One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

WEEKLY QUESTIONS

Honestly… How much TV do you watch?

27 Comments 2070 views

Weekly QuestionOK, I admit it. I’m a pop-culture-a-holic. I used to be a lot worse BEFORE the toddler but still I like keeping up with new music, I love movies, I read blogs, I have an iPod, and a MAC, advertising intrigues me and I LOVE LOVE LOVE discussing the latest TV shows around the water cooler.

Who doesn’t? It’s TV!

It’s the quintessential form of home entertainment, movies, comedies, dramas, educational shows, music, you name it and the magic box delivers it to your living room.

The problem? Well, it’s normally a passive activity (technically… it can also deliver workouts ;~)

I used to turn on the TV first thing in the morning and go to bed with the sleep timer on. The husband and I would eat with the television blaring behind us. Even if I was reading it was on. It was such a unconscious habit.

Then I had the toddler (Boy, he is AWFULLY responsible for making me who I am today.) I knew very early I didn’t want him to watch TV all the time. I didn’t want an infant in the bouncer being mesmerized by the glowing screen in the living room. I wanted him to be aware of his surroundings and watch human interactions, learn to listen and appreciate… silence.

So I turned it off.

That’s right, I got up and hit the power button. Seems like such a simple event but it was a huge leap towards making me a more productive, active human being.

I replaced the TV with music. Saturday morning I’d BLAST the iPod and dance with my baby. He’s sit on the floor interacting with his toys while listening to music and I, well I was moving around the house. MOVING. Getting things accomplished that have been piling up, making dinner, dancing around. I was no longer bound to the couch, unable to move until a commercial interruption.

It was FANTASTIC! Who knew!

Now, I’m not going to climb up my gigantic soapbox and declare that TV is evil and we should all ban it from our households. I still love TV, I can’t miss Lost, or the Next Food Network Star. I am waiting patiently for the The Closure to return and I was ecstatic when Dexter came to cable. I do watch TV.

What I don’t do it watch frivolous TV that is filler and a distraction to my day. I DO NOT turn on the television first thing in the morning and I play the radio every chance I get. And honestly, it’s amazing how much more I ‘move’ because of it.

So this week I ask, Honestly…

How much TV do you watch?

Really think about it. Are there times you can turn it off and do something else. I really believe there is something to the old adage of Move More and Eat Less. Not that weight loss and healthier living is that easy but every little bit helps.

I wonder how many calories I burned yesterday after dinner, dancing and getting chased around the living room by the toddler…

This would have never happened if we put the TV on instead of the iPod. It’s as simple as that.

Notes about this post…

  • I didn’t mean to be so preachy, just sharing my perspective.
  • I’ve been meaning to write a post about things to do instead of watching TV for like 3 weeks now but couldn’t seem to find the time while being engrossed by the food network.
  • MizFit’s recent post about childhood obesity inspired me to write this weeks question as I think turning the TV off is a very easy thing to do to help our kids.

OH! and if you are wondering, when I do the Math….

I still watch too much TV a day, normally between the hours of 7PM – Midnight. An hour with the toddler before his bed time then while working on my projects. I’d probably be much more productive if I shut it off, but it’s my way to work and relax at the same time. Plus I have to stay up on my pop culture!




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Discussion

There are 27 comments so far.

    coral

    June 24, 2008

    Before I met my husband, I almost never watched TV. I never paid for cable, just getting by with whatever snowy signal I got from coming out of the wall. Even then, the TV was rarely on.

    Then, I met the husband, who had the super extra extreme cable package, and I was wooed by all the extra shows and channels. Who knew TV was this entertaining?

    We have a DVR that we use to record shows since we both work evenings, and there are easily 20 shows in our queue. He still watches much more than I do, it’s always on some sports event during the day, and we usually spend a couple hours every evening catching up on our recorded shows.

    Not only do i feel lazy, I HATE paying so much for our cable bill! We spend $160/month for TV and Internet, and that’s without any extra movie channels! I love Dexter and Weeds, but we’ve decided to wait for them to come out on DVD.

    I proposed that we drop our package down to the bare minimum (local channels only), but still have a Tivo to catch some of our regular shows. It would save us $80 month! He’s having a hard time though, even saying that standard definition television hurts his eyes (we have a big plasma, and HD programming).

    But just think of how more active we’d be if we weren’t plopped in front of the tv! I’m still working on him, and I think I’m finally showing him that TV is not that necessary. Of course, I still need to watch my Grey’s anatomy and The Office and my trashy reality tv, and….

    hmm, maybe I do have a problem.

    Allison

    June 24, 2008

    Roni! I can’t believe you listen to Interpol! They are one of my favorite bands! Your video reminds me of how I run in circles around my living room chasing my beagle.

