Fast Food Help

Does anybody have any suggestions on how to stop eating fast food? I live near so many places and they all smell so good.


  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,739 Member
    edited March 2022
    Have you ever noticed how you buy more food when you go shopping when you're hungry? Everything looks more appealing, right?

    I admit to feeling a bit out of my depth here as I would expect appeal to reduce somewhat once you've eaten the calories you're supposed to.

    And for reason to guide you to making the best choices for you in terms of balancing calories, satiety, and fun.

    In the facetious department, I hear that people squish lemon juice on their puppies or cats to stop them from responding to various smells. I admit that I've never gone that far, generally resorting to running around yelling "nooooooooo nameofcanine, noooooo, let the squirrel go"....

    I'm truly curious to see what others will suggest though!

    I do continue to eat fast food on occasion but comparing calories spent to satiety quickly guided me towards modifying my choices over time...
  • perryc05
    perryc05 Posts: 214 Member
    edited March 2022
    I undertand the temptation of it but you're better off trying to get excited about shopping for fresh produce and looking up simple recipes that inspire you to cook healthy. There's heaps of great stuff on the net and a not all cooking has to be onerous. There are a many resouces for home cooked food done quickly without loads of fuss.
    Once you start eating healthy and fresh food it's kind of addictive and if you make extra you can often freeze it for another day. Slow cookers and Intant Pots can help with time management.
    Another good website is Allrecipes. Just browse by category or try running a search there with some keywords:

    Don't rule out fast food all together -- just find a way to not eat it all the time.
  • Deviette
    Deviette Posts: 979 Member
    From my experience it gets easier. When you first start cutting down the pull of fast food will be big, but as time goes on and you eat less of it, it becomes less appealing. Yes there will be days when you just say that you really fancy it, and that's fine, but I honestly find that the less fast food I eat, the less of it I want to eat and the less often I want to eat it.

    For now, my advice is to be intentional with your fast food choice. By that I mean don't be swayed by the smell of fast food as you walk past drawing you in. If you want to get fast food x, by all means, if it fits your goals, go ahead, but work on the impulse control. Don't be going home thinking that you need to think about what you're going to have for dinner while going past all them food places, because it is so easy to just pop in and get food there. Instead decide what you're going to have before you go past them. If you say to yourself that you're going to have food at home before you leave then it's easier to ignore the food places.

    Alternatively, decide what you're going to eat when you are home. You may pass a bunch of places, but if you know you can't make a decision until you get back home, then you can look at them as much as you want, and then, if you get home and you decide that no, you really did want that thing that you passed by, go back out to go get it. Yeah, it's not time efficient, but it means that you're not being swayed by the instant gratification that fast food often gives you. It means that you actually want that food, rather than it being there and smell nice.
  • Mise_enPlace
    Mise_enPlace Posts: 60 Member
    Years ago I had a habit of going through the drive-thru after work. It was hard stopping at first, but now like the above said, I don't miss it too much. As someone that has a bit of a frugal streak, I like to look at the bill. I can make 3 or 4 meals with food from the store for the same price as a burger, fries, and drink.

    When I first started cooking for myself I used slow cooker recipes. As long as I started putting things together by 11am, I was guaranteed a home cooked dinner. Also one pot and tray bake meals are a favorite.

    Just yesterday I did have a craving for fries. Checkers makes my favorite fries and they are available in the frozen section. Stick one serving in the air fryer or oven. Maybe pair that with a homecooked meal and it might be easier to make the good habits stick. For me, I think the act of actually going through the drive through and getting something really easily was what was difficult to stop. Having a meal plan and carrying a snack help.
  • Walkywalkerson
    Walkywalkerson Posts: 453 Member
    Read the horror stories of how they make it and what's in it and what it does to your body 😵
    And learn how to make your own healthier versions of what you like.
    I really fancied a Mc Donalds breakfast this morning because I'm unwell - but I made my own bacon and egg muffin - it was sooooo delicious.
    What puts me off fast food the most is a single meal will wipe out my entire calories for the day.
    I had a Five Guys Burger and fries a while back - although it was delicious it was over 2000 calories!

  • manicdaisy
    manicdaisy Posts: 130 Member
    Have you ever reflected on how fast food makes you feel?

    Unfortunately, I grew up on fast food so I would say I was addicted to it - busy single mom bustling us kids between lots of after school activities. We definitely had fast food 2-3x per week. So I thought it was normal and I *genuinely* enjoy it and look forward to it.

    Around 24 years old though, I realized every time I ate fast food, I literally felt like my body was on fire I was so inflamed, felt heavy, thirsty, and miserable. I don't have any gluten intolerance or any other known food allergies, it is literally just the quality of fast food.

