October 15, 2014

things I quit (with no regrets)...

4 things I've happily quit (and lived to tell the tale) | yourwishcake.com
Somewhere around four years ago, I quit Facebook. I wrote about my initial thoughts a few years ago, and at this point my feelings over the whole thing remain rather unchanged. Which surprises me a little bit. There are times I definitely feel like the only human being without a Facebook (especially in this particular age-range, and with my being someone who does a fair amount of internetting). But overall, it's just not a big deal. And it's been a huge benefit to my entire mindset and the whole comparison game that most of us play on a day-to-day basis. 

Although I continue to browse social media at some point each day, there was something about Facebook that just felt like more of a trigger for all my ugliest feelings.

Of the few things I've given up over the past several years, this one ended up being the easiest—even though I thought it would be much harder than it was. I think a lot of it was the whole anticipation. I kept going back and forth, wondering what I'd be missing out on, whether it would be the worst idea to not have a Facebook page for my blog, why I couldn't just figure out how to control my reactions to things I saw in order to enjoy what so many other people were obviously enjoying. But I'm glad I followed my gut and did what I had to do for my own peace of mind.

Granted, before I go any further, I must admit that I do technically still have a rather boring and intentionally-friendless Facebook page that I use to sign into for coupons or apps that I don't want bugging me on the regular. So, I'm not completely Facebook-free…but I just get to feel smug when I use it for my own needs and refuse to give it any further information (or spend an hour looking at status updates that make me stabby or jealous or wildly dissatisfied with my hair/home/husband/shoe selection/lack of babies/etc.).

Aside from saying farewell to Facebook, there are a few other notable things I've quit in the past few years (and have lived to tell the tale):

Fancy TV
I think it's been a little over a year now since we ditched the expensive satellite and have survived on Netflix and our digital antenna (here's the one we have). If you had asked me even five years ago if we'd ever give up all those channels, both my husband and I would have said something to the effect of, "Give up TLC reality shows and ESPN? Have you gone mad?" (I'm thinking it's fairly obvious which of us is still mourning the loss of Sister Wives.) I don't even remember what led us to finally making the decision, because I think we surprised ourselves by even agreeing to it. But once it was gone, it made us realize how much mindless channel-surfing we actually did, and how few channels we actually watched on a regular basis.

At this point, Jay still gets plenty of football for free on regular network channels (in HD, even!) with our digital antenna. I binge-watch shows on Netflix and have another reason to bust out my reliable Friends DVDs in the evening. But I love that we don't automatically have the TV on every evening after dinner like we used to. And whenever we do watch TV, I almost can't handle it because man, the commercials. I so rarely watch anything on a network, that when I do I'm like, "Could there be any more ads for pharmaceuticals? For the love."

The verdict: I could never completely get rid of the TV (and I love my Netflix), but I don't see us ever paying for fancy TV (be it cable or satellite) again.

The Scale
I've weighed myself maybe a handful of times in the past year. The batteries went out on our scale ages ago, and I purposely didn't replace them. Instead, I shoved the scale under the bed as far as I could and never looked back. And you know what? Not keeping that scale on the bathroom floor has been one of the best things I've ever done for my body image, hands down.

I know this isn't the case for every woman, but I know of many people who are of the same mindset as I've always been. If the scale is there in front of me, I'm going to use it. And I'll let that number dictate how I feel about myself. I can't tell you how many times I'd be having an awesome week, making healthy choices and feeling all easy-breezy in my favorite jeans. All it would take would be stepping on the scale, realizing it did not reflect what I thought it should, and I'd be back to tearing myself down.

At this point in life, I'm just going to let myself have that awesome week. If I'm feeling great and taking care of myself, then I'll leave it at that. I'm going to let myself enjoy it. I'm done with the number game.

There have been a few times I've used our Wii Fit again to get back into a routine (you can weigh yourself to keep track of progress) but I always feel myself slipping back into old habits and thought patterns, so I know when I need to step away and clear my head.

