That is the question. It’s Saturday morning and I’m still in my pajamas. I plan on sitting curled up in a blanket with my breakfast and watching an episode of Top Chef that I recorded earlier. I’m over the moon about this plan. You see, I willingly placed myself on a T.V. hiatus this past Monday.

It all started when a friend went on a retreat. She’s eating and meditating. That’s it. There isn’t even any talking. For ten days. My friend is a server at the retreat, so for her there is some talking. But minimal.

Your first question may be the same as my mother’s. Why? But, I get it. I do. I’ve always appreciated quiet. I enjoy time with my own thoughts. I’m not saying I need ten days worth, but I get it.

Then I got my cable bill. $150. That’s just ridiculous. First, I placed a call to my cable company. Then, I placed a call to the other cable company. (There are only two as far as I know.) After about an hour, I learned I couldn’t get any less channels for any less money. Oh, and did I mention I have to have a DVR? When you go to bed as early as I do, it’s a must. To lower my bill, I’d have to get rid of cable altogether. Could I live without television? I decided to find out.

I planned to go without Monday through Friday. I would break the spell on the weekend. (Hey, I’m not a masochist.)

Monday and Tuesday were painless and I noticed two big benefits immediately. I found the extra time I’ve been looking for. According to the Nielsen Co. (the ones who do the ratings,) the average American watches at least four and a half hours of television a day. Now, I’m sure I wasn’t watching that many, but even if you’re just watching a couple – what could you do with two extra hours in the day?

I also found I ate less. If you’re like most people, you have a tendency to snack in front of the T.V. I do. I won’t even be hungry. But if the T.V.’s on, I’m shoving it in my mouth. Knowing this trigger of mine, I tried to have healthy snacks in the house. It never occurred to me to tackle the problem the other way around, but it worked. With the T.V. off, I didn’t even think about eating, cause I wasn’t hungry.

By the time Wednesday rolled around, I missed it. I really did. At first. But then I was fine, cause I got drunk. Just kidding. I didn’t get drunk. I had one or two (okay, three) glasses of wine. (Hey, it’s hard to count them when you have to drink out of a big sippy cup!) My mom had Frankie and the house was quiet. It was dinnertime. The time when I usually settle in to watch some rerun of  Friends I’ve seen a hundred times. Instead, I turned on some classical music and ate my dinner with the concept of zen eating in mind. Chewing my food slowly, savoring each bite. I felt very refined and cultured. And you know what? I ate less again.

By the end of the week, I was actually in to Great Expectations, a book, I confess, I’ve barely picked up since I blogged about it. But you also see how much I’m looking forward to my recording of Top Chef. I swear the anticipation is actually making me happy. I doubt I would’ve felt that way about it if I’d watched T.V. all week.

Maybe, the answer lies, once again, in balance. Cutting back or doing away with the mindless watching (do I really need to watch Gladiator for the sixth time?) and saving just a few programs I really look forward to. The cable company still wins in this scenario, though.Maybe I can get Mom to record a few things. Just something to think about. After the big game, of course.