Fast Food Addiction

Hi everyone.

So this is my second post here, but I figured that there's such an awesome community of people here that maybe, just maybe, I can get some motivation and help. I think I'm addicted to fast food. Not like the occasional, "Mmmmm, fries." I'm talking legit addiction. It happens only when I drive around, and I only get food in the drive through. I realize that it's because I don't give myself enough time in the morning to eat, but then it spirals down and I grab fast food for lunch too, even if I pack a lunch. I'm literally stopping at fast food places 10 times or more a week.

It's breaking me physically and financially. As a broke college student (no exaggeration - I'm living off of student loans this summer while I take class), I've literally resorted to paying for burgers with change. It's humiliating. I quit smoking cigarettes, and it's been replaced with this, and I don't know what to do anymore. I've had fast food 6 our of 7 days this week. It's not healthy, and not helping me reach my goal of a healthier person. The problem is, I can't quit food like I quit cigarettes.

If I don't eat it, I get sick. If I eat it, I get sick. I know it's bad, and I don't even like the taste of it. It just feels like I have to have it, and I don't want it. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, what did you do? How do you fight the urge when you're surrounded by fast food places (and hungry from missing breakfast or lunch) on your way to school or work?

Thanks everyone. This post was really hard for me to write down. I feel better just sharing my struggle with others.


  • SonicDeathMonkey80
    SonicDeathMonkey80 Posts: 4,489 Member
    I... just... can't...
  • JennyHollyHansen
    I can totally understand. It is not just a habit but a coping mechanism for your busy life.

    I was there once too. It took a month for the cravings to stop. A week for the head ache to go away. A day for the weight to start going down.

    You don't have to be sick because you eat. You just have to eat differently to not get sick by how you eat. You have to make that choice though. And as true addict you cant jump on and off willy-nilly. You have to cut it all out or stay on this destructive path.

    While you may not be overeating you may want to check out overeaters anonymous. They might be able to help you with the addiction aspect of your diet.
  • baba_helly
    baba_helly Posts: 810 Member
    Just don't go.

    You have to make a conscious decision to eat something. You're putting yourself into financial hardship by doing this as well - that's more than enough reason to stop and think about the decision.

    You're also not addicted... trust me. You've replaced cigarettes with fast food as a coping mechanism, but you are in no way addicted. Good luck OP.
  • gyp_g
    gyp_g Posts: 1 Member
    Stop cold turkey. Begin tracking your food on this site. If you do slip up, track it. See how much junk you're putting into your body. Good luck!
  • akylios
    akylios Posts: 73 Member
    i suppose you could pack your lunch and leave all cash/credit cards at home before leaving for the day
  • Nessie112
    Nessie112 Posts: 39 Member
    What some of my friends do when they drive near fast food places is think about all the yucky stuff they put into their food. Maybe you should research some of your favorite meals in depth and then when your driving around ad you pass a McDonalds just chant all the gross things over and over again. Also start giving yourself enough time in the morning to make breakfast so you won't be so hungry. Just try to remember why you do want to eat the junk food, "It's over my calories", "It's bad for me", "It's expensive", "It won't taste good anyway.", "I'll regret it later."
    I know it's tough but you will get over it, if you try. It will get easier if you keep at it.
    All the best! You can do this!
  • HerkMeOff
    HerkMeOff Posts: 1,002 Member
    You replaced nicotine addiction with fast food addiction

    Now replace fast food addiction with healthy food addiction.

  • helenarriaza
    helenarriaza Posts: 519 Member
    Friends or family that can give you a hand to help you buy some stuff?

    Go to a Pricesmart (or similar) and buy ready to eat grains, fruit cups, cereal, etc. Those are things that won't spoil as easily.

    Find a cafe or cafeteria you can get smarter options (yogurt, fruit cups, whole meals).

    It won't be easy since your tastebuds will need to feel the taste of fat/salt/sugar so cravings will be really bad.

