While making your New Year’s resolutions, you probably honed in on how you could improve your nutrition and fitness habits. What you might not have realized is how much both of those wellness goals are tied to your Netflix quality time.
Because not only will binge-watching Making a Murderer seriously limit your human interaction as you plow through episode after episode, but it also affects how you eat, NPR reports.
Research continues to explore the relationship between watching TV and our waistlines. The overarching conclusion: More time in front of the screen makes you more likely to gain weight, mostly because it promotes mindless snacking. When you’re hyper-focused on the crazy plot twists, you stop paying attention to what you’re consuming, making it very likely you’ll binge eat as you binge watch.
The most recent study to show how TV time ups unhealthy food consumption was published in the January 2015 issue of The International Journal of Communication and Health. The culprit here was conflicting nutritional messages—in the form of ads for unhealthy foods, nutritional studies reported on the news, and shows that send poor nutritional signals.
Past research from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab found that what you watch might matter, too: Action-packed shows and movies caused subjects to eat almost twice as much as those watching an even-keeled talk show; sad content prompted more snacking than upbeat content, like a rom-com. Another study showed dieters ate more when a program showed food-related content.
Whether you’re chowing down to quell an emotional response (ahem, Homeland finale, anyone?), or you’re simply just more distracted by a heart-pumping program, eating a whole bag of chips is probably not the most balanced choice (even if they are made of kale).
It doesn’t mean “Give up Netflix completely” has to be on your resolutions list after “Eat more superfoods.” Instead, how about separating meal time and TV time, and maybe employ some of these mindful eating tips. And yes, maybe stick with just a few episodes each day, broken up with a workout class, rather than planting yourself on the sofa for a full 24 hours. #Goals. —Amy Marturana
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