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Fast Food Addiction

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Old 02-07-2012, 10:53 PM   #1
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Default Fast Food Addiction

One of the biggest struggles I've had with my dieting has and always has been fast food. Plain and simple, I'm addicted. It took me forever to admit this, even if I've known it for a long time. I don't have much excuse for it apart from how easy it is and how filling it can be (not to mention the taste, usually!) and that I was pretty much raised from a child on a diet of happy meals. I feel like if I could just get over this hurdle, I would be on the road to a way healthier life. Have any of you ever experience food addiction like this? If so, how have you overcome it?

Also, on a different vein, if any of you are also on/have been on the fast food wagon, did you taper off of it slowly or did you do it cold turkey? Lately I've been getting it when I need to but having only small portions or kids meals, and so far I haven't exceeded my calorie limit with this method. Should I be abstaining from that at all costs? I always feel so guilty afterward, even when meeting my calorie and nutrition goals, but it's just so difficult to manage a full time work + school + exercise and still have time to make meals for the whole next day.
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:09 PM   #2
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Hi there! I am not new here, but have been absent for a while and it's time to get back in the swing of things again.

Anyhow, to answer your question, I used to eat an awful lot of fast food. I quit smoking 3 1/2 years ago and for the first few months, I lived on Hot Tamales candy and those steak burger things from Burger King. And it only took a few months to gain 80+ pounds eating that way. YIKES!

I was really worried about how to survive without all those burgers and fries and shakes. For m, the best thing was to just quit completely, except for frosty Friday, which meant a single small Frosty from Wendy's, once a week. My hubs fetched it on his way home from work at 11:30 pm, so I didn't have to deal with anything except the frosty he brought home, no smells, no "cheap deals" to tempt me, no "just this once". I went very far out of my way to make sure I had lots of other options available 24 X 7 because I needed to make healthy food as easy to get to as fast food, or what I now call "crap and garbage". It was really hard at first, but after a while, I didn't really mind anymore. We went for a fast food burger after about 4 months of calorie counting and exercise it it was GROSS! Salty, greasy and felt like a lump of goo sitting in my stomach. Funny how the palate can change over time. If you can just take it minute by minute, or even second by second, eventually you will get past it. You can make a lot of the stuff at home and do it in a low calorie but very flavorful version. Baked sweet potato "fries" instead of deep fried russets. I have a meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer, and I grind my own boneless/skinless chicken breast for burgers so they are totally low fat. All of my friendsds who are skinny and don't have to diet come over for dinner and never know if they are having "diet" food or regular unless I tell them.

Gosh, my first moment back here and already I'm pounding away at the keyboard.

Long story short...I was there and I made it through by staying completely away from the fast food places and replacing them with made at home version with lots of flavor but not fat, sugar, salt. Spices and veg. If you're interested in recipes to get you started, let me know and I can copy/paste them from my files.

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Old 02-07-2012, 11:20 PM   #3
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I think there are some healthy options at fast food places, but no where near as yummy as food you prepared yourself (like salads, but beware those can have more calories than the burgers!). Your best bet is to steer clear. I'm not saying every once in awhile is going to kill you, but it shouldn't be a regular thing.

I never used to have much of an issue with fast food and soda myself until I got with my husband. We've been eating fast food more lately and I have to be honest, it's not that great. The last few times we got Steak n Shake I pretty much felt sick afterwards. I can't eat greasy or fried foods anymore...or really sweet, sugary things (well, except for chocolate and ice cream. I can sur eat a lot of that no problem, lol). Just take a break from it and try to come up with some quick healthy meals you can make fast. Salads, sandwiches, steamed veggies, etc.
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:41 PM   #4
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Default re:

Yep, been there. It was pretty much all I ate for quite a few years between family - work - school.

I quit cold turkey. To make up for it I usually have some sort of easy microwave frozen dinner or something. (lean cuisine, healthy choice etc.) I hate cooking and I'm not good at it so this was a good option for me. Plus it's fast, cheap and easy.

