Editor’s Pick
APRIL 23, 2010 11:46AM

Walking away from TV

Rate: 15 Flag

Cable TV is killing me.  My family has gone without it since the late nineties and we were just fine.  Last year at about this time my husband insisted that we get it.  He just wanted more access to football or something like that.  Since he rarely asks for anything, I obliged and ordered cable the next day.  It feels like since that fateful day the family hasn’t moved from the couch but all that’s about to change.  I don’t think that I’ll have the cable turned off just yet, but summer is coming and there’s going to be a limit on how often that TV is on, including for my husband.

 Before we had that box sitting on top of our TV we were always outside doing something.  It’s possible to enjoy the weather almost year-round in southern Louisiana so we got to be pretty creative like making a homemade trampoline.  One of my husband’s jobs used to get shipments of huge inflatable bags that were made out of thick plastic and covered in sturdy brown paper.  He would bring them home and lay them out in the backyard.  One of the kids would sit on one side of the bag and wait for my husband to launch them in the air with the weight of his body.  I stood to the side with the camera in one hand and the first aid kit in the other.  The kids would fly into the air like a man being shot out of a cannon and land with a soft “poof” as they hit their mark on the other bag.  Now the only soft “poof” sound I hear is that of someone plunking down on the love seat as the TV is turned on.

 I don’t like to watch that much TV.  I like a few shows but if I miss them I’m not heartbroken.  Since my family loves the boob tube so much and I want to spend time with them, I’ve taken up knitting to feel like I’m at least being productive while I sit.  The only things I know how to make are blankets so I’ve knitted everyone in my family one.  Its kind of funny sitting with them knitting yet another blanket while they’re curled up on the couch in the blanket I knit them only to avoid watching TV.

 The TV is always on and it’s starting to drive me nuts.  Since my husband’s been out of work the TV has been on even more.  He gets up early and turns it on to the Disney Channel while the kids get ready for school.  It will stay on that channel until about noon since he’s started getting into some of the cartoons on that channel.  Granted, they seem to be pretty funny, but still.  After that he turns on The Unit, of which he’s recorded just about every episode ever made, and critiques the methods of combat the team uses.  My husband used to be a sniper in the Army and knows about combat.  I, on the other hand, am happy to be perfectly and blissfully ignorant about it.  I’m starting to learn too much about the ins and outs of how to kill a man.

 Since we’ve gotten cable I’ve gained weight.  There are a number of things I could blame it on, but I know it’s only my own fault for being so passive to my family and letting them get away with watching so much TV.  All of this is about to change.  I’ve joined a team walking competition at work and have to walk at least thirty-five miles a week.  I’ve tried to do diets and exercise before but have always failed.  With being on a team I feel like I am being held more accountable for my exercise plan.  Plus, an old supervisor is on another team and I have to beat him.  I’m holding an old grudge against him for something he said to me six years ago.  I’ll put the grudge down only after I kick his butt.

 The medical department at work gave each of the walking competitors a pedometer.  We’re expected to walk at least ten thousand steps a day and I find that in the week that I’ve been wearing the pedometer I’ve become almost obsessed with checking it.  I strap it to the waistband of my pajamas and don’t take it off until I’m just about ready for bed and put it on in the morning before I even reach for my glasses.  I need to have those steps to the coffee pot count.  I walk circles around the couch while I watch for the school bus in the mornings.  At work I’ve stopped taking the work truck around the plant site where I work and walk everywhere.  When I get home I run around the house and walk circles around my kids.  On my off days, I walk a route that I clocked with my car.  It’s about a four mile walk and with that and all of my other pacing I make my five miles easily and then some.  I’m thinking about getting everyone in my family a pedometer and giving them a challenge of five thousand steps a day.  That would equate to about two and a half miles, which would be a good starting point for them.  I’m bound and determined to turn my couch potatoes into long, lean, strong people. 

 Today I’m going through the house and am going to throw away all of the sugary things in the cupboard.  That stuff is calling my name and I know that I don’t need it.  I’ve been known to get up in the middle of the night and binge a little bit without the slimming benefit of purging afterwards.  This is just the beginning of my new health kick and I’m feeling pretty gung-ho.  I’ve started a regimen of vitamins and right now I’m sitting here with a pretty kickin’ niacin flush.  I’m beet red and warm all over.  As soon as my skin fades back to its normal pale color I’m going to hit the pavement and walk my butt off.  And then when my kids get home from school I’m going to take them and let them pick out which pedometer they want.  Let the challenge begin!  Who else wants to join me?

