Weight Loss Support - Fast food cravings? Try this!

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Rock Chalk Chick
04-19-2007, 03:43 PM
If you want a really eye-opening exercise, try this. Next time you decide to stop for fast food, like McDonalds or whatall, (or think you're really "craving" it), make a conscious effort to sit and look at what you're actually eating. Ideally, take it home, unwrap it all, and place it on a proper plate (though you can get a similar effect by laying it out all out on the sandwich wrapper, if you're on the run). A couple years ago I did this with a double cheeseburger combo, so I'll use that as an example. Really look at this meal you "crave" - if you place a fast food cheeseburger and fries on a plate and actually look at it, instead of eating it out of the wrapper/bag, it's really not that appetizing! At all! The cheeseburger usually looks a little slimey and squished, and the fries are nasty compared to nice fresh fries at a pub or restaurant. If you go even further and dismantle the sandwich, peeking at the meat itself, it tends to kill the appetite rather than enhance it!

I've done this and similar "analysis" steps for fast food and other "forbidden" stuff. It's part of the whole idea of "mindful" eating, but it really works for me - once I really took a look at what fast food actually is, I really don't have a whole lot of desire to go back there. If I want a burger, I have a burger - but I'd rather have something that really tastes good over a greasy fast food option. I try to make the effort to eat/order what I would like, but I make the effort to not eat unhealthier foods unless it's really good - if I order a sandwich and fries and the fries are soggy or cold or otherwise bad, I don't just eat them because they're there (which I used to do).

It's worth a try, especially if you feel you're struggling with "losing" or "restricting" certain foods - sometimes we build up something that's off-limits into this fantastic ideal, and if you actually consider what you're looking at it's pretty unappealing! I've never been one for fake mind games ("imagine that ice cream glommed onto your butt" - yeah, I still want it!), but if I actually observe whether something is really palatable or not, it's easy to call up those images the next time I get an impulse to try it again. I'm not saying I'll never eat fast food again, but I really couldn't care less if I do. There are plenty of other foods that are much more worthwhile.

04-19-2007, 03:48 PM
That's really good. I never thought of doing that. I have looked at the burgers they use and they even seem to be the wrong color for meat. Strange!

Very interesting idea. Thanks!

04-19-2007, 05:31 PM
That really does give it a different feeling, Rock Chalk. Eeeeuuwwwww!!!! Those nasty little phony ffries!!!

In fact, I think I'll skip buying one to look at it, thanks to your description! ;)

And if that doesn't put folks off, try looking up the calories on one of the fast food companies' websites... Entire calories for the day, blown on bad food for one meal.


04-19-2007, 05:46 PM
It's too bad i don't think twice or even LOOK twice when I'm hungry. Out of the bag and into my stomach within 20 seconds!

04-19-2007, 06:24 PM
that's a good idea, i don't eat fast food much but i'm going to try to remember that before i stop for a burger somewhere. :)

Rock Chalk Chick
04-19-2007, 06:40 PM
It's too bad i don't think twice or even LOOK twice when I'm hungry. Out of the bag and into my stomach within 20 seconds!

That's the trick - it's so quick that you don't notice that the food itself is really pretty foul if you were to take the time to look at it and taste it. It's easy to inhale it straight from the bag and let it slide down your throat - but if you actually assess whether it's really something you WANT to be eating, based on aesthetics, it's really pretty unappealing.

I've come to the point that I try to approach every meal as a gourmet - I savor each bite and stop eating as soon as it stops being pleasurable or satisfying. I refuse to eat lesser-quality foods unless they serve a good purpose (i.e. there are times when I'm too busy to eat mindfully and I eat functionally instead), and I'm finally starting to stop obsessing over what I "can" and "can't" have. I can have full-fat ice cream or steak or fries or whatever strikes me as appealing - I just can only have it when I actually want it and not just because it's "there", and only as long as I really want and enjoy it. And a slimey cheeseburger doesn't really fall under that category.

04-19-2007, 06:53 PM
I just don't buy them at all, LOL.

If I crave a fast food item, the first thing I do is go online and find the nutritional information. If what I want has too many calories or too much fat, that right there is enough to keep me from buying it in the first place ;)

04-19-2007, 06:58 PM
I've done this and similar "analysis" steps for fast food and other "forbidden" stuff. It's part of the whole idea of "mindful" eating, but it really works for me - once I really took a look at what fast food actually is,

There is a book that really helped me on the diet called "full catastrophe living" that has a chapter on food that gives a ton of these tips.

