Why You Should Avoid Binge-Watching TV

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TV

We have done it more times than we’d like to admit. We tell ourselves we’re just going to watch one episode. We even say it—out loud—to, thinking that will make a difference. And yet, three episodes later, we’re still there, sucked in. Do we need to watch half a season in one sitting? Absolutely not. But it’s just so good, and we just. Can’t. Turn it off.

All that time with my rear firmly planted on the couch, however, does not do my body good—partly because I’m not moving it, but mostly because I’m likely stuffing snacks into it. Research has shown that too much television watching has a real effect on your weight. One larger study, which followed more than 50,000 middle-aged women for a number of years, showed that for every two hours spent in front of the TV, the women had more than a 20 percent higher chance of becoming obese. Other reasons you should avoid binge-watching TV? Research has suggested TV watching can slow your metabolism; it can also impact sleep, which messes with your hunger hormones. And the potential health implications go way beyond added pounds. Scientists have linked watching more than two hours of TV a day to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease; three hours or more a day may even double the risk of premature death.

Now, I’m not saying give up your favorite show; I know I’m not. But maybe we need to be a little more strategic in our TV watching. Set the TV to turn off after one episode, perhaps. Stock up on healthy snacks (like air-popped popcorn or almonds) and portion out one serving instead of eating straight from the bag or can. And if you feel especially ambitious, do a little exercise while you watch—lift some light weights, stretch or even walk in place.