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#1 of 16 Old 04-02-2008, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hate that I'm completely addicted to television, and I mean I watch a ton of TV. Sometimes I just turn it on without even realizing it like a robot or something. Almost every night during the week DH and I have a show or 3 we like to follow. But the thing is I hate it! I follow way too many shows that are just plain rubbish and I'm just really starting to notice how it is just such a waste of time. But at the same time I get all anxious at the thought of giving up shows. What gives???

Any advice you ladies have to help a TV addict like myself out would be amazing. Ultimately I'd like to watch a few shows a week and then be done with it... I'm tired of being a slave to the stupid picture box. I don't think going cold turkey will work for me or my DH. Is there anyone else out there that has been where I am and is able to be TV free or TV lite? How did you adjust?

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#2 of 16 Old 04-02-2008, 03:00 AM
 
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I feel like I could be you, and honestly cold turkey worked the best for me. It was hard though. When I first did it, I did it by cancelling our cable. I think I kind of thought I'd get minimal reception still of basic network channels, but all I got was static. I lasted about 2 weeks (feeling a mix of liberation and edginess) before running out to Best Buy and getting an antenna so I could watch regular network shows. At first I did good only watching once the kids were in bed but then I started leaving them to play or whatever while I tried to watch while I'd eat in my bedroom. I just couldn't leave it alone. The thing I liked least about that was that I wasn't doing *anything* else with my free time. It was tv or nothing (hmmm, sort of like the problem I have now with my computer use!). Also, it just wasn't worth it. Really, most of the programming is trash. So now I'm back to no antenna by choice and I'm happy for it. I do watch LOST online - one show that I think is worth watching. I'm not letting myself get into anything else even though there are other shows online that I'm sure I'd like. So I don't know if you'd be up for it but cold turkey was the best way for me. Now, if you have a lot of self control then you could set hard limits for yourself, like only these days and btwn these times or only these 3 shows each week - something to that effect. But I couldn't do it. Good luck!

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#3 of 16 Old 04-02-2008, 11:56 AM
 
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I agree that cold turkey is really the only way to do it. Unplug your set. Put in a box in the back of a closet. Get yourself some fun projects to do with all your new-found spare time: books, yarn for knitting, a new cookbook, whatever you like to do.

I, too, found myself watching a LOT of TV last year--every evening. At first it was "quality" shows, like CSI, but pretty soon I was watching every night. Then we moved last spring, and never got a cable connection (our teeny TV is in a closet in the basement, and we don't have an antenna).

For a few weeks, I did miss it. I would find myself wondering what was going on on "my" shows. I would think about how nice it would be to just veg out and be entertained without thinking. I watched a few episodes of CSI on my computer.

But after those initial few weeks...I don't miss it at ALL. The problem is, you have to train yourself to get used to a more active kind of entertainment. Although dh and I have always been voracious readers, I got used to watching TV at night b/c I was tired and it's more passive; but once my brain was trained to engage again, I found reading at night to be "easy" again, the way it was when I was a kid. Dh and I have NO regrets. We read more, we talk more, we sleep better, and we are very happy that our child is growing up without being surrounded by media images and noise. We were visiting my parents a few months ago, and I turned on the TV in our room; we actually found it simply unwatchable. Once you get used to more interesting entertainment, it just seems boring and pointless (we do watch movies now and again--once or twice a month--but to me that's something different).
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#4 of 16 Old 04-02-2008, 12:19 PM
 
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I've never been all that interested in TV but I did used to watch some. For us, becoming a very low media family went like this:

1- Making a rule that mom and dad never watch TV in front of the kids. It's only something that can happen after they are asleep. Which can rule out a lot because sometimes bedtimes are harder than others!

2- Choosing several or a few shows to follow and watching them in an alternative way. (I watch LOST and The Office personally.) So I download them (for free) and watch them on the computer when we feel like it or have time. That way I'm not beholden to the tv's schedule. And a computer screen feels less invasive.

3- Get rid of any cable. You shouldn't have to pay for TV. It's not worth it. If you want to watch something on cable, chances are you can get it from netflicks or the library if you have a decent library.

4- Get excited about when the kids themselves can watch tv. Make it a really fun time. And just don't allow them to at any other time. So for us, Friday nights are "movie nights" and we get a video from the library. It's a fun trip, there's anticipation. We pop popcorn and make smores and watch together. Also there's been times in our lives (not now though) when on Saturday afternoon when we clean we've allowed an hour of TV and it was also a special time, looked forward to. Any other time we say, "oh it would be fun to watch that, but now is [a school night, family fun day, whatever], we'll save that for movie night!" No negotiating, no sense of deprival, just it's not time for that right now.

