tv timeWelcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other and hopefully inspire you to make healthy changes. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.
Challenge # 21- Limit TV Time
This week we continued with another strategy from the successful weight loss maintainers. But more about that in the next paragraph. Here’s my weigh-in result for week 3, December 13th, from our baseline weight: Vicki -4.2#. Bill had his gall bladder taken out on the 10th by the skilled Dr. Kozar so he was up and down but ended the week -2.6#.

On to our challenge…..The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) tracks people who have lost at least 30 pounds and have kept it off for at least one year. Currently they are tracking over 10,000 people and much of what we know about weight loss maintenance comes from this organization. People have lost weight with different methods, but there are common characteristics for maintenance.

We decided to focus on the maintainers’ strategy of limiting TV time to no more than 10 hours for the week, including any streaming to our computers, laptops, etc. Did you know the average American watches anywhere from 24 to 34 hours of TV per week? We saved this challenge for the winter when we spend more time in the house. It would have been extremely easy for us to do this during the summer since we spend our evenings on the patio and not in the house. I didn’t think this would be difficult for me since I really don’t watch much TV except for football. Bill eats his breakfast or lunch in front of the TV, watches his favorite evening shows, and has his bum parked on the sofa on the weekends for golf and football.

I made a daily tracking chart for us. At the end of week I had just less than 6 hours of TV time with 3½ hours on Sunday when my Green Bay Packers’ game was televised. Bill, shockingly, ended up the same even though we didn’t watch the all the same programs. Neither of us watched any TV on three days.

Vicki’s Observations:
• Personally I was glad to have this challenge to reduce the amount of extraneous noise in the house. The TV is always on. Usually I have football on all day Sunday but I seldom sit and watch the games unless the Packers are playing. I am not a “couchgater.” I’m usually doing something and check the scores every so often.
• We listened to CDs we haven’t listened to for a long time.
• I sat in the living room by the Christmas tree and read. I never read in the living room since it also is Bill’s office but this was the perfect opportunity and I enjoyed the reading time.
• We ate dinner at the table every night. It was wonderful!

Bill’s Observations:
• I thought having to do this challenge during football season was going to be near impossible but it was not as tough as I thought. I watched the Packer game with Vicki and skipped the Forty Niners game.
• I also am thankful for my DVR machine. This way I could record a few shows that I like to watch and then skip all those commercials and speed through the parts that weren’t as interesting to me.
• It was really nice to have time to listen to some old CDs that we haven’t listened to in awhile.
• Most of the time I eat my dinner on the dinner tray in front of the TV. We sat in our dining room together and enjoyed our meals.
• This challenge make you realize how much time we all spend in front of the TV and it really is a waste of our precious time.
• This is a challenge that I want to do again, perhaps once per month.

So if the maintainers aren’t watching TV, what do you suppose they are doing? Well, for one they are active. 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day. Your challenge this week, should you choose to accept it, is to limit your TV watching, including streaming to your other electronic gadgets, to no more than 10 hours for the week. Be selective about what you watch rather than just being a couch potato. Plan some other activities to replace the boob tube, and make some of them movement activities.

For more information about NWCR visit

Next week Bill and I go our separate ways on challenges. He is recovering from gall bladder surgery and I take on a challenge he wasn’t too keen to do. The timing worked out great for both of us.
Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?

The road to success is always under construction.
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down.
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient.
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home.
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan.
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand.
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables.
Challenge #7 Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone.
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl.
Challenge # 9 Keep a food record.
Challenge # 10 Power down while eating.
Challenge # 11 Eating to reduce inflammation.
Challenge # 12 Eating to help our environment.
Challenge # 13 Switch it up.
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction.
Challenge # 15 Little bites.
Challenge # 16 Drink your water.
Challenge # 17 Count your chews.
Challenge # 18 The 100 Bite Diet.
Challenge # 19 Start your day right.

 Challenge # 20 Holiday moves.


Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, "Health and Lifestyle Program."
Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, “Health and Lifestyle Program.”