Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Want a Healthier Life? Turn OFF Television

Strong association: food and television.
Interesting observation I’ve recently made after the start of the kids' new school year.

I have made a point not to have the television on during the week, even after The Favorite Son (TFS) has gone to bed. (To be honest, there are a few exceptions like October baseball.) For my part, I’ve noticed that three things have happened. First, I go to sleep earlier, wake up earlier, and am better rested. Second, I’m not hungry later after dinner, so I don’t eat. Finally, I’d often have an adult beverage while noshing and watching game or a show.

Screen time, whether phone, computer, other handheld device, gaming system, or television, has always been an item of contention for me with TFS. While I have occasionally tested permitting TFS some screen time in the past, I’ve come to the conclusion screen time and homework, home responsibilities, and participation in family activities are almost completely mutually exclusive.

TFS has not only been more focused on completing his homework, but he is also finding other activities to occupy his time. He’s also getting more sleep, which makes both his life and my life easier.

Maybe it’s been the repetitive advertising dating back more than five decades of young, healthy, bright-eyed actors at the drive-in eating popcorn and drinking Coca-Cola or families parked in front of the television sitting behind TV trays and TV dinners, but screen time is very much associated with eating. Pavlov’s dog speaking, take away the association and the undesirable behavior is no longer top-of-mind.

Eating and watching is sooooooo much fun.

For me, not watching television on weekdays has begun to show some tangible benefits. In addition to getting better rest, I take in fewer (empty) calories and, often, find activities that burn a few. Recently, I undertook a somewhat involved and physically demanding repair project at my house when I would have otherwise eating tortilla chips and salsa and sipping a Glenlivet on the rocks.

Yeah, chips, salsa, and single malt scotch is how I roll, although not quite as often now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some push-back from TFS. He wants to watch television or have other screen time. Still, the resistance from TFS hasn’t been too bad. Yes, he asks. I just suggest other activities. Then, TFS often goes outside to shoot hoops, into the back yard and throws a baseball at the rebound net and shags the ground balls, or to his room to sort his sports cards.

TFS: dated, but relevant.

There’s always the weekend when TFS and I can watch the shows he’s recorded like The Walking Dead. Of course, considering the state of University of Missouri football, it isn't easy to get too excited about Tigers' kick-off on Saturday afternoon. We're not fair-weather fans, though. We still watch.

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