It can be shocking just how much time we spend in front of screens. Nowadays, many of us are required to use computers at work. Then we come home and unwind by watching television, reading articles on our laptops, or playing games on our tablets. Every free minute we get, we check our phones. We check our phones first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. It’s one of our chief forms of communication, and one we wholly depend on.
Technology isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It allows us to access endless knowledge and plays a major role in medical and social advancements. Nevertheless, we need to become conscious of its negative effects. From monopolizing our attention to affecting our health, we need to pay attention to how technology is changing us. Technology could be affecting your weight.
Read below to learn five ways in which technology can affect your weight and check out our tips for avoiding these weight gain triggers.
1. Poor Sleep Quality
Bright screens have a negative effect on sleep quality. The harsh glow from our phones and computers mimics daylight, tricking the brain into thinking it’s earlier than it actually is. This can cause difficulty falling asleep, or restless sleep.
To minimize the effect of technology on your sleep patterns, don’t surf the internet on your phone or tablet right before bed. Instead, turn off all screens about 40 minutes before bedtime and try reading a book or magazine. You can also listen to music, draw, write in a journal, and much more.
Destructive sleeping habits and patterns can add inches to your waistline. Here are 5 Ways your Sleep Schedule Could be Piling on the Pounds. Luckily, you can boost your sleep quality after hitting the pillow with a few minor lifestyle tweaks. Check out 5 Small Changes for Better Sleep.
2. Mindless Eating
Television is notorious for encouraging mindless eating. When we eat while watching TV, we don’t pay attention to portions. Our minds are distracted and it becomes easy to overeat.
Whenever possible, avoid eating in front of a screen. Keep distractions to a minimum. If you must eat in front of a screen, portion before you sit down. Separate what you intend to eat onto a plate or bowl and put away the rest of the food.
If you still find yourself reaching for the munchies, articles like 7 Ways to Tackle Mindless Eating and How to Stop Mindless Eating in 5 Steps will help you kick the habit to the curb!
3. Sedentary Lifestyle
If you work in front of a computer screen, then relax in front of the television, you might be spending more time than you realize sitting down.
Sedentary lifestyles are one of the leading causes of weight gain, obesity, and heart disease. The ADA recommends individuals walk about 10,000 steps per day, yet many Americans are barely reaching 2,000. Screen time is okay, especially if you work with technology, but make sure you also get active time. Watch television from the treadmill or schedule some off-screen time to go to parks or outdoor events.
In fact, moving more can (and will!) boost your mood, as a sedentary lifestyle can take a toll on your energy levels and happiness. Read more about the science behind the emotional effects of an inactive lifestyle with this insightful article: Sedentary Lifestyle Linked to Depression.
If you’re a big fan of TV, challenge yourself to take on this 7 Day No TV Challenge! Chances are, you’ll feel great afterwards and the challenge will help you ultimately cut down on screen time and boost your health.
4. Interrupted Workouts
How many of us are guilty of stopping the treadmill in order to reply to a text, read an email, or check social media? The moment we see a notification, we need to check it out and see what’s going on. The interruption can take us out of the workout zone. Before we know it, we’ve spent more time on our phones than we have sweating it out.
Make your workout time your personal time. If you can, leave the phone in your locker. Otherwise, many smartphones have Do Not Disturb features, which allow you to block most notifications. And if you’re on a time crunch, carving out even so much as 5 minutes from your day can allow you to squeeze in an effective workout. Check out this 5 Minute Fat Blasting Workout or 5 Minute Workout Challenge!
5. Prolonged Time Indoors
With technology to entertain us and keep our lives running smoothly, we have less of a need to go outdoors. From inside the comfort of our own home, we can order groceries, watch any movie or television show, talk to relatives, shop, run errands, and more, all while controlling the temperature and wearing our most comfortable clothes. But not going outdoors can have an impact on our waistline. This is because outdoor time usually involves some form of exercise. We walk, move, carry bags, and climb stairs. Even grocery shopping can up our calorie burn when we’re pushing heavy carts.
Find fun things to do outdoors. Whether this means shopping or spending a day at the park, find something to do out of the house that doesn’t involve eating.
How do you stay active in our tech-heavy world? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below about this article or anything else on the site.