These days, I have a general idea of how much I weigh, and for the first time in my adult life, I've spent my time focusing on overall health and creating lasting habits, instead of hoping and praying for a smaller number on the scale every morning.

The verdict: I struggled with body image for so many years, that sometimes my lack of interest in the scale almost surprises me. But I'm so glad this is where I've finally arrived.

Okay, okay, so I still technically eat meat. I actually love meat. Meat is still my jam, in many ways. I mean, the other day I had a tiniest sample of pot roast at Costco and made borderline inappropriate noises for longer than was socially acceptable. But, still…making the decision to not buy meat to have at home a few years ago was kind of a huge deal.

It was definitely my husband's idea (and I'm still not exactly sure where it came from) but the more I thought about it, the more I was okay with it. Again, if you'd asked us five years ago if we'd ever go almost exclusively vegetarian, we would have both openly mocked the very idea. I know we were those people who couldn't imagine even doing one meat-free dinner a week, yet somehow we're now easily managing 7 days a week (unless we eat out, because if I'm paying money for something, I'm going for the meat—I'm no hero!).

Our mostly-veggie lifestyle started out as more of an experiment, and more to do with saving money and finding healthier ways to get protein (especially because we can't afford organic-everything). But at this point, I also like the idea that we have reduced our meat consumption rather significantly.

The verdict: We still eat seafood, eggs and dairy at home (and at least once a year I buy a packet of pepperoni or lunchmeat due to a craving of some sort), but we used to eat a ton of cheap chicken breasts and ground beef. I'm glad I forced myself to do things a little differently—a challenge I'm surprisingly grateful for, at this point in life!

Is there anything you've (happily) quit recently? Have you ditched your cable bill or scale? Am I the only thirty-year-old woman without a Facebook page? Will you invite me over for dinner and grill me up a steak in a moment of meat-craving weakness? Please share!

— Further reading: Things I Never Thought I'd Do

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  1. We got rid of our cable almost 2 years ago and I still believe its one of the best decisions we've ever made. We actually do things now instead of just being couch potatoes mindlessly surfing the channels.

    I also hid our scale! It was enabling me to think the worst about myself.

    I can't give up meat though, but we do buy free-range, organic, or local meat. There's a store here that always has good sales and coupons on their meat (its all non-hormonal) so it doesn't hurt our budget too much.

    I've been trying to give up playing mindless games on my phone. I will seriously sit and play Mahjongg solitaire for hours if left to my own devices. Instead, I've been trying to read when I'm bored or just have a few minutes.

    Sorry to leave a book!

    1. You said it perfectly about the scale: It was enabling me to think the worst about myself. That is exactly it! For me, it held too much power and I refused to let that hang over my head. When you aren't in dire need to lose a significant amount of weight, I don't even see why someone would need a scale at all!

      I've been thinking a lot about buying free-range/organic meat here and there (maybe once a month). Because we save a lot of money by not buying meat regularly, and also using coupons/sales, I figure that would be something I can finally justify "splurging" on! I need to do a bit of research into finding where I can get some for a good price.

      I always appreciate your feedback, Ari! Books are welcomed. ;)

  2. I got rid of Facebook back in February and would never go back! It's overwhelming. It's like being bombarded by a stream of influences you can't control, and it really didn't have much of a point since I would always just call people I really wanted to catch up with anyway (I actually like seeing people now and not secretly knowing all this stuff about them that I saw on Facebook). I just feel so much calmer not having it. I don't need to be distracted every time there's a 3-second lull in my day.

    Same story as you with the cable. And we never had a scale. And now I'm craving pot roast good enough to elicit inappropriate noises.

  3. We got rid of cable roughly a year ago and have loved it! Unfortunately, we're in some sort of weird hole where the only channel we can get reliably via antenna is ABC, and the whole reason my husband agreed to cut cable was because I convinced him we could still get football (spoiler alert: we can't) but even after coming to terms with that, he still hasn't told me he wants to go back to cable. We still watch PLENTY of TV but there is definitely a huge benefit to not having to sit through (and be subliminally convinced by) hours of commercials.

