- “I’ve been on the go all day and TV time is my relaxation time.” Though it’s tempting to crash in front of the TV after a long day, spending too much time in front of a screen messes with your metabolism, turns your muscles to mush, and makes unhealthy, mindless snacking way too easy. It also doesn’t give your parasympathetic (“rest and relax”) nervous system a chance to kick in, which can inhibit your sleep later.
- “A few minutes of exercises isn’t going to do much — if I can’t make time for a real workout, why bother?” As we reviewed in the Week 1 Challenge, squeezing even a few five- to 10-minute activity sessions into your day can make a huge difference in your energy, mood and fitness levels over time.
- “I don’t watch TV.” Cool! Consider whether you could build these same suggestions into other sedentary times of day, say by building breaks into your computer or desk time.
- I am willing to mix up my usual screen routines in the interest of my health and fitness.
- I am willing to create a space (by moving furniture, putting down a mat, etc.) where I can easily go from watching TV to working out in a matter of seconds.
- I am willing to take a break from sedentary snacking and notice how I feel about that change.
- I am willing to explore new ways of relaxing, having fun and “rewarding myself” for working hard.
- “I just don’t feel like exercising on and off for an hour.”
If sporadic exercise segments aren’t working for you, try cutting your screen time by a half hour and doing a full workout instead. Head outside for an evening walk or jog; hit the gym and do some weightlifting. You can catch up on your favorite shows later.
- “I miss eating in front of the TV — it’s really comforting.”
A comfort that works against your health and fitness goals is not the kind of comfort you want to rely on. Ask yourself some questions: What is the feeling you’re reallylooking for, or, conversely, that you’re trying to avoid? Are you willing to feel uncomfortable — just for this week — in the interest of learning something about yourself, and possibly breaking a habit that isn’t doing good things for you? Could you engage a different kind of comfort (footbath, hot tea, pet massaging) instead? If you must snack, try limiting your snacks to raw veggies (cucumber wedges, bell-peper slices, mixed-green salads, etc.).
- “I record programs so I don’t have to sit through commercials.”
Set an alarm to remind you to pause every 15 minutes. Or, instead of zooming through all the commercials, allow every other commercial break to play so you can squeeze in some physical activity. It’s a win-win: You’re moving your whole body and still finishing the program in less time.
- “My family looks at me like I’m crazy or gets annoyed each time I get down to do pushups, sit-ups, etc.”
Tell them why you’re choosing to make fitness a priority, and invite them to join you. Take turns choosing the exercise or activity for each commercial break: Crank the tunes and dance around your family room; compete to see who can do the most sit-ups or jumping jacks. or choose to set your screen time aside this week and do something else instead. You might be surprised how much you enjoy your time away from the screen.