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Why Do I Live Without a TV?

Why Do I Live Without a TV?

A few months ago, I was sitting at my fiancée’s apartment, curled up on the couch with her watching How I Met Your Mother.  Inherently, there was nothing wrong with what we were doing.  It’s a very funny show and we really enjoyed watching it together.  The problem was we had spent the last three hours watching How I Met Your Mother.  In that entire time, I don’t believe we spoke ten words to each other.

There we sat, on the couch, holding each other, feeling as if we’re bonding, yet not really connecting at all.  I realized I knew more about what Barney Stinson was thinking than what my loving fiancée was thinking.

This thought hit me like a punch in the stomach:

How much time do we spend watching TV, and is this healthy for us?

Being a somewhat obsessive person, coupled with un-medicated ADHD (I was diagnosed as a child and my parents refused to put me on drugs, for which I am very grateful), I decided to research the effects of television on couples.

The results were not very good.

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Generally speaking, couples who watch lots TV tend to argue more often, have less sex, lead unhealthy lifestyles, and are less satisfied with life in general.

I began searching for positive effects of television on adults.  This was a surprisingly difficult impromptu research project.  There is very little on the internet explaining how TV helps adults.  There are a few articles around how educational programing can be good for children, but apparently after the kid learns to read, it’s better to get a book.

The last straw came from a Brian Tracy quote I stumbled upon on Youtube: “Poor people have big TVs and small libraries; rich people have small TVs and big libraries.”

I decided I would much rather fall into the latter category.

Speaking with my loving and oh-so-patient fiancée, I asked her if we could do an experiment: 60 days with no television.

She listened to my reasoning and asked for a small concession: 1 movie night a week.

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I did the math: we would be reducing our television time from roughly 25 hours a week to 2; seemed a reasonable deal, so I accepted her terms.

The first week was very tough for us.  We had gotten so used to vegging out on the couch when we were home, there seemed little for us to do.  To make matters worse, we were in the middle of the hot season in Antalya, Turkey, so traveling outside was out of the question.  We walk EVERYWHERE in Antalya and did not really like doing that in 107 degree weather.

A funny thing happened after about five days: we started talking more.  A lot more.  I learned more about her in the next 60 days than I had in the last 6 months, and I loved it.  She really is a fascinating person.  On top of that, we both spent more time doing other activities we enjoyed.  My reading time quadrupled and she spent a lot of time crafting.  I now have a favorite winter hat thanks to this rekindled hobby of hers.

After the 60 days were up, we decided we wanted to keep watching How I Met Your Mother.  We spent the next three days watching 2+ hours of that show.  The normal American watches 32 hours a week of television, so we were still low on the consumption, comparatively.  But, to me, I felt a sudden shift which I didn’t like.

I became moodier, less interested in listening to her, less interested in my reading, and generally lazier than I had been.  Similar reactions from her caused us to argue more and snap at each other over silly things.

This led us to permanently reinstate the “1 movie night a week” rule.

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That was 8 months ago, and we are never going back.

A quick run-down of the benefits we enjoy which have fully cemented this decision:

1)      We get along much better.  It’s rare that we argue and when we do, we listen to each other instead of trying to find distractions.

2)      Our cooking has gotten much better.  Now that we don’t rush through the cooking process in order to plop down on the couch, we take our time and enjoy each other’s company while cooking.

3)      Meal times are slow and peaceful.  We really take a moment to enjoy what we prepared together.

4)      Our view on the future is brighter.  Before, we didn’t talk too much about the future.  A lot of our conversations revolved around TV shows we enjoyed.  Now, we talk a lot about what will happen next in our lives, not what will happen next on Prison Break.

5)      My business is less stressful.  I don’t feel constantly strained for time, and when things pile up, it’s much easier for me to focus on the task at hand without seeking mindless entertainment.

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6)      We are more interesting people.  This seems almost counter-intuitive, because a big fear I had when I started this experiment was that I wouldn’t be able to talk to my friends about TV shows like I used to.  This has proved to be completely the opposite.  Although we don’t talk about TV, with the reading we do and the projects we are always working on, we have really great stories to talk to our friends about.  Not to mention, they always want us to come over and cook now :).

7)      Our social life has improved.  When you don’t have anything to watch on TV you find things to do.  We try to spend at least one night a week visiting friends for dinner.  It’s a great way to keep things fresh and build relationships.

8)      We are much more active.  We take walks all the time and love taking our dog to the park.  We did these things before the experiment, but now we do them much more often.

These are the benefits I can think of right now.  Really, there’s an overall sense of happiness I never knew we were missing before.  I don’t ever want to lose this feeling over a television again.

Now, it’s your turn: what do you think would happen if you gave up television for 60 days?

Please leave your comments below; I would love to hear your thoughts J.

Trent

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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