Nighttime Eating Caused by Television Commercials and What You Can Do About it
We hear about obesity and how the nation is becoming fatter by the minute yet the food industry places the blame squarely on you, despite their hundreds of millions of dollars spent advertising every year to entice us to buy more and more of their products. Children are especially vulnerable to the sales pitches from their favorite movie characters encouraging them to badger their parents, “Mommy, please! Why can’t I have …” exactly the result advertisers are paying to obtain. General Mills and McDonalds both know many over stressed adults will give in to the child’s demands just to “keep the peace.”
You can’t escape advertising. You can be just watching a show and suddenly you’re being assaulted with a big, juicy, something. Now your stomach starts gurgling, your mouth waters and the launch sequence for hunger has begun. Once the countdown starts nothing can stop the mad dash to the kitchen or out the door to get something to eat. This happens shortly after dinner night after night to millions of people and it’s exactly the response the ads are designed to achieve. We prove how effective the ads are with our food dollars every day.
Count the Food Ads
Keep a pad of paper near the TV and make a mark whenever you see commercials that encourage you to eat. You’ll notice certain ads trigger hunger more than others. What’s different about those ads? Do you mentally taste the food? Does it remind you of other occasions?
Is it what you see, what you hear or how you feel while watching the ad? Can you discover what it is about the ad that appeals to you? Notice ads that don’t appeal to you as well and see if you can determine what is different. This exercise can help you realize when you’re being influences and put a stop to it.
Evenings in front of the TV can be a rough time for dieters because of the incessant advertising for foods and drinks. Seeing delicious looking foods can create the “see food, want food” response until simply turning on the television can trigger hunger. What can you do in the face of all this advertising? Fight back. Here are seven ideas for how to overcome nighttime eating.
7 Tips to End Nighttime Eating
1. Mute the commercials or switch to another channel. Simply turning off the sound can help but even better is not seeing it as well. Remember, out of sight, out of mind.
2. Get Fit During Commercials. Use commercial breaks to do housework. You can clear a lot of clutter during the three or four minute breaks which come four times an hour.
3. Keep Your Hands Busy. Mute the set and keep your hands busy until your show comes back on with a project like knitting, reading or finishing that book you’ve been writing.
4. Breathe. Step outside and breath some fresh air for a few minutes.
5. Move. Exercise during the ads. Stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, do this for a full minute; great for the legs. Do floor exercises, bring a few dumbbells into the room or put your stationary bike or treadmill in with the TV.
6. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. Move to another seat in the room. Sometimes just getting up from your usual spot in the room (the couch or your favorite chair) and moving to another location can help.
7. Consider Thirst. Much of what we think is hunger is really thirst. Have a glass of water.
Be Willing to Experiment and You can Overcome the Allure of the Food Ads
The worst thing to do is simply trying to combat the growing desire to eat by sheer will alone. Once you believe you’re hungry, it’s difficult to change your mind. Advertising only works when we’re paying attention, either watching or listening. I’ve no quarrel with advertisers, I advertise my services too, but watching one hundred ads all featuring food after dinnertime is a bit much for anyone to endure. Stop giving your full attention to the advertisers and use those free minutes to get something else done.