    I've also never been one for having a scale in the house - I never bought one for myself after officially moving out of my parents place - I had already figured out by then that a number I didn't like would only discourage me to the point that I would give up rather than working harder. I have maintained a healthy weight - fluxuating of course, but healthy overall - for my entire adult life so I don't feel the need to put a scale in my bathroom to screw with me. I check my weight once or twice a year when I'm visiting a relative who has a scale readily available and use that information to say "oh, you're not doing quite as well as you think!" or "yes! spot on!" That way, you have to make conscious, healthy decisions for a long period of time, and you're making them long term, not because the scale went up a pound since yesterday.

    I'm still trying to convince myself I should let Facebook go... but I can't seem to take the leap. Someday.

  4. These all sound like great things to quit!

    I'm so curious as to what your typical dinner menu is like for the week! Maybe you could write a post about it... Just out of curiosity sake from someone who used to eat meat regularly & know you don't. Plus I'm always interested in people's menus overall...!

    1. I'll definitely post a couple weekly meal plans at some point in the next couple weeks—I never thought to share something like that, so thanks for the idea! :) I'm always eager to see what other people plan for the week, too.

  5. I am also interested in what your weekly dinner menu is! I am trying to get my family to cut back on the meat consumption (its so expensive and we should probably be cutting back anyways). Letting go of Facebook is so freeing! My account is still active, but I go months without logging on. It is so much better that way!

    1. I'll try to share some meal plans in the coming weeks—thanks for the encouragement! And I'm giving you an internetty high-five for the Facebook freedom, too. :)

  6. I will happily put the husband to work to grill up anything you fancy! :) Hehe. Seth and I quit cable essentially when we married bc we never signed up for it when moving here, purely for the ridiculous cost. One day, we will, but until we own a house and a have a huge savings and have expendable income (so, like, not before we're retired- if then! ha!) I am surprised about something missing from your list... quitting WORK! Which, by the way, is definitely on my to-do. Ready to be a mom and wife and homemaker. One day...

    1. I absolutely can't even imagine why I didn't mention quitting work. Dang, now I need to write another post on quitting! :) I'm glad you pointed that out, though, because that definitely merits a post of its own.

      And I can't wait to see you as a mama. You're such an incredible woman, and I know you are going to be such an incredible mother, too!

  7. I love your list! I wish I was strong enough to quit Facebook (although I really don't use it/obsess about it that much and go stretches of time without checking it) and cable. There are still some shows that I just love watching too much (although the costs are ridiculous).

    We have cut out a whole lot of meat and cook a lot more vegetarian these days... and the scale? I only have one, because when I travel internationally, I need to be able to weigh my suitcase and make sure I use every last oz that I have available ;)

  8. I love this! I'm also so curious about your meal plans and feeding a toddler, as well :) It's so encouraging to see where my family could cut back a little!

    1. Thank you so much, Ashlie! I'll hopefully be sharing a couple weekly meal plan ideas in the coming weeks—I'm grateful a few people encouraged me to finally put something like that together to share. :)

  9. I love this post! I'm forever considering giving up Facebook, though I do social media for work, so it would be hard for me to get rid of it entirely. Unfortunately, my personal account is closely associated with my work account, so I can't just go friendless, either. I dream of the day...

    I, too, have given up scales & cable, which I love, & I don't cook meat in my home, so I eat primarily vegetarian at home & then get my meat protein when I go out to eat, if something meaty strikes my fancy. otherwise, I'm perfectly content with tofu & other meat substitutes!

    1. It's so nice to find other veggie-at-home people. :) Many people are very much all or nothing! I sometimes think about how odd it is to be buying fake-meat breakfast sausage patties or a couple containers of tofu like it ain't no thang. My, how my life has changed! I feel like not eating meat at home also makes it such a treat to eat is at a restaurant or at someone's house. I like that it isn't something that I consume 3x every day, but instead can really savor the good stuff a couple times a month. :)


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