So those are some of the steps that moved us to lower and lower media. The other day I was having a very emotional phone call and my kids wanted me and in an attempt to defer them I said, honey, go turn on channel 13 (pbs) and watch for a few minutes till I get off the phone. My kids said, "no mom, that's boring, its not movie night!, play with us." So obviously the low media thing has worked a little too well for us!

Good luck. There seriously is more time without it. And think of alternative things to do with your partner cause at first it can be weird to just sit there and stare at each other like, what do we do now? We clean up together, sometimes show each other clips of things on the internet, read books together, etc... But it's good to have a plan at first or turning the tv back on will be a default move.
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#5 of 16 Old 04-02-2008, 06:55 PM
 
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I went cold turkey too. Although I did overdose on it right before I went cold-turkey because I had three months of bed rest (6 weeks in hospital).

Dd's were born and while I was hospitalized we had also moved. So I overdosed on TV and then had a major life shake-up. Made cold-turkey easy for me.

Maybe if you incorporated some other kind of change at the same time you went TV-free, then you would have somewhere else to focus your energy rather than the lack of TV. Now maybe having twins and moving concurrently is a little drastic , but there a smaller change could work too.

Now while dd's are TV-Free, I am TV-Lite because dh still watches TV when they are sleeping and I will sometimes join him. It's only for a DVD of a show from Netflix (so 20 min) or The Amazing Race. He is often out of town or working late, so I would say I watch about 1 hour a week. If dh was willing to pitch the TV though, I would in a heartbeat
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#6 of 16 Old 04-02-2008, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the suggestions. I don't think my husband would ever let me unplug our television and put it away completely. That is just not going to happen... in his lifetime. I did drop a few hints that I would be ok with canceling our HBO, Showtime, Howard TV and all that extra stuff and just getting regular extended basic cable to see how it goes. He kind of scowled at me but at least I laid the seed, ya know.

I've decided to only watch the shows with him that we like, no surfing after we are done watching just out of boardem. And also I've been keeping the TV off when I'm on the computer or just cleaning and stuff. I have noticed how much I can really think without all that noise and it has only been one day!

We haven't been blessed with children yet but I love your ideas for helping them be tv free as well...

I'll keep you all posted of my/our progress. I hope I will be able to stick to these few rules for a few weeks and then move on to cutting out the amount of food network and discovery channel shows I watch! Gahhhh.... the food network is my worst enemy!

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#7 of 16 Old 04-02-2008, 10:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NYCVeg View Post
I agree that cold turkey is really the only way to do it.
ITA, only I'd totally remove the temptation from your house. Take it to a friend's house with strict instructions that you aren't to have it back for "x" amount of time. Or if you're really committed, just give it away.

The first week or two will be hardest, but soon you'll wonder how the heck you ever had time to watch it. And when you've been tv-free for awhile and you see it again (in a restaurant, at a friend's house) you'll be amazed at just how bad it really is.

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#8 of 16 Old 04-02-2008, 10:56 PM
 
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ITA, only I'd totally remove the temptation from your house. Take it to a friend's house with strict instructions that you aren't to have it back for "x" amount of time. Or if you're really committed, just give it away.

The first week or two will be hardest, but soon you'll wonder how the heck you ever had time to watch it. And when you've been tv-free for awhile and you see it again (in a restaurant, at a friend's house) you'll be amazed at just how bad it really is.
Yeah, the problem with TV is that it's DESIGNED to be addictive. It's really hard to just watch your few scheduled shows when the little black box is in front of you all the time. And, like any addictive thing, the moment you start to cut back, you start craving and rationalizing. Had a bad day? Well, just this once I'll use it to unwind. Got a cold? I'm feeling sick--I deserve a treat and I'm too tired to do anything else. If your dh can't go without, perhaps suggest that he move it to a space that is just his (a home office, basement, anyplace you don't tend to go)?
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#9 of 16 Old 04-08-2008, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Guess what????

I convinced DH to just get basic cable... it's a start right? Anyway when he called to try to get basic and internet only the cost was more than if we have the whole package deal! Can you believe that? 130 bucks for 20 channels and internet... that is just insane. So he ended up canceling Howard TV and Showtime extras we had. I'm so proud of him for giving it a go though. I'm still hopeful that one day we will be without cable all together.

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#10 of 16 Old 04-09-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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It IS a good start! Hooray!

I have to say- like the others- cold turkey is really the only thing that worked for us. You know- even if you go cold turkey for a while, it makes a big difference. If you can't see (or can't convince DH) to completely chuck the TV, what if you went cold turkey for a month? You could make yourselves feel better by recording the shows you "really like" and save them for after, but my guess is that once you've gotten over the "addiction", you won't care so much what happens on them. They will take on less significance. Cold turkey for a month will put a whole new perspective on things. I swear. And, since it has an "end time", it might be a little easier to try. You can think of it as an adventure.

