last blog ..Palm Sunday =-.

  18. It’s hard to change habits that are long-standing. Like movie theater snacking. But anything can be relearned. You can either allow vegetable or fruit snacking with TV or break the TV/food habit by only sitting at a table to eat, period. It can be brutal to have the connection, but we make new connections between various activities our whole lives; you can remake this one too!

  19. I always work out while watching TV….otherwise sport is too boring for me. So watching TV actually helps me to keep on doing my exercises…otherwise I would neglect it.
    .-= BlackEyedDog´s last blog ..The Asylum – My Story #3 =-.

  20. Karen

    Interesting that some of you have the same problem and for some it is just not an issue at all! I do think it is a conditioned response of some kind and I need to break that connection. Watching in my basement does help but I just don’t like it as much – even though the TV is bigger. But since everything we watch is recorded, it is really a function of where we did the recording. I love HGTV too! And did you know this is the last season for 24? (I don’t watch that one but DH does.)

    You had some great suggestions. Thanks!

  21. Knitting while watching TV sounds like a WONDERFUL idea! My 9 year old just learned how to knit and he’s already a pro. I think I need to ask him to teach me! 🙂

    We just got rid of cable as we’re trying to get out and be more active as an entire family. It’s truly working!

    .-= Renee´s last blog ..2005 Trip to Puerto Rico =-.

  22. TV is an overweight/emotional eater/etc. biggest enemy! I’ve been there. You sit down to watch…something goes off in your brain that you need to eat. It’s a trap. Less TV is good. It’s all about self control. You can watch your favorite show without one single snack if you are eating enough at each meal (every meal that means breakfast too!) and drinking water. Don’t forget to drink water! I wish you luch with this. I know it can be a battle for most people and me. But we deserve the best because we are worth it. That little snack won’t cure all life’s problems. It’s a temp fix. Once we all realize and accept that, we are on the other side 🙂 Sorry for writing so much. I’ve just been there and it’s great to talk about 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂
    .-=´s last blog ..Tip #69: Reach For The Sun Yoga =-.

  23. We have so much in common. I love Chopped. We DVR…Bobby’s throwdown, Chopped, Dinner Impossible, and all the cake competitions. Yes…I’m a Food Network addict and it makes me want to eat!!!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Sign Me Up!!! =-.

  24. Just found your blog — looking forward to following your journey — keep up the great work! 🙂 HAPPY EASTER!

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