Embracing wellness: TV watching plus junk food are bad for your waistline

Kathryn Fuller
Kathryn Fuller

Are you are eating a burger, potato chips and drinking soda while you are watching a 1 hour TV program? If so, a 23-plus pounds weight gain could be sneaking up on you over the next year!

This article has some startling information about foods we eat, the party lifestyle (to include TV watching), physical activity and how these factors affect weight changes. Let’s look at the facts — hold onto your seat!

This study evaluated participants over a four-year period; this is great information!

According to the Nielsen media ratings company, the older we get, the more TV we are watching. What will one additional hour of TV watching per day mean to your weight?

  • Over a four-year period, it can add an additional 1/3 of a pound from one hour per day of extra TV alone.


If you are eating potato chips while you are watching TV during that extra one hour of TV watching, how does that change your weight?

  • Over four years, it adds another 1⅔ pounds Now you’ve added a total of 2 more pounds


Now you add a soda pop to wash down those chips while you are watching that additional 1 hour of TV watching, how does that change your weight?

  • Over the four-year period you will add another 1 pound, now you’ve added a total of 3 pounds

If you are eating a hamburger along with everything else while TV watching,

  • Over a four-year period you could gain close to 1 pound from the burgers.


If you were walking or doing some other exercise and you replaced it with sitting on the couch watching TV, you could gain 23 pounds in one year, meaning over a four-year period you could gain 100 pounds just by watching that extra 1 hour of TV per day! This is assuming you are at an average weight of 140 pounds

Bottom line is that over a four-year period you could gain 103⅔ pounds just by these activities!

Now let’s say your favorite one-hour television program is cancelled after four years. Instead of finding a new show to watch 1 hour per day while eating a burger with potato chips and drinking a soda, you decide to start walking that 1 hour a day instead. Or if you are like me you start watching your favorite program while working out on a stationary exercise bike in the living room.

  • You are burning 225 calories each day (based on an average weight of 140 lbs., the more you weigh, the more calories you burn, the more weight you lose in that hour). Given that it takes 3,500 caloric intake to equal 1 pound, you could burn 1 pound in 16 days or almost 2 lbs./month just by walking alone!
  • That equals a weight loss of over 23 pounds in 1 year! That’s 94 pounds in four years and without the junk food you can lose a total 100 pounds.


If you are having trouble losing extra weight or maybe you are at a plateau in your weight loss program, try evaluating what you eat. According to this study the number-one food that will help you lose weight is yogurt, followed by nuts, fruit, whole grains, and vegetables. If you aren’t going to give up an hour of TV, you can lose 3-4 pounds instead of gaining them just by replacing the burger, chips and soda with yogurt, nuts and fruit.

— By Kathryn Fuller, RN

Kathryn Fuller of Lynnwood is a life coach and has been a registered nurse for almost 30 years, currently employed at the University of Washington Medical Center.

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