Researchers have shown that people who watch TV for two or more hours per day are more likely to be overweight. Sitting on a couch does not burn a lot of calories. When your mind is preoccupied, you may be munching more than you realize, too.
If part of your plan for the new year is maintaining or losing weight, be aware of the energy equation. Consuming an additional 3,500 calories could result in a gain of one pound of body weight. Balancing extra calories with physical activity, however, allows you to maintain your weight.
If you were playing competitive football, you would burn about 612 calories per hour. If you are sitting on the couch being a spectator, you burn 68 calories per hour.
At a net input of 55 calories, you could have a cup of carrot sticks, a half-cup of grapes or one cup of oil-popped popcorn. By choosing one of these snacks per hour, you could be taking in fewer calories than you are burning while sitting watching TV.
On the other hand, if you like cheese puffs, be aware that one ounce has about 160 calories. By having one serving per hour, you would be consuming 92 calories more than you were burning while sitting on the couch.
You could be adding a layer of insulation to your body for the winter depending on how many handfuls you crunch. An extra 100 calories per day can result in a 10-pound weight gain in a year.
This winter, as we tuck ourselves in the cosiness of our living rooms and many people become TV watchers, consider these ways to keep your energy intake balanced by your energy output.
Drink plenty of water. Try alternating a caloric beverage (such as regular soda pop, beer or other beverage) with a glass of water.
Leave empty bottles, cans or cups in front of you so you can see how much has been consumed already.
Measure out a serving of the food into a bowl or on a plate instead of eating directly from the package.
Choose low-calorie snacks such as veggies and fruits.
Keep the remnants of foods, such as chicken wings, on a plate in front of you so you can see how much you have eaten. When the food is cleared away, you can lose track of how much you have had to eat or drink.
Get up during commercials and walk around your home or hop on the exercise equipment that may be in the room.
– Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, L. R. D., is a North Dakota State University
Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the
department of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.