We thought long and hard when considering whether or not to purchase cable or satellite TV after my husband returned from his first deployment. We had just moved on base and starting looking into the costs associated with cable, from set up fees to the high monthly dues. We discovered installing satellite was even more expensive because we were required to first have a contractor survey and mark our yard showing the approved utility areas, and then had to tack on the initial set up fees. All the set up fees combined were well over one hundred dollars, so we only purchased the internet through our local cable company.
For the past year and a half, my husband and I have been content in our cable-free home. We have an Xbox and have it connected to Xbox Live Online and Netflix; that’s it. We figured that most anything we want watch can be found online or on Netflix, so cable simply seemed like a huge waste of time and money.
We haven’t always been cable-free. The first three years we were together, I didn’t want cable because I thought it was a waste of time. Even though I didn’t want it, I ended up watching it the most. I spent a good portion of the first year of our marriage in front of the television, mindlessly channel surfing, when I should have been doing homework or picking up the house. I didn’t realize it then, but not only was my marriage suffering as a result, so was my waistline. During the last deployment I ditched the TV and the excess pounds, but I did not realize how much cable played a role in my weight gain until last weekend.
I packed my dog and car for an out of town trip for a long weekend. I was unfamiliar with the area, and I didn’t want to leave my dog in the hotel room longer than I had to, so I ended up spending my free time staying the room and watching TV with my dog. That’s when it hit me! After only a few hours of regular TV, I was craving pizza, hamburgers, onion rings and a whole slew of dessert type foods. No wonder it is so hard for us to get off the couch and ditch our poor eating habits! We sit and voluntarily allow companies to enchant us with their beautiful angles and colors, enticing even me, a vegetarian, to consider how delicious a cheeseburger might taste.
TV is making is us fat; it’s commonly accepted that viewing TV encourages inactivity, but it’s the overt messages of high-calorie, terrible food choices which makes it all the worse. I finally gave in Saturday night and ordered a pizza: extra sauce, no cheese, lots of veggies. Sure, it doesn’t sound like much of a pizza, but after two months of no pizza whatsoever, the fact that I couldn’t have cheese due to an allergy, didn’t even faze me. I ate the entire medium pizza before I could even change the channel. Yes, the pizza was delicious, but I spent the remainder of the weekend eating as healthy as possible and working out every chance I could to offset my food choices.
The sad truth is that not everyone works it off, or only indulges once in a great while. Growing up, we had pizza every Sunday and we still like to eat in front of the TV. Think about it: how often do you get up and grab that bag of chips, or order that pizza and you discover you aren’t even really hungry? I’ve realized cable sucks you in and encourages poor time management, but moreover it encourages you to eat high-calorie, low-nutrient density foods.
If we all turned off the TV for just one extra hour per night, it would make an amazing difference. All of a sudden, we would have more time to cook a homemade, well-balanced meal, and sit down at the table to enjoy it as a family together. Even though I grew up with that weekly pizza, some of my fondest memories are of sharing my mom’s enchiladas or lasagna together at the table without TV.
Think about it: Do you have cable? How often to you watch it? How often do you end up snacking without being hungry? How often do you find yourself neglecting your to-do list until “the next commercial break” or “after this show is over”? I know that I enjoyed watching cable for three nights on my trip, but I can’t even begin to express how happy I am to be back in my commercial-free home. Follow me at Firefly Health if you need a little motivation to make a new you.
Are you cable free in your home?