    Great reflective post about television. I also watched too much between 7 and midnight… :\

    profberta

    June 24, 2008

    I love tv. Actually, I love “quality tv”. I’m a child of the ’70s and I grew up watching re-runs of I Love Lucy afterschool. We couldn’t wait until Friday nights when new episodes of The Brady Brunch and The Partridge Family came on.

    I am addicted to Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Scrubs, Medium…a few too many to list. But, to me, these shows are so good that they are like mini-movies. I dvr most of them as I wake up early to go to work and can’t stay up to watch them. I watch them on the weekends, at night, after my kids are in bed. So I don’t think it’s detrimental to my life at all.

    Sometimes, when I’m mindlessly web-surfing, I’ll turn the tv on and watch What Not to Wear…like Roni, I like the noise in the background.

    Unfortunately, I think my kids watch too much tv. My husband and I work opposite hours and I’m a college professor and often have to bring work home. Best babysitter? The old boob tube. Keep them busy while I’m cooking dinner? Boob Tube. Will tv watching adversely affect my kids? The studies say “yes” but I know that I watched too much as a kid and I turned out okay.

    But I am overweight…oh, dear….

    Roni, love your website. I check it everyday. You’re an inspiration.

    Tamela

    June 24, 2008

    Counting the Disney Channel? LOL

    I’m a background noise person, so the days I work from home the tv’s on, but I’m more of a music person. Like you, the tv’s most often on in the evenings, especially during baseball season. And the boys watch disney and a few movies.

    Jzbell

    June 24, 2008

    Roni, you never cease to impress me with the great discussions you start here.

    So this is my thing:

    I’ve come to LOATHE television over the past few years. And while I know it may sound a lil snobbish, I am darn proud of that.

    It started out of necessity…

    I used to watch a ton of TV too, back when I had the monster cable package. But even then, as I flipped through channel after channel of movies that I’d already seen and reality shows that just made me wanna barf, I would occasionally wonder if there wasn’t something better I could be doing.

    When I moved into my first very own apartment, with no roommates to help foot the bill, I had no choice but to tighten the budget… and cable was the first thing to go. Then I could only get like 2 fuzzy channels even with bunnyears, so I just shut it off.

    Now it’s two years later, I have a roommate again, and we could probably afford to get cable. But the truth is, I really haven’t even missed it! Turns out, I DID (and still do!) have much better and more fun things to do with my time!! The cost of cable is outrageous anyway, so I just flat refuse to pay for it.

    I do sometimes like to pop in a DVD on the weekend, and I might watch an hour or two at Mom’s house while I’m visiting, but by and large, I don’t watch any TV at all.

    Generally people look at me like I’m completely insane when I tell them that though, so I must not be the norm. And, I definitely spend too much time staring at a computer screen, which is not any more physically active than the ol’ “boob tube!” ;-)

    Eve

    June 24, 2008

    Even though I can get sucked in, I do try to keep the tv off unless we are watching a show. It is never on for background (we only have 1 in the living room) and we don’t let our son (almost 4) watch it unless it is a video or we are with him. It does seem to free up a lot of time for other activites.

    I loved the video – we have family chase around the farm table in our kitchen and have family dance party, too!

    Fooled

    June 24, 2008

    Weelll, at home I really don’t watch that much, unless there is a baseball on. However, I spend most of my time in my job as an admin/receptionist in a waiting room. Which has a TV. For the clientele, of course. So I spend more time than I usually would in a room with the TV on. Except I’m usually working, and can’t pay attention to the TV too much. Unless there is a baseball game on. At work, though, the TV being on doesn’t really affect my sitting down at my desk or not. I’d be sitting at my desk whether the tv was on or not.

    I’ve also found that in the past year or so, I really have trouble sitting still for that long. There’s been a lot of things that have changed for me in that year, so I can’t say for sure if it has to do with the eating right and exercising thing, but either way, I tend to get bored after fifteen minutes or so of TV.

    mindy

    June 24, 2008

    I’m with coral, I wouldn’t know anything about pop culture if it wasn’t for my husband LOL He has also helped me develop and pretty acute sense of humor along with it.

    For that I am grateful but I am NOT grateful for the time the TV sucks up. I probably watch 3-4 hours a day although I usually have my computer out while I am watching. We DEFINITELY need to get our TIVO working so we can watch only those shows we most like to watch.

    My biggest problem is how I tune out when it is on. I must be a visual person because if the tv is on I get lulled into a comatose state staring at it and am unable to move. It’s so bad that I can’t turn it on in the morning or I will be late EVERY DAY.

