Fast Food

Hello!

How did you make your transition away from fast food? I used to eat it pretty much daily (used work/school as an excuse). Since eating healthier I can recognize how *kitten* it makes my body feel, but it doesn't stop the cravings.

I know I can have anything in moderation and within my calorie goal, but I'd still like to get to a point where I don't want it daily.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance! 🙂

Replies

  • hollyntuttle95
    hollyntuttle95 Posts: 42 Member
    Recognize how crappy*
  • skelterhelter
    skelterhelter Posts: 786 Member
    I used to eat fast food several times a week before I dieted, so I understand the addiction and the taste for it. I had a hard time weaning off of it. At first, I set days I could have it: only once a week AFTER my weekly weigh-in. It was easy to fit in when I had more of a deficit, but now I have to watch how much I eat in an even more strict way. Meal prepping is a big lifesaver for me.
  • I too would use work as an excuse for turning to fast food. It is difficult to fit it in to a calorie budget, and like other budgets I weigh my choices against what things are later limited by those choices. Cutting fast food has also boosted my cash budget; our lives are so often incorrectly segmented as though we have a separate financial life from our health life. I found that packing a lunch requires me to plan, and by planning ahead I choose nutrient dense foods that meet my caloric needs. Typically I have a large raw veggie bowl (salad doesn't quite capture it) with chicken, tuna or boiled eggs, and several pieces of fruit. That makes for a large meal that doesn't leave me feeling gross for the afternoon as a meal of the same volume from McDonalds might

    The constant need to step away from work and have a treat was a big factor, an "excuse" is not the right word for me. I will only speak to my experience, but I changed jobs (to a much lower stress level) and am now on an SSRI antidepressant. I believe these two changes were key to my adopting healthier habits by providing a buffer of mental energy that I lacked before.
  • Dogmom1978
    Dogmom1978 Posts: 1,581 Member
    The only fast food I eat are pizza and Chinese food. I’m not a fan of places like Burger King, Wendy’s, etc, so that has never been an issue for me.

    When I get a craving for pizza or chinese, I wait a day or two. If I still want it, I have it, in moderation. Before I would eat 4 slices of pizza. Now I have 1 or 2. I don’t eat half a quart of fried rice anymore when I have Chinese food. I measure it on my food scale and have a serving.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,717 Member
    Out of convenience, I ate Taco Bell 3 or 4 days per week for lunch. It wasn't so much that I thought the food was good as it was that it was convenient and about a block away from the office. I didn't really crave it or anything when I stopped as I ate it mostly out of convenience and the fact that I was hungry and just needed to put something in my stomach.

    Fast food wasn't anything I ever really missed too much. I was never a fan of places like McDonalds and other FF burger joints, and Taco Bell was palatable only...never anything where I was like...OMG I need some Taco Bell.

    I do, every once in awhile, get a Kung Poi Chicken Bowl from Panda, but that's about it for me fast food wise. For pizza and whatnot, we have a great local place a couple miles from the house called Village Pizza, and we do pizza Friday most Fridays and watch a movie.
  • hollyntuttle95
    hollyntuttle95 Posts: 42 Member
    I too would use work as an excuse for turning to fast food. It is difficult to fit it in to a calorie budget, and like other budgets I weigh my choices against what things are later limited by those choices. Cutting fast food has also boosted my cash budget; our lives are so often incorrectly segmented as though we have a separate financial life from our health life. I found that packing a lunch requires me to plan, and by planning ahead I choose nutrient dense foods that meet my caloric needs. Typically I have a large raw veggie bowl (salad doesn't quite capture it) with chicken, tuna or boiled eggs, and several pieces of fruit. That makes for a large meal that doesn't leave me feeling gross for the afternoon as a meal of the same volume from McDonalds might

    The constant need to step away from work and have a treat was a big factor, an "excuse" is not the right word for me. I will only speak to my experience, but I changed jobs (to a much lower stress level) and am now on an SSRI antidepressant. I believe these two changes were key to my adopting healthier habits by providing a buffer of mental energy that I lacked before.

