Disconnect From These Devices to Drop Pounds

Man in glasses looking at computer

Technology can be an amazing asset on your health journey. It helps you count steps, log food, track sleep, and stay in touch with friends and family. But have you ever considered what all the lights on your electronic devices or the ring, ring, ring of your cellphone are doing to your nerves and your body?

It’s worth looking into: A large multi-country study found that the higher the rate of ownership of computers and TVs in each country, the lower the citizens’ level of physical activity, the more hours spent sitting, the greater the number of calories consumed, and the higher the average body mass index (a measure of body fat based on height and weight).

All these reasons and more are why the fifth and final component of My 5 is to Unplug from all electronic devices for at least 60 consecutive minutes a day. You’ll be amazed at how your mind quiets, your stress recedes, and more free time opens up within your day.

Ditch These Devices For One Hour a Day

  • TV: Watching TV is associated with mindless overeating, poor food choices, and obesity. The more hours you watch, the heavier you’re likely to be. A study of more than 42,600 Canadian adults found that those who spent 21 more more hours a week watching TV were almost twice as likely to be obese as those who watched 5 or fewer hours a week.
  • Computer: Whether you’re using a computer to watch a movie, check social media, or write a paper, the implications are similar as they are when watching TV. That’s because both activities almost always involve sitting, often for hours at a time. When researchers surveyed 25,000 Japanese employees, they found that working at a computer for more than 5 hours a day significantly increased mental health and sleep-related problems. Another study of more than 2,600 Australian adults found that those who reported high computer or Internet leisure time use were one and a half time more likely to be overweight and slightly more than two and a half times more likely to be obese than participants who used neither.
  • Tablet: A tablet functions much in the same way a computer does, but a new risk is also emerging: media multitasking—the simultaneous use of a smartphone, computer, or tablet. Even though the use of tablets is not as widespread as laptop computers or smartphones, the simultaneous use of television and tablets skyrocketed from 11 percent to 44 percent in 2013 alone. And research shows that increased media multitasking may lead to higher rates of depression and social anxiety.
  • Cellphone: Researchers found that American college students who used their phones most frequently were less physically active and less cardiovascularly fit than those who used their phones less. In preliminary research, Israeli scientists have also found a possible link between a sluggish thyroid (which can cause weight gain) and exposure to electromagnetic fields similar to those emitted by cell phones.

The Best Time to Detach

There’s no one-size-fits-all prescription for when to schedule your electronics-free hour, but here are a few suggestions.Early morning. While the rest of your family is still sleeping or before anything else can grab your attention keep the electronics off and do something healthy for yourself. Take a walk, pray, meditate, or write in your journal—anything that enriches your life.

  • Early morning. While the rest of your family is still sleeping or before anything else can grab your attention keep the electronics off and do something healthy for yourself. Take a walk, pray, meditate, or write in your journal—anything that enriches your life.
  • During dinner. Only 40 percent of families eat together several times a week, despite the fact that research shows it can keep kids from becoming obese. Schedule more family dinners and make them off limits for electronics. Use the time to plan the meal, cook together, eat mindfully, and catch up on one another’s day.
  • Nighttime. One hour before bed is an ideal time to disconnect. That’s because TVs computers, smartphones, and tablets all emit blue light, which interferes with melatonin production and thus your sleep.

5 Pounds by Harley Pasternak


That’s it! The last step in My 5 plan. If you follow all five, you’ll be well on your way to losing five pounds after the first week. For more information, pick up a copy of my book, 5 Pounds: The Breakthrough 5-Day Plan to Jump-Start Rapid Weight Loss (And Never Gain it Back!) or connect with me Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I have been very happy with my Fitbit , and have bought Fitbit 2 which I have not installed yet, as I was always replacing my Fitbit band , so bought the metal one. I used an Australian Program in that I measured all the ingredients in my recipes and stuck to 1200 calories a day, losing 18 Kgms. I was able to eat my normal healthy diet but less, but I have been stuck for the last two months, so was interested to read Harley’s information, to see where I am going wrong. My problem using the American guidelines , was I did not know what size a Californian avocado was, for instance, and we have different names for fruit and vegetables, and different trademarks for processed good , of which I buy very little.
    I do not sleep enough as I wake up at bedtime, being a night owl , and do a lot of microscopic and computer work at that time as it is quiet, and I am on a roll, but my Fitbit tells me my sleep is 95% efficient. I am retired but my work involved much interrupted sleep
    I have been able to manage 10,000 steps, some of which counts kneading bread, grating vegetables and I use a stick , moving my hand once to three or four steps. I am elated when my Fitbit buzzes. My exercise physiologist encouraged me with weights etc and moving if watching TV with commercials.
    I follow most of what Harley says, but will try to incorporate his advise in those activities I do not do.
    I have really enjoyed using my Fitbit, as I am in my late 70’s , and since I lost weight , I have required less asthma medication, and find walking further not a hassle, as I once did.
    Thanks for an enjoyable old age.

  • My Mother purchased a FitBit for me, and instructed me to get 10,000 steps daily on it. When I am able to get that many steps in a day, I always feel happier and more physically fit. I greatly appreciated the wonderful means of instruction along the lines of picking up my weight loss achievement more speedily! I will CERTAINLY give it a try!!?

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