Honestly, I don't crave it anymore. That's maybe after about 4ish months. I can even pick something up for my son from time to time and drive the whole way home with it - smell and all - in my car. It just doesn't grab me anymore.

My husband was a bit different (he lost over 100 lbs). He didn't give it up but got different things such as chicken wraps and never any fries.

I always hear people say if you give up amazing amounts of fast food, you won't crave it after awhile. I hope that is the same for you.

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Old 02-08-2012, 12:25 AM   #5
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I just stopped eating it, except for the rare In-n-Out runs. Now, I keep easy food with me and I have easy go-to dinners at home.

Cutting out fast-food was a side effect of the last time I lost weight. Even when I was regaining, I didn't crave it. After a while, it just tastes like salty, over-processed junk and the delicious memories subside.
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:33 AM   #6
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Lately I've mostly been trying to stick to Subway and that sort of thing - and I know that's truly not a fast food place, and I can get a 6 inch ham without fixings and only total 250-300 calories and be VERY full (also it's right downstairs in my workplace so it's easy to get!) But those rare moments when I get something from a drive-thru are getting fewer and far between. I looked at the scale today and saw I'd dropped another two pounds, and it's made me so excited that I'm hoping it'll motivate me to let it go entirely soon. Thanks for your advice, everyone!
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:27 PM   #7
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I was definately addicted and I quit cold turkey just like I did with soda. I can't ever just have a small portion of that garbage so I just don't tempt myself with it!

I have found I love subway as a healty alternative.
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:00 PM   #8
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I was addicted to junk food...it's all I ate! There were days all I would eat was icecream and Cheetos. Seriously. Or candy bars and coldcut sandwiches. Or some kind of pasta, hamburger casserole. Quick, fattening, sugary, carby junk. Never ate veggies, fruits or lean meats. Im suprised I didn't drop dead from a heart attack. I quit cold turkey. I had to. It was hard but worth it. I don't miss that kind of food anymore. Truthfully, I've recently had a few bites of a candy bar and an icecream cone and they tasted disgustingly sweet and coated my mouth in a funny lard taste...ick. I crave raw veggies and fruit now. Love chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon...red meats taste fatty and give me indigestion. Your taste buds will change! The cravings will go away for salty, fatty, sweet junk.
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:57 PM   #9
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I wouldn't say that I was a fast food addict, but I definitely ate a lot of junk.

I tapered off slowly. I made small changes when I did eat out, like choosing small meals or ordering a la carte, choosing water instead of a sugary beverage, not ordering dessert, etc. I also ate out less often and started learning how to cook. The more foods I learned how to make, especially those using only fresh/minimally-processed ingredients, the better I feel and the worse fast food tastes to me.

It's a process. Keep plugging.
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:05 AM   #10
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At this point in my journey, I can still eat FF one maybe two times per week but I have to be very careful what I eat. I do NOT eat the fries or soda and go for a side salad with light dressing and water. Chick fil A has an amazing side salad that I get with my sandwich that comes with a sunflower seed packet. My meals there are under 500 calories...this meal helps me stay on track for the rest of the week!

Taco Bell even has lighter options but in every case I have to go in with a meal plan, know my calories and not deviate from the plan.
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Old 02-09-2012, 03:42 AM   #11
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Fast food is designed to make us want it. I haven't had any lately but I was really surprised a couple of days ago when somebody was eating a burger and fries and I was hit with the smell. It didn't smell like a nice juicy burger I can make at home, it smelled like fast food if you catch my drift. The enticing smell that tells you EAT ME.
Same thing with a bag of chips - the moment the bag was opened the room was filled with a fantastic smell. But then it hit me. How can this be good for me? Nothing smells like this naturally. What kind of awful chemicals make this happen?
As far as calories are concerned, eating the classic combo-burger,fries,soda is somewhere close to the daily recommended intake. And as for nutritional value little if any.
So I think I will say no to fast food, I don't like eating chemicals, not to mention questionable meats and oils. There are always better options.