    Thank you for this. I just switched to part time at work and am a full time student. I also started seeing a therapist and started an SSRI so I'm hoping the emotional aspects of my food cravings will lessen or at least that I will have the mental willpower to not give in to them. I gave in on Monday and was horrified to see the calorie count and then craved it again the next day. Since starting my journey, I can definitely tell that fast food makes me feel like garbage and for some reason I still want it. I still meal prep/plan but sometimes it doesn't make a difference. I'm eating it a lot less now so at least there's that I guess.
  • hollyntuttle95
    hollyntuttle95 Posts: 42 Member
    Jruzer wrote: »
    I agree with those who say you can eat anything and lose or maintain weight, with a big BUT.

    One of my worst "fat guy habits" was picking up extra food during my commute - burgers and fries, gas station doughnuts, or candy bars, or string cheese, Swiss cake rolls, etc. I would resolve to stop, and I would be good for a few days, or a week, and then in a weak moment I would give in and get the breakfast burritos and hash browns on my way in to work. This went on for years and seemed inescapable after a while. I don't like the language of addiction in the context of food, but I had very bad habits and didn't know how to stop.

    The only way I found to beat it was to be serious about my logging and sticking to my plan. I packed my lunch daily and stuck with it. That's where "being motivated" was important to me. I had to make new habits, and the only way to do that was to rely on motivation and will power.

    As has been discussed here many times, will power and motivation are limited resources. You have to form new habits and shed old ones. You can't rely on "being motivated" forever. For me, though, it was crucial to getting started. The other thing that helped my motivation was seeing the weight drop off in the first few weeks.

    The other thing that was extremely helpful (and eye opening) was just logging and paying attention to calories. I would occasionally buy a can of honey roasted cashews and eat it in the car on my way home. One day I ran the calories in my head and saw that the can of cashews was about 1200 kcal - most of my calorie budget! For a snack! Most fast food choices are the same.

    I'm happy to say that I don't get road burgers or doughnuts anymore. I'm still tempted, occasionally, but it's much more resistible than it used to be.

    Good luck, OP.

    Thank you for your reply! I'm in the same boat. I don't want to call it a food addiction, but it is really difficult to make the changes even with meal prep/meal planning. I'm a bit of an emotional eater too, so I've been working on my mental health as well as my physical health so hopefully I'll start to see a difference in the level of cravings/temptations I have. Like I said on another comment, I was horrified at the calorie count - resolved to not do it again - and craved it the very next day. It feels like a viscous cycle.
  • musicfan68
    musicfan68 Posts: 970 Member
    What worked for me was changing my routine. Change habits so you don't think about it. Do something else at the time when you would normally stop and get something. Drive on by and eat from home.
  • xodreamariexo
    xodreamariexo Posts: 62 Member
    I too had this issue. It seemed like nothing filled me up but fast food. What helped was making my own fast food at home. Sure it’s not healthy but it’s definitely healthier than fast food, and it’ll get you motivated to make more food on your own including healthy recipes
  • Thank you for this. I just switched to part time at work and am a full time student. I also started seeing a therapist and started an SSRI so I'm hoping the emotional aspects of my food cravings will lessen or at least that I will have the mental willpower to not give in to them. I gave in on Monday and was horrified to see the calorie count and then craved it again the next day. Since starting my journey, I can definitely tell that fast food makes me feel like garbage and for some reason I still want it. I still meal prep/plan but sometimes it doesn't make a difference. I'm eating it a lot less now so at least there's that I guess.

    Eating a lot less fast food is something: Good job! Fast food is not out of my diet entirely. One thing I do when my family is getting burgers is to just order a sandwich and an unsweetened tea. The fries and pop just don't add any value to me so I forego them. I can imagine others valuing the fries above other parts of a value meal. Meal prepping, planning, or changing your routes to avoid driving past restaurants are all little nudges that make it a little less mentally taxing to stick to your bigger plan.

    Give the SSRI time. A a possible side effect is weight gain, it is worth the risk. For me an outcome of depression was weight gain and lethargy, so I have lost weight while on the SSRI. I think we so often segment mental health from physical health, and I have learned these two things are an inseparable one.