    But yeah, fast food is killing you and your budget.
  • helenarriaza
    helenarriaza Posts: 519 Member
    i suppose you could pack your lunch and leave all cash/credit cards at home before leaving for the day

    I am doing this. Saving me a bucketload of cash.
  • Sharon_C
    Sharon_C Posts: 2,132 Member
    i suppose you could pack your lunch and leave all cash/credit cards at home before leaving for the day

    This. I don't take my wallet or purse to work with me. I pack my lunch, leave all money at home and then I have no choice but to eat what I pack.
  • missiontofitness
    missiontofitness Posts: 4,074 Member
    You definitely need to develop willpower (not saying this in a bad way!)
    But it sounds like right now, it's easier to give in and go get fast food, than it is to resist that urge, and go without. It's quick, convenient, tastes good, and is obviously doing something for you, if you continue to go back with just pocket change to get it.

    Just like with cigarettes, you can kick this.
    One poster suggested leaving your money/cards at home, and to bring your lunch. That is a really good suggestion. What I would also recommend is creating a mantra to motivate yourself as you're driving around, and get that temptation to drive over and get something. Maybe repeating "I don't need that burger/fries/ect", and continue repeating it in your head until you drive past. The longer you go without it, the easier it will be for you to live without it.

    It's going to be tough, but you can do it!
  • caliberice
    caliberice Posts: 3 Member
    Saying "Try to do that or not to do that" will not help. It seems like some kind of addiction (like sugar, coffee and etc.). I just recommend to try Paul Mckenna and his stuff. About 80 percents of people helped his videos and self hypnosis. I had enormous craving for ice cream and sugar, I tried "I Can Make You Thin" (I am not sure this is exact title) video sessions. I can not say, that I definitely do not eat sugar now, but somehow I felt more power to chose what I put in my stomach. Google about him and about videos. You can download all his material. :)
  • elyelyse
    elyelyse Posts: 1,454 Member
    You already know the answer. Make the time to feed yourself properly, so that you aren't hungry and tired and that will give your body what it needs so it's not screaming at you for a burger.

    Of course you will still feel the urge, you've developed a habit...not an addiction, a habit. The easiest way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. It's very hard to say "I just won't do this". It's less difficult to say "instead of this, I'm going to do that" so, prepare healthy calorie appropriate meals and snacks, carry food with you if necessary**...make that your new habit. If you're feeling satiated from eating a good mix of protein, fats, and carbs, it will be much easier to say, "hmmm, I don't really need that burger, I've already been fed."

    **i have a plastic bin in the trunk of my car; in it there's cashew nuts, granola, quest bars, Cheerios, milk in those boxes that don't need to be refrigerated, and even some canned tuna or chicken, along with paper plates and utensils. Besides the box of non-perishables, I usually have some fruit and high protein cereal, or a bag of rinsed and cut up vegetables in my bag. Do I ever stop for junk? Yup, sometimes. But most of the time, I can pull the car over, open the trunk, and satisfy my hunger in a healthy way.
  • GiveItAll92
    GiveItAll92 Posts: 26 Member
    I haven't dealt with this but I tried to put myself in your shoes and came up with some ideas as to how I would handle being in this situation.

    1) A lot of people are probably going to tell you this is all about willpower. And in a way it kind of is (I know that doesn't make overcoming this any easier at the moment though). You've acknowledged this isn't good for you and are looking for help to make a change. For that you should be proud!

    2) Maybe start out by slowly cutting back? Create a budget and tell yourself you will only spend $15 a week on fast food and the rest you normally spend could be spent on groceries. Or tell yourself you are only allowed to eat out once a day and tehn from there once every other day etc.