May I suggest watching a couple of documentaries on fast food?
They may help. Super size me & Food, Inc.
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:18 AM   #12
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In all honesty it is up to you. If you're feeling guilty eating it despite not ruining your diet then perhaps you need to back off fast food so it won't have that much power over you. It shouldn't be a struggle, it should be something to grab when you have no other choice.

I have to admit I am one that incorporated fast food into my diet. Since I count calories (with less emphasis on micro-nutrients back then) it was easy to have a meal every once in a while but still lose weight.

Like you I realized I was wasting a lot of calories on fast food since I don't feel as full or satisfied when done, even when I switched from big meal McD's and KFCs to smaller meals (1 QP=a full happy meal for example, plus you get a toy!) But I did feel a lot better when I focused on lower calorie and recognizable fast foods such as Subway, Quizno's, and especially Pret-a-Manger in London.

I've started to notice that I keep going for 'healthier' options when eating out now. I still love the smell and the taste of McDonald's (the ones not in the U.S. at least; I don't know why but U.S.-McD's tastes so much worse than the ones across the ocean), but I can't even remember the last time I ate it. I figure it will always be there so I don't have to eat it today, I can have it tomorrow (but then I say the same thing tomorrow...) and without realizing it weeks have gone by with nary a happy meal in sight!
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:34 AM   #13
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I too can't say I was addicted, but I certainly contributed to their payroll now and then.

I didn't stop cold turkey. I found healthy options and stuck to those for those times I thought I needed fast food. This would be times when I forgot my lunch at work or didn't have time to make dinner. I'm ok with a McDonald's grilled chicken, half the bun, no mayo. At the time I also accepted the fresco menu at Taco Bell. Since then, I've discovered I actually never NEED or evern want fast food. The only exception is like angel's frosty. I indulge in McDonald's Sundaes.

My go-to meal when I don't have time to cook dinner is a Meijer rotisserie chicken now. That's my "fast food". It's no longer even an issue. I did not make the conscious decision to stop going there, it just happened as my healthy life style began to naturally take over. I actually WANT to eat healthfully and I crave healthy foods.
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:23 AM   #14
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I used to eat way too much fast food, usually 4-5 meals per week. My mother was addicted to it (and still is) so would bring us home fast food instead of grocery shopping or cooking a meal.

That food is *engineered* to be addictive. It's filled with fake coloring, flavoring, and tons of salt and sugar just to keep you hooked.

I couldn't fully get away from fast food while I was still home with my mother so I began researching on restaurant websites what the healthiest options were. I'd usually order a salad with grilled chicken and use only 1/3 of the dressing packet.

Now that I live on my own I avoid fast food completely and cook healthy versions of my old favorites. I love making homemade tacos, tomato rice, and refried beans! Turkey burgers with ranch mix are delicious! I love oven roasted herbed potatoes.

Also a while ago I read somewhere on these forums about someone who would do salad makeovers of their favorite fast food, like Big Macs. They'd use ground beef, thousand island dressing, and lots of veggies and lettuce! Taco salads are delicious too!

Cooking can be daunting at first but I made food in large quantities so I have plenty of leftovers for fast and easy meals. If I'm grilling chicken then I do enough for that dinner plus lunch and dinner the next day. Soups/stews often make a large amount and can be frozen for easy reheating later. Even if you don't have much time/joy for cooking it can be done infrequently with large batches.
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:31 AM   #15
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I ate it a lot at one point. Sometimes twice a day. But I'd say on average, probably about 4 or 5 times a week. And while I'm certainly no angel all time time eating wise, that's one thing I've gone cold turkey on and actually don't miss. When I get cravings it's very rare that they are for fast food. Believe me, there is hope!

I don't think it's something I could easily "wean" off of- because as soon as you have it, say, more than once, you start to crave it more. I do really like Angel's "frosty Fridays" idea though!
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