To be honest, the first few weeks are hard. Things seem... too quiet. All those little voices that are easily surpressed by TV start coming around. All of a sudden you are faced with yourself and no where to hide your mind. I found myself almost confused as to how to me alone, or quiet. Almost looking at my husband like- who are we now? But this passes. Maybe 2 weeks or so? But by the end of the month, my guess is you'll be saying "How did we ever have time for that? I'd rather do.... instead." because it is no longer a "need". Cutting down is great. But without addressing the "addiction" part of it, it is really hard to stick with things. After 4 years tv-free, I feel like I could probably have a tv now without trouble, but I still think we'd have to keep on top of it. The thing is- now I don't want one .

My suggestions for those first weeks would be to plan fun things. Decide on a hobby you wanted to try or a reading goal and do that. Make being a couple part of your day. Try making the little things important- make dinner an experience instead of a defrosting with some fresh cooking or baking. I took a lot of walks. Buy the news paper and have a cup of tea on the porch. Play checkers. Fold laundry together. Go to the gym or walk/run/bike together. Look in your local paper- there may be community events that would be fun. Start a garden. Paint the bedroom. Buy a bread machine. Invite friends over for dessert and drinks. I swear- when we went tv-free, my husband and I both lost weight, started eating better, talked a whole lot more, the house was cleaner, we got more exercize, we were calmer, more well informed, laughed more...
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#11 of 16 Old 04-15-2008, 02:23 PM
 
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With the goals in your OP in mind, I think a TiVo is the way to go!

Once I got TiVo, I never, ever again just "flipped" the tv on to see what was on. I would turn it on and see a menu only of my very favorite shows. I set it only to record my very favorites. (Back then, 7 years ago, I remember I loved Law and Order, Seinfeld reruns I was too young for the first time around, and Friends.) So I would be aware that there was a new show available for me to watch, but there was no rush. I could watch it at any time. I didn't have to worry about missing my favorites, and I never had to watch commercials. An hour show only took 45 minutes to watch. I didn't get hooked on any new shows. The end result was watching a lot less television, and when I did watch, it was on my terms. I never said "no" to other plans due to a tv schedule. No more "rushing home" to catch a show. TV became a lot more enjoyable and less of an addiction. Once you have kids, it is a lot easier to have a "no tv until the kids are asleep" rule, because you never risk missing anything. And for me, anyway, I was so used to having my favorite shows available, I refused to settle for watching anything else. When there was nothing on the menu, I turned the tv off.

For me, TiVo worked really, really well to reduce tv watching by a LOT. (Like from a couple hours a day down to about 3 hours a week.) And it did it painlessly, in a way my dh could handle.

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#12 of 16 Old 04-15-2008, 03:32 PM
 
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That's a great start! I have to say, though, I agree that cold turkey is the best way. But still, you're making progress so congrats!
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#13 of 16 Old 04-15-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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For me, TiVo worked really, really well to reduce tv watching by a LOT. (Like from a couple hours a day down to about 3 hours a week.) And it did it painlessly, in a way my dh could handle.
It can go the other way, though. For me, TiVo significantly increased the amount of TV I watched, for two reasons. First, there was now ALWAYS something I liked to watch available to me; and, because I wasn't watching commercials (which was a big plus), I could always tell myself, "Well, watching an episode of Friends will really only take 20 minutes--that's just a little break!"
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#14 of 16 Old 04-15-2008, 06:29 PM
 
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Nothing to add, just support! I am always working on this.
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#15 of 16 Old 04-15-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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It can go the other way, though. For me, TiVo significantly increased the amount of TV I watched, for two reasons. First, there was now ALWAYS something I liked to watch available to me; and, because I wasn't watching commercials (which was a big plus), I could always tell myself, "Well, watching an episode of Friends will really only take 20 minutes--that's just a little break!"
I can imagine that. But it is not what happened to me. I didn't get TiVo so I could cut down, it just happened.

Hmmmm

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#16 of 16 Old 04-15-2008, 08:09 PM
 
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I didn't go "cold turkey", and I was a huge tv addict before, so it's possible! For me, it happened when I started to get serious about trying to make our house less...squalourific. I just didn't have the time to sit and watch, because I was so enthusiastic about this new project. Then, although my excitement about housecleaning eventually waned , I found that I didn't want to go back to doing "nothing" in the evenings. We do still have a tv, and my DH watches it a fair amount when he's home (I work days and he works nights, so our tv habits don't actually affect one another much), but I plain old don't WANT to watch it.

So my advice is to throw yourself into a new hobby or project, something that you CAN'T do while watching TV, and get really excited about it! You won't look back, I promise!
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