How to Lose 20 Lbs, Gain 4 Hours, and Get More Friends

Internet ads often claim they can change your life with a click.  And it’s true – a click can change your life.  Just click “off” on your TV remote.

Why spend four hours a day getting fatter, lonelier, and duller?

I’m sure you only watch PBS on occasion. But the average American watches four hours a day.  Most people don’t even count the shows they view on their computer or phone to be officially watching TV. But it is.  And even if you’re just watching high-brow documentaries, you’re still likely to: eat more, drink more, and exercise a whole lot less.  According to the NIH, TV is a huge contributing factor to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Not good for the 40+ crowd.

You could lose weight and gain time if you stopped watching TV

Think of all things you could do if you stopped watching TV

What you could be doing instead of watching TV

While anything is better than watching TV, here is where you will get the biggest return:

  1. Exercise Your biggest excuse for not working out is not enough time, so start moving
  2. Catch up on sleep You’re probably sleep deprived from staying up late watching TV
  3. Catch up with friends When’s the last time you had a real conversation with a friend? Spend time with them instead of your imaginary friends on TV
  4. Mojo up your digital profile Add some mojo to your LinkedIn account, start a blog, get a gig
  5. What would Seth Godin do? The best-selling author and marketing guru never watches TV and has these suggestions

But my family would never give up TV

You may think you don’t really watch TV.  It’s your kids. Your spouse. There are five TVs in the house and no way to shut them all off.  Plus, everyone will just watch their shows online. Couple of questions:  Are you a parent or a servant? If the former, you can shut it off.  As for your spouse, I am sure you can convince him or her there’s something more fun to do than merely watch other people with great love lives.

Alternatives to TV cold turkey

I have a friend who made the front page of her local paper because she would not allow her children to watch TV.  Mothers would glare at her at the park. Her kids are bright, athletic teens now and she lets them watch some TV. But only if they are folding clothes or watching a movie together as a family.  Some other alternatives to going completely TV-free:

  1. Get rid of cable and keep just one TV in the house so you can still watch DVDs (occasionally)
  2. Make weekdays TV-free times
  3. Only allow yourself to watch TV while you are on a treadmill or doing some type of workout

Mojo Moves

  • Make your home and computers TV-free for a week
  • Use the free time exercising and catching up with friends
  • See how long you can go TV-free

Got some other suggestions for how to watch less TV?  Add to the discussion below.

Photo courtesy flickr grant neufeld

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  • S.K. Whang

    I got rid of cable TV three months ago and was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t that hard to do. Ditto for my three teenage boys.

  • S.K. Whang

    I mean my boys didn’t find it hard, either. Not that I got rid of them, too!

  • Heidi Klum

    Have you ever thought of including more videos to your weblog posts to maintain the readers more entertained? I imply I simply learn through your entire article of yours and it was fairly good however since I’m more of a visual learner,I found that to be extra

    • Susan Kim

      Heidi– we definitely want to include videos for 2011. We’ll be starting out with just a few and then build up. Any subjects in particular you want to see?

      • Debola

        Ok Susan, I think (hope) she was being ironic about the videos…

  • Sandy Asirvatham

    We never watched that much TV, but nonetheless when we got rid of cable 3 years ago it was an instant boost to our household time and energy. There’s still plenty to watch if you really need a break from the rest of life–Netflix movies, sitcom or Daily Show episodes on the Internet, whatever. We steer our kid in the direction of Wii games more than watching shows, because at least that involves getting up and moving around!

    • Sandy Asirvatham

      Also, it’s so much fun having one less monthly bill!

  • Rhonda

    I haven’t lost twenty pounds yet, but anything could happen.

    I started my TV fast almost two weeks ago, and I’m amazed how easy it is. I haven’t gone cold turkey, since 1) I haven’t cut off the cable yet, 2) I and have no plans to get rid of the tv I bought a year ago, and 3) I will still keep the dvd/vcr.

    But it feels good, nonetheless.

  • Sondra Wright

    What a great post Susan! I even have a few friends who have gone so far as to take television out of their homes altogether. Rhonda’s idea of a TV fast is certainly a good way to start!

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