Don’t Touch that Dial!

My initial plan for living without TV was to see how it went for three days (until weigh-in at TOPS).  I realized unplugging completely would be another case of Black or White/All or Nothing thinking, a pattern of mine that is usually unrealistic and breaks down fairly quickly.

Balance has always been elusive.  Perhaps being a Libra with bipolar disorder tips the scales (so to speak), and I overcompensate to aim for that center line.  Or perhaps with so much that is unmanageable in my life, I clutch at ways to take control.  Whatever powers may be in play, pathological or cosmic, I’ve learned this about myself and try to loosen my thinking and actions from their rigid, polar leanings.

The statistics for those three days didn’t really surprise me.  I took in 1000 calories less each day and ended up losing 4 pounds for the week.

I still went to my friends’ house on Wednesday night for our Criminal Minds date.  It was the two-hour season finale, and I watched closely as my desire to eat woke up toward the end of the first hour.  My thoughts kept sliding to what I could forage from my friends’ kitchen.  As the show continued, I started planning my attack on the Kwik Stop on the way home—Cheetos or Chips?  I watched and pushed against the compulsion, fell into the dream of the show, watched the desire rise, pushed against it.  This is what Ouspensky calls strengthening the Will as opposed to exercising will power.  Tomato, tomah-to…

So, now what?  TV is definitely a portal to my compulsive eating.  Do I use it as a tool or chain it up and toss it onto oblivion?  Can I hold the awareness it would take to work with it?  What about when the next bipolar episode arrives and I need a cheap, easy form of distraction?

I journaled about this for several hours and found no easy answers.  Of course.  If it was easy, someone would have written a book about it by now.  I think I’ll leave the TV off for now, not shun it, not cast it into the Fires of Hell.  If I need it, it will be there.  Along with a little notebook to record my Observations and help me hold awareness.  Maybe that will help me push against the compulsion when it rises.  Maybe not.

In the meantime, I have a lot of my own Programming to Watch.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sherry
    May 19, 2012 @ 08:16:13

    I love this posting. So glad you see that all or nothing has its drawbacks. And then I know how we are with Cheetos. The answer to that is buy a small bag when the urge strikes.


    • Sandy Sue
      May 19, 2012 @ 10:17:55

      I’m starting to get that there are no definitive answers for me, just lots of possibilities. And the “small bag” strategy is a great one—just try to minimize the damage.


      • pegoleg
        May 19, 2012 @ 16:09:14

        My mother-in-law, a woman who has been within 5 pounds of her normal weight forever, swears by that trick. She buys a bunch of those tiny bags of chips and has one when she’s craving chips. My problem is, if they were in the house I’d eat them all, one right after another.

      • Sandy Sue
        May 20, 2012 @ 05:23:02

        Me, too.

  2. Carol Singer
    May 19, 2012 @ 10:44:01

    Back in WW II during gas rationing, people had little signs for their cars that said: “Is this trip necessary?” Not to forbid, just to make sure the gas usage was done consciously. Maybe you could put a sticky note like that on your TV.


  3. Deb
    May 19, 2012 @ 11:56:45

    Love the posting! I’m finding that keeping something else in hand – coloring for cardmaking, cross-stitch, the computer for Words with Friends — keeps my two-tracked brain occupied so that the compulsion has no room. For me, TV or reading doesn’t provide enough stimulus to occupy both parts of my brain – conscious and subconscious. The secondary stimulus is really helping me.


    • Sandy Sue
      May 20, 2012 @ 05:26:14

      I have the same issues with reading, too. Just like TV, books are a way to shut down for me. Anything that can keep us awake, sister, is a win for us!


  4. Kathryn McCullough
    May 19, 2012 @ 12:07:19

    I have the same issue with all-or-nothing thinking. Great that you’re noticing your own black-and-while patterns. And, good God, congrats on losing 4 pounds. That’s amazing!


  5. Cauldrons and Cupcakes
    May 20, 2012 @ 14:31:51

    Hooray for you! I am tv-free, and have been for four years, and it is amazing how much that has positively changed my life. There is still a TV in our house, but it is seldom used. I also agree with Deb about having something to do for your hands, like knitting or other craft. Much love to you, and congrats on the weight loss too – that’s an excellent effort xx


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