It isn't just for fast food. Before eating anything you can examine its textures; try to figure out how it was made; try to imagine who made it; ask yourself if you want the food in your body before you eat it; try to listen to your body while eating; can you find the exact moment when you have had enough? Do you hear noises gas etc. ? What happens when you do find the enough moment? Does your body push you to keep going? How does your body feel after dinner? Heavy or light? Tired of energenic? Does this change with the food you eat. Look at your food with a beginners mind -- pretend your 4 years old and are just getting food for the first time. What would a 4 year old say and do upon seeing a meal? Why is califlower white? How come salmon is pink while most fish is white.

04-20-2007, 01:45 AM
Nice idea! I will try it later on, on those days when cravings are really a bother.

So far, when walking past the McDonald's and feeling the slightest wish of entering and ordering, I've resorted to looking for some dog poop on the pavement (not hard to find, French people are pigs who let their dogs crap everywhere :lol:), and tell myself: "Look. This is CRAP. And crap is what you're about to put in your body. Do you deserve that?" The answer being logically no, I more and more end up eating something else than McDo junk food. Oddly enough, that plate of green beans at home looks way more appetizing all of a sudden. ;)

04-20-2007, 06:36 AM
Ya know I can truely appreciate the underlining meaning of this thread. To take a look, a really good look at what your eating.It's a fabulous idea/concept. Something many of us have done or are doing as we search to make changes in our lifestyle. IE; Baked vs. Fried.. along with the vast array of tiny choices we make day in and day out to improve our meals and health.

I guess at this point in my journey I come at this from a different perspective then the majority whom posted here. I need to know no matter where I go, that I can indeed make healthier choices, even at a place such as Mcdonalds.

Truth be told... I love Mconalds! There as American as apple pie and baseball now!! I Love to travel. To date I have been to England, Switzerland, Germany, Isreal, Netherlands, and lived in Austria for a few years. If you want to get to know a countries culture... Hit a Mom & Pop joint, go to a grcoery store, and pop into a Mcdonalds. Even right here in our own backyards... The regional differences in a Mcdonalds are fun! There have been a few times I have gotten Homesick when traveling abroad and all it took was just one look at those golden arches.

Ahhhh, life before children.... :lol:

Now, I'm a busy mom with three children, ages 14,12, and 9. We spend a lot of our time on the road between work, school's, baseball, softball, pioneer's , and church, amongst other things. You betcha there are times I turn into Mcdonalds. Granted its usually for the quick easy, or the convienece, or I'm just to tired to even contemplate cooking. From a penny-practical stand-point that dollar menue...makes it far to easy too.

For me personally, my lifestyle is all about meeting Life on Life's terms. When I see the golden arches now, I dont see burger and fries... I see side salad (20 cals.) my all time favorite dressing Paul Newmans Seaseme Ginger (90 cals. & 2.5 fat ) a yogurt parfait w/out granola (130 cals. 2 gr. fat ) apple dippers, hold the carmel ( 35 cals. ) and the biggest water they got! If I am feeling really indulgent sometimes I order a McChicken no mayo. Dump the lettuce in my salad, toss the bun, and dice the chicken up and add that to my salad as well.

I know I must sound like an advocate for Mcdonalds. But I'm not. We probably only go there twice a month. I guess what I am trying to say is nothing or no place is off limits. Not if I can still make good choices. The more I deny myself the more I want it.

04-20-2007, 08:49 AM
Hey sweetnsassyfied,

Although I don't have quite the same warm feelings about Mickey D ;) I do know that it's important to know how to eat right no matter what restaurant you walk into. Sounds like you have found some strategies! I, too, know what I can eat if I have to go to McD's--and in the last few months there have been a couple of times when I did, while traveling.

I like this thread, too! The more aware we can be of what we're eating, the better.


04-20-2007, 09:19 AM
Hey Jayell :wave: most here at 3FC just call me sassy, feel free! Not that I cant be sweet just that sassy seems to fit better. ;)

Yeah, I guess its true I do have a warm fuzzie for McD's. I grew up and out with them. :o Thankfully they have grown up too. And can offer me better for my buck now. Or is it me who can make better choices now? Or perhaps I have a good taste in my mouth from eating there yesterday. :lol: Had their new Southwestern Salad and it was fabulous!! Still used the Seaseme Ginger Dressing... I adore that stuff! :)

Hope you have wonderful day and I agree this thread is great!

04-20-2007, 09:54 AM
You must have more options than us in your McDonald's then... Here it's basically:
- French fries/fried potatoes
- Hamburgers and their many variations (cheeseburgers, quarterpounders, and all the rest)
- Sugary beverages (at least there IS mineral water, though)
- Salads that aren't terrific at all, and often are MORE expensive than the traditional drink + burger + fries (the salad itself tastes like bleach -- unwrapping it when I was working there was actually pretty disgusting because of the smell).
- Cookies/brownies/Sundae and other desserts.

I WISH there were other options! At least I wouldn't feel at unease when my friends absolutely want to go there. :(

(And now you can see why I try to avoid it like the plague.)

04-20-2007, 11