    I would gladly turn the tv off all the time if it were up to me. I feel like there is so much more time in the day if I don’t watch and I am way more productive! That would never happen in our house but my husband and I might have to have a serious discussion about this once kids come around. I really don’t want my kids to be tv addicts.

    Amanda

    June 25, 2008

    I’m a college student, so I don’t have a TV. However, I do have Netflix, which allows you to view TV shows instantly online (I’m horrible with the hard copies of movies, etc…I can never remember to send them back). Often when I’m studying, I put a TV show on in the background. I’m with you, Roni — it’s a kinda bad habit, but it really helps with the stress. Plus, if we’re going to be sitting anyway, we might as well make the most of our passive time.

    Vickie

    June 25, 2008

    I turned it off for a YEAR – until I could trust my self to learn/practice moderation. I have the box thing now – so I watch NO commercials of any kind. And also watch no re-runs. If I have seen it before – I turn it off. HAving the DVR record things is wonderful – because then I watch on my schedule (and no commercials – ever).

    Michelle

    June 25, 2008

    Wow…what an appropriate post. I’m struggling with how much TV our 3 year old and 2 month old are ingesting. I’m trying as well to turn off the TV as mindless filler during the day, but we still watch to much thats for sure.

    It’s bad when your child equates things in the real world with things he sees on TV.

    Xenia

    June 25, 2008

    That looked like so much fun! When and if I ever become a mom, I want to make sure to do stuff like that with my family. Those are the moments you remember when you get older, not the times you sat and watched some mindless show.

    Thanks for setting such a great example. :)

    Anonymous

    June 25, 2008

    I have not had a TV in my home for about 3 years now, and my husband and I would never go back. Life is so precious and I’ll be d***ed if I’m going to waste it sitting in front of the TV! Our quality of life and our health have improved. We read, make music, listen to music, hike/walk/swim/canoe/bike ride, prepare and eat real food, play games, and TALK! I am also a strong believer that marital “relations” will improve if you take TV out of the equation, and it should absolutely be removed from the bedroom itself. I would encourage anyone who is looking for happiness and peace in their life to turn off the TV!

    Later Gator

    June 25, 2008

    Now that I don’t have cable, I’ve been watching a LOT less TV. That was actually one reason I didn’t want it–I would watch LOTS of TV and then the next thing I knew, it was 4:00 in the afternoon and I had been watching reruns of “ER” and “The Golden Girls” all day.

    Unfortunately, though, I watch a lot of news now.

    delle

    June 25, 2008

    I have very strong feelings about myself and tv; I stopped watching television in May of 2006.

    For the few years prior to that there were only three shows that I watched faithfully, and two of the series ended. That May I was only watching 1, but boy was I obsessed with it.

    The problem I had was even tho I was only interested in 1 show, I was still watching hours of tv a week. It was so automatic to turn it on and watch it for hours even while complaining that “there’s nothing on!” It really got to me how I would intend to just look around the few channels I had (also using rabbit ears) for a half hour, and the next thing I’d know 4 hours had gone by and I had done nothing productive. I hated how I was spending hours doing something that I felt was not only NOT benefiting me, but actually annoying me at times.

    So I turned it off, and I literally have not turned it on to watch a show or to channel surf one time since then. And let me tell you I will never go back.

    I get so much done, and the quiet in my life is unbelievable. If I want background sound I use music and audio books. Yes I follow NFL so when the season is on I turn the tv on Fox on Sunday, watch the game, then turn it off until next Sunday’s game. Sports are not scripted tho so I don’t qualify it as “tv”, BUT unfortunately I do have to be exposed to the commercials, and I am only now starting to understand just what a negative effect advertising has on us. Trust me if you stop watching tv for a year or even a few months, being exposed to commercials again is like eating rich dessert after cutting sugar out of your diet for half a year. You don’t notice the effect it has on you till you cut it out of your system! I never realised how many commercials are for food (most particularly really UNHEALTHY food!), and I end up having cravings for all manner of foods I’ve since cut out of my diet. There are also a lot of commercials for things that I can’t afford but are reminded that I want to buy. And the media definitely tells me I should be looking a certain way, something I don’t tend to tell myself otherwise, I’ve discovered. It has done nothing but convince me that I made the best decision for me possible by turning off the tv for good.

    Does that mean I think all tv is crap? Not at all, and I do still miss it sometimes. There are some really great shows that are worth watching, and I’ve become a huge fan of tv DVDs or anything that would allow me to watch the specific shows I want to see on my own time without advertising. It just makes me sad knowing there are so many people who have things they want to do in their day, but end up not doing them because they get sucked in by the tv. But I’m glad that things like digital recorders are making it easier for people to still watch their fav shows, only at a time that is convenient, allowing them to still do the activities they want to do, and to cut out the advertising!

