Television: The Secret to Weight Loss

Wisdom hides in unusual places yet few would expect to find it in mindless television programs. The majority of us spend so much time in front of “The Tube” that perhaps it is worth the effort to look beyond the obvious. Perhaps, you will find the secret to getting lean, strong and healthy.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of TV. Eight years ago, I had the opportunity to “cut my cable” and I never bothered to replace it. At its best, your television is a time waster and purveyor of mediocre entertainment. At its worst, it is an addictive villain that debilitates your body and numbs your mind. So, take aimÂ…. but don’t shoot yet.

By carefully observing the culprit that’s killing you, you can learn more than you can from all that annoying “good advice” you’ve been getting about how you need to lose weight and get in shape.

Through the creation of “couch potatoes”, television is recognized as one of the main contributors to our ever expanding waistlines and flabby physiques. If you look closely, you will see how TV does additional damage in less obvious ways.

Television is not only “anti-activity” but it undermines creativity, initiative and productivity. Understand how this happens and you will discover three principles which can lead you to an active and healthy lifestyle. All you need to do is to see how TV works to mold your waysÂ…. and then do the opposite:

1. TV IS A PASSIVE DIVERSION. It requires nothing of the body and precious little from your mind. Biologists will tell you that inactivity promotes atrophy; your muscles wither and the systems that support your body weaken in response to the lack of demand placed upon them. Your brain follows suit. Month after year after decade, the deterioration continues until finally, your machinery just grinds to a halt.

WHY NOT ENGAGE THE WORLD FULLY? Make active participation in life your mantra. Seek out just one new activity (or renew an old one) that you will enjoy and that keeps you on your feet. Shoot hoops, learn to juggle, volunteer to teach a class, try woodworking. Get interested in something and get involved. Physical and mental activity stimulates growth; choose growth and you choose to live.

2. TV IS VICARIOUS ENTERTAINMENT. In TV Land you can have it all; Heroic men, beautiful women and daring athletes live lives of excitement, glamour, mystery and romance. They will let you share their lives in your dreams. But next year you will still be in the same old rut, sitting in the same old recliner and probably be five pounds fatter.

WHY NOT PURSUE THE LIFE YOU DESIRE? Include in your mantra a commitment to make dreams a reality. List the things that you would most like to change about yourself and your situation. Pick one of the smaller items. Put down on paper exactly what you have to do to make this a reality. Get help if you need it. Always get support from those closest to you. Set a date to get started and go for it. Now, do the same thing with a health or fitness goal. Don’t let the imaginary characters on TV live your life for you!

3. TV IS MANIPULATIVE AND SEDUCTIVE. Programming is cleverly designed to get your attention and keep you glued to your seat so that advertisers can work their magic on your mind. Commercial and social messages, both subliminal and obvious, mold your thoughts and values. (This is particularly evident among children and the uneducated). Of course this doesn’t affect you! Well, try telling that to yourself when, bleary-eyed and at an hour past bedtime, you reach for that big bag of chips, wondering when this terrible “B movie” is going to get better.

WHY NOT FACE YOUR REALITY? Take a long hard look at yourself. Beware the seductive power of self-delusion. The entire world is trying to manipulate your thoughts and actions, so don’t do it to yourself. Review that list of changes you would like to make in your life. Why has it taken so long to get started. Why do you waste time watching television while life passes you by? Make this the turning point when you honestly evaluate your physical condition. Need some help? Get a physical. Need some more help? Get a qualified personal trainer and buy a session with a dietitian.

One of the prime excuses people make for not taking care of their health is that they don’t have the time. If you watch television in the evening and on week-ends, here is an unexpected bonus: All the time you need is right there in front of you. And it is encouraging to know that truly busy and successful people don’t watch much television!

Now that you’re about to get on the right path, please, go ahead and shoot the darn thing!