If you are anything like me, I’m sure you’ve sat down on the couch at the end of the day to enjoy some mindless television and/or computer time to relax. I’ve caught my husband shaking his head at me as he watches me manage the IPad in one hand and the remote in the other…HA! Nowadays, with the rising popularity of the smartphones and tablets you can get these mindless distractions anywhere and anytime! If you are an otherwise active person this could be nothing more then a leisure activity that you enjoy, but, what if I told you that EATING while watching television and/or the computer may be causing you to eat more?
Let’s look at the mechanics of eating and feeling full…
The process of eating and feeling full is regulated by signals from our sensory systems (taste, touch, sight and smell), neuronal systems, and the digestive system. Each system must work systemically together to achieve the feeling of fullness and satiety. The distraction of television and/or computer while eating may cause all the systems to not signal properly resulting in the feeling of hunger despite eating! Just think about it…the last time you ate something in front of the television or computer, did you really taste the food? Tasting of the food is one of the sensory systems that must be achieved to feel full!
In addition, television and computer time may also influence eating through associative learning. If your lunch time habit is to sit at your desk and browse Facebook, check your emails or scroll through the internet you may be setting yourself up for habits associated with eating. Just imagine, if you always eat while watching television at night, overtime, you will learn to eat as the result of the habit rather then hunger.
Turning off the television or computer while eating will have a HUGE impact on your WHOLE FAMILY’s HEALTH! So make it a habit for you and your whole family to eat ALL food at the table free of distractions!
Who knows you could even lose a few pounds in the process!
With all that being said, is there something in all of this you are seeing for yourself and/or your family? I’d love to hear!!
Dana Snook, RDN, CIC