    Kate

    June 25, 2008

    I haven’t owned a television for years. When we bought our condo, we got a great big wall-mounted flatscreen that I gave away to my sister because I didn’t see the point in having one.

    I have a couple of shows I will subscribe to via iTunes and I occasionally (once a month?) watch movies, but that’s it.

    I don’t miss it at all. For the cost of a cable subscription that included channels like BBC, I can buy an audio course from The Teaching Company and actually learn something with my time.

    Cintia EUA

    June 25, 2008

    Lately I’ve been waching TV for no more than 1:30 min a day. I agree with you. Having music on is much better, I feel like at the end of the day TV makes me more tired and I’m really not missing out that much when I simply turn it off and turn my life on.
    I recently found your blog and I love it, you are a source of encouragement. I appreciate your message!

    Anonymous

    June 25, 2008

    I do love TV! But…I often watch it while at the gym or doing laundry, etc. Yes, there are times that I lay mindlessly on the couch engrossed in TV, but I try not to do that with too much of my day.
    Also, I hate to use this as an excuse, but I work at a TV station, so it’s interesting to me to keep up on what the other stations are airing :)

    Lynn

    June 25, 2008

    blech. My husband tivos a lot of stuff and watches it. I generally go into the other room. There’s a few shows I like (they all come on the sci-fi channel) and that’s it. Even shows I like, I don’t always watch.

    My dad was a big TV watcher, and never paid attention to his family. I resented the heck out of it, and stopped watching TV entirely when I was 13. I didn’t start watching it again until much, much later.

    And even now, not so much. Computer screen time, yes. DVD movies, sometimes. TV…. blech.

    Theater is life. Film is art. Television… is furniture.

    Jess' s Food Coma

    June 25, 2008

    I agree totally. I actually cancelled my cable and kept basic 20 channels to save money and also to get me off my butt.

    themarlatts

    June 25, 2008

    I’m not a huge fan of lots of TV time, but it makes me crazy that people get off on saying they don’t watch TV, but spend an equal amount of time with the computer or movies – I kind of think of it as all the same.

    My first son didn’t watch any TV till he turned 2, and then it was only on cause I was trying to keep him entertained while I breastfed my youngest for 30 minutes every 3 hours – its hard to do with a toddler hanging on you! Now I try to limit it as much as possible.

    Who's Your Audience

    June 25, 2008

    Yesterday I took the day off and can report that until my husband came home and flipped on the news, I watched ZERO TV! Three hours of writing, a couple of hours shopping, an hour sitting outside reading, 30 minutes of working out, and probably 30 minutes cooking. Production, I tell ya!

    Anonymous

    June 25, 2008

    When my children were very small, I read an article that the best thing I could do raise children that loved to read was to….TURN OFF THE TV. And so I did. This was not an easy task but I’m so glad I did. We occasionally watched TV (major sporting events like the World Series or Superbowl) but otherwise, it was off. Guess what? The kids barely missed it. I, however, had major withdrawal symptoms!

    We slowly re-introduced TV back into our lives about five years ago. Currently, we watch 3 shows: House, Lost and The Office. We do watch a lot of DVDs.

    My two oldest are now in college (UC Berkeley and Stanford) and the middle kid has actually thanked me for raising him in an environment where reading was encouraged.

    Anonymous

    June 25, 2008

    I used to watch a ton of TV, but then we had kids and I didn’t like my son watching certain shows–I became acutely aware of the words, and messages.

    Now we only have half dozen stations, the cheapest package that gets us the major networks, a hunting (the husband and boys are thrilled) and PBS. You know, when there is nothing on, we turn it off.

    I have also lost interest in most of the shows–I know its conservative and prudish, but I’m tired of watching sex, adultery, gossip and downright nastiness on TV. I love Extreme home makeover, and the original Law and order usually. Sometimes the shows are so real, I wonder if its not the news. If I want to watch something, I like for it to remove me from real life and some of those shows are more intense.

    I do miss cable for HGTV and what not to wear–I wanna be on that show!

    I have to chuckle every time the cable co. call to sell me the better pkg for x amount of dollars, they try to sell me on all the great features—I just laugh and tell them its not cheaper, I don’t want my kids exposed and i don’t want to sit there forever. They never seem to know what to say to that!

    Anonymous

    June 25, 2008

    I just think it’s so cute how Ryan drags that big blankie behind him…

    figsandolives

    June 27, 2008

    I have cut down on TV tremedously. I watch maybe 3 hrs/week. I have found that whenever i watch TV, my stomache starts growling.. Strange but True. I don’t know why.. it just does. So I stopped. I don’t miss it. I like being on the computer more.

    Amber

    January 2, 2009

    i watch t.v all day