    I still have cravings and eat it maybe one time a month or every other month? But like clockwork I feel sick after, so if I am having a craving and consider it, I focus on how I know it will make me sick and if it's actually worth it and at least half of the time I decide it isn't.

    If you don't notice yet how sick it makes you, give it up for a few intentional weeks (that would probably be easier if you say you can have it again on X date) and I would wager when you go back to it you will have lost your tolerance and it will make you at least a little ill. It's not a fun lesson, but it's an important one.
  • fatty2begone
    fatty2begone Posts: 249 Member
    I do quite a bit of driving for work (no specific schedule time) and I used to be a fast food junky. I live rural and drive to urban/suburban areas where so many temptations exist.

    What I have found helpful is to make sure I have a bottle of water and a protein shake. If I get the urge, I will sip on my protein shake until I am out of the area and the craving has disappeared. Depending on the brand, they range from around 150 to 190 calories. The one I like the best is special K (yes the most sugar but IMO the tastiest) Chocolate. 190 calories beats easily 800+ calories.

    A planned fast food is not so bad, its the unplanned ones that get you.
    Also, if you just cant resist, go for the smaller size: Jr Whopper, regular cheese burger, small fries... Way less calories then the "adult" version. It gives you the taste and salt you crave, with less calories.

    Sometimes you just have to use sheer will power, but the above helps me.
  • COGypsy
    COGypsy Posts: 1,190 Member
    I rarely cook, so fast food is sometimes just a reality in my world. My rule is that any restaurant meal has to be split into at least two meals, if not three. That applies to fast food too. I also don’t eat on my way home, meals get divided and eaten once I get to my house. It takes a little getting used to doing it that way, but I know for myself, I would rather have the tiniest sliver of exactly what I want than a entire banquet of some sort of substitute compromise.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,432 Member
    Others have given great advice, above. I guess I'd go back to basics, and ask questions:

    Question 1: Are you trying to eat zero fast food at all? You're absolutely entitled to have that goal, if you wish, but for weight loss or health it's not essential to eat zero fast food. Some people here eat some fast food, are selective about what items they choose, what size they choose, how often they eat particular things. By doing that, they manage to eat some fast food, while still hitting calorie goals and getting adequate nutrition, plus be happier with their overall way of eating.

    I know, some people do best with firm and absolute rules like "no fast food", because some of us are able to moderate some perceived treat foods or not-nutritious high calorie foods, and others of us aren't as able to moderate certain things (or moderate at all, even, maybe). You know yourself best, as to whether you're more of a "moderator" or an "abstainer".

    But I'm asking about this because sometimes people arrive here thinking that if they want to manage their weight (lose to goal then maintain), then eating even minor amounts of fast food will make achieving those goals somehow impossible because fast food has some - I dunno - anti-diet magic?

    If you don't think that way, it may sound weird, but some seem to believe that. Fast food is just food. It tends to be calorie dense and not very nutrient dense, but it has some nutrients, and people who love it lots can eat some, in reasonable portions, and still lose weight, be healthy.

    Question 2: How fast are you trying to lose weight? What is your calorie goal, and what's your age/weight/height? Food temptations are harder to resist when we go for super-aggressive-fast weight loss.

    I get that we all want to drop weight fast. But sometimes trying to go fast can be counterproductive: We see people here cut calories to extremes, maybe add an extreme new exercise regimen on top of that . . . and often that doesn't end well.

    That kind of approach tends to come with backsliding, binges propelled by a sense of deprivation, maybe make a person give up altogether. In that sense, trying to lose weight fast can make it take longer (calendar time) than slower weight loss that a person can stick with more easily, losing gradually but steadily over the time period.

    As a bonus, the slower route can help a person learn new habits that make it easier to stay at a healthy weight long term.

    This may not be relevant, and it certainly isn't the specific question you asked, but . . . . basics.

    Wishing you success in your efforts!
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,874 Member
    I used to eat fast food pretty much everyday for lunch. When I began my health, weightloss, and fitness thing years ago I decided that eating fast food everyday wasn't doing me any favors. But rather than making some binary choice between everyday and none at all I decided to just let it be a sometimes thing. It actually brought me back to my childhood when fast food for my family was an occasion and something kind of exciting and something to kind of look forward to rather than some routine thing.

    I like the Swedish concept of lillordag (little Saturday) and so I made Wednesday lunch my fast food day. Over time, fast food became less and less appealing in general. My home cooked meals and brown bag lunches (usually leftovers) were just much better quality nutritionally as well as in regards to taste and everything else. To boot, I saved a lot of money. Fast food these days really doesn't appeal to me much at all. Most of it is just greasy and gross and most of it gives me digestive issues. Some places like McDonalds don't even smell good anymore. My one exception really is Popeye's Chicken which is just a special little thing I look forward to once every month or two.