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Me!!! You sound motivated and ready to make changes! I've had all those same thoughts, so I hear ya.
It's just this kind of thing that I count on to help get me going. Stumbling across a post, or an article, or hearing it from someone. I NEED it. Thanks for the inspiration! Woohoo!
J Lynne. Let's do it! An os walking get in shape challenge. Any other takers??
I'm a walker and I love being outside but, I have to admit, there are a few shows on cable I would seriously miss. Plus, I'm hooked on the History Channel and I have a crush on the Naked Archaeologist -- although he really was naked, I'd probably never watch tv again.
This is great. I walk a few miles every day. I should get a pedometer and see what it comes out to. _r
Surprising that OS would headline this, they seem to be fascinated with the TMZ, infotainment, Ryan Seacrest world... All the things your idiot box tries to sell you on, haha.
I joined you. About five years ago. As with many, we have a big screen television, which isn't turned on until it's dark outside (and we don't have cable). Neither my husband nor myself grew up with tee-vee, and our basic philosophy is that the television is highly toxic. I found that it wasn't enough to just cut out the sugary snacks, just like that, so I replaced them with something-which was unsalted nuts. Eating breakfast each morning helps, too. Pre-packaged foods are for our emergency/disaster kit only!. Now, our walking has extended to our ability to pay for, as well as use, much less gasoline per month, too. I wish you all of the very best with your challenge!.
I'm getting rid of our dish as soon as hockey season is over. we didn't have it until moving to Colorado and away from my husband's favorite team. it is ridiculous how much money we spend on it and I think we'll be a lot more active when it's gone. We still have an old analog TV and will have to get one of those boxes though - still want to be able to catch news/weather.

We hike a lot so I'm up for the walking challenge, though my miles may be shorter than those at lower elevations since just about everything I do is uphill at least half the way. I have a pedometer somewhere, but I log my miles on mapmyhike.com (there is also a mapmyrun, btw).
Excellent plan! TV is the "Noisy killer!"
I can't justify paying for cable and ads. Shouldn't they pay me?
Did you know you can watch a bunch of games on the Canadian Broadcasting Channel?!! Check it out at : http://www.cbc.ca/

I didn't know that until I moved to about an hour south of Canada and got cable. Then I saw the advertisement. They broadcast a couple games a week, so you might not get your favorites, but you'll definitely get your fix right up until the final 4 teams.
Also check-out my blog on playoff beards...

@ Jess
I'm totally helpless right now, but we plan to get rid of the cable once I get back into walking and off the crutches. I feel like my eyeballs are being fried by my TV and computer screen.
Am I the only one that sees the irony in people sitting in front of their computers, complaining on an internet blog site, about how TV makes them too sedentary and unproductive?

Good luck with your fitness challenge.
Squid. Its just a crummy phase of your life. But when you're bettter we will go hiking.
Go for it...but please, don't blame cable. It's the only place to get decent TV programming anymore...
I gave up cable and any TV reception about three months ago and have yet to miss it.
I once had "economy" cable, basic broadcast channels with a few cable channels tossed in for good measure. Kept that for a few months. Realized how much time I was spending watching TV, even though what I was watching wasn't always that good. Dropped cable. Happier now.

Now, if I could just get a better handle on the amount of time I spend online... :~)
CRAP - let's walk away from SPAM! I've missed you like crazy!
Run, don't walk.

Actually, I don't think tv is evil. Let who wants to watch it watch. But am living proof you can live without it and never notice its absence. As far as all those nice animals shows on Discovery, they're fine. I do get tired of being talked to in the smarmy soothing machine-like intonations of a narrator who appears to assume I am an idiot, though. Have somehow managed to stay fascinated by nature and science without the tv. Wonder of wonder, you can get the information and even the images from other sources.

And usually much much detailed and sophisticated information. The information that can fit through a tv screen is pretty low-level, all told. Ever watched one of those Nova shows about say black holes? Graphics not as good as those on commercials, the soothing voice relaying the most elementary misconceptions . . .
We have always been a TV family, but in order to cut back I've decided to get rid of our cable(4 cable boxes and 4tv's in a 1100 sq ft house). My husband thinks I'm nuts and the kids think it's a punishment. The truth is I don't like how my family reacts to each other.
I stayed home to raise my girls, but had to go back to work when my son was 1 1/2 yrs. old and continued to work for about 5 yrs. I quit to stay home almost a year ago and I thought their behavior was because I wasn't around enough, but after a year they still don't respect each other as siblings. I would think it has to do with the shows(nick and disney) that portray sibilings in this love/ hate(sometimes to much hate)relationships that are meant for comic relief. And to have my 6yr old come in with a 1-800-number written in crayon for a toy he wants and say" that's only $9.95 plus shipping and handling" or how about when I find a family movie on a network that shows commerical I have to deal with chubby santa (male inhancement.....). I really think getting rid of tv is the answer. I read alot of post that say they only watch dvd's. Which netflix is much cheaper than cable. So the problems I am facing is how do I explain to the kids(14,12,7 & 38 :) )that this is not a punishment.
Now I did tell my husband he could keep the box and tv going in our room if he can get it to $30.00 a month, but honestly, he is the one who needs this the most. If he didn't have TV he would get antsy and get out of bed to fiddle with something.

On the subject of pedometer and kids the newest pokemon games come with a poke-walker that uses your step to create stronger characters that transfer back to the DS games.