    3) I looked into your profile and saw that you are big into gaming and really studious. Maybe you could take 30mins each day from gaming and put it into researching the foods.places you eat at. Find out what options you no longer want to eat and what options aren't so bad. Moderation is a big thing I've read about in MFP. If its something you really like you shouldn't have to cut it entirely from your diet. The more informed youa re though the better you can be at making decisions. Watching FOod Inc. made me really think about the foods I was eating, I even went vegetarian because of it. Not saying you should scare yourself into change but really knowing what you are putting in your body might help.

    4) Take another half an hour to plan and prepare/pack your meals for the next day

    5) I know its hard to break habits. I used to eat a lot of things that were less beneficial for my diet because I didn't really know what foods I would like, what/how to cook, and because I always labeled foods as healthy or unhealthy. I think I always just thought unhealthy foods were privileges and would as a result taste better. There are a lot of foods that I have added to my daily intake that I am glad I tried and there are also many foods I no longer eat, not because I think they are unhealthy but because I have found so many other more nutritious things that I would rather eat :)

    6) As a college student myself I know it can be hard to cook for one and that convenience is really important. For convenience I reiterate what I said before (Plan and prepare.pack in advance). You may also want to ask your friends if they'd be interested n preparing and having weekly meals together. Everyone brings a part (Taco shells, meat, veggies, etc) and everyone gets a decent meal :)

    7) They may have support groups for this, I'm pretty sure they have them for people who identify as overeaters

    Lastly here's a link I found :) Yay WIkipedia
  • _Terrapin_
    _Terrapin_ Posts: 4,301 Member
    How do you afford gas money and maintenance/repair for the car? Insurance? Sell the car? Get a bike? At 26, maybe start owning more of your future instead of borrowing it. Best of luck OP, and you aren't addicted, far from it.
  • jjplato
    jjplato Posts: 155 Member
    If you really do have an addiction problem (and I have no idea if you do), you won't solve it here. People with real addiction problems can engage in "symptom substitution" - basically replacing one addictive substance or behavior for another. Only you can tell if this is just a bad habit or an uncontrollable craving. If you suspect it's the latter, you may want to talk to an addiction counselor.
  • korymaeris
    korymaeris Posts: 17 Member
    Thanks everyone, at least the positive people. It's hard when you juggle work, publishing research, teaching two classes, and going to school at the same time, all while trying to maintain a life at home. When your schedule is literally booked from 7am to 8pm Monday through Friday, while devoting almost all weekend to readings, I guess it's easy to let things slip. Summers are always tough because it's when my academic career path really catches up with me. I think the problem is really overworking myself, and maybe the weekends are a good place to start meal prepping. I really hate the idea, but maybe it will help.

    I really like the idea of just leaving money at home. I think I will start that. Anything to change up the routine. The upcoming transition to grad school has really made my life a lot less functional, so fixing the problem now is what I need to do.

    I guess I'm not surprised that there would be *kitten* on top of nice people, but goodness. Things that put people down don't help, and do nothing. Were you not ever once struggling against something that felt impossible? It's not like I'm a newbie at this, I just have a problem I haven't been able to deal with on my own. I did Muay Thai, ran 60+ miles a week, and still strength train. I broke both ankles while trail running, and let me tell you, it's hard to pick up healthy habits when you're stuck like that, and with recurring bone edema due to an old fracture, it's pretty easy to beat yourself up. Don't judge people before you actually know them.

    Thanks again everyone who was kind in their advice.
  • korymaeris
    korymaeris Posts: 17 Member
    Thanks! :)
  • Bernadette60614
    Bernadette60614 Posts: 707 Member
    There's a free on-line goal tracking system called "Joe's Goals." You list goals and each day you achieve that goal, you give yourself a check and you can see your cumulative tally.

    You could break down this habit (that's what it is) into several goals:

    . Go grocery shopping

    . Make one meal a day at home.

    . Do not stop at fast food place.

    If you are hungry, and have no food at home and don't know how to make a sandwich, you're going to stop at a place where you can get quick food when you are starving.

    I used Joe's Goals to kick a pack a day 20 year smoking habit.