Got a hot date tonight with Jon Snow, your couch and a tub o’ popcorn? You might want to consider popping in an episode of something a little less – er, intense – at least if you’re trying to avoid packing on the pounds.
According to yet another report aimed at proving that TV makes us fat, we no longer only have to worry about how many hours we clock in front of the boob tube (or laptop or tablet), but we also have to consider what type of content we’re actually consuming. Turns out that watching something with lots of action actually makes us eat more (way more, like 98 per cent more) than watching something less distracting. And not only do we supposedly eat more while watching these shows, but we make poor life choices in terms of the food we’re actually eating (those in the study ate 65 per cent more calories).
Before you go posting your weathered collection of 24 on Kijiji and resign yourself to a life of hate-watching The Bachelor, there are a couple of things to consider. The researchers in this study actually plopped down piles of M&Ms, cookies, carrots and grapes in front of the participants, automatically tempting them with a variety of snacks. At home, you can raid the fridge for healthier options or just abstain completely.
The other problem? For some reason, researchers felt the need to compare episodes of Charlie Rose with a screening of Michael Bay’s The Island. Not only is seeing Scarlett Johannsson in all her perfection apt to make many people eat their feelings, but a film screening almost always requires snacks. Watching Charlie Rose interview newsmakers for PBS? Not so much.
If you do find yourself overindulging during movie-like marathons of action-heavy series like Orphan Black or Sons of Anarchy, there are other simpler solutions:
ADD SOME FLAVOUR
Everyone knows that peckishness is often a sign of dehydration. Throw some frozen fruit or lemon slices in cold water or keep a batch of homemade iced herbal tea in the fridge for such occasions. Looking for something more cozy? Invest in some flavoured herbal-tea infusions instead. These days, you can get everything from Red Velvet Cake to Chocolate Orange in one calorie-free cup.
STRETCH IT OUT
You’ve heard about doing crunches or jumping jacks during commercial breaks, but getting your sweat on before bed isn’t always the most appealing option. If your couch has a permanent dent where you typically park your butt, try shifting to a stability ball and work in your core while you watch instead. Just looking to unwind? A yoga mat is the perfect place to stretch out the tension while watching the action unfold on your TV.
It’s all well and good if you resolve to eat healthy when you wake up, but if you know that come the end of the day you’re going to have that bedtime snack anyway, portion your snacks in calorie-smart containers ahead of time. Then, limit yourself to one and eat it mindfully while watching epic scenes of Red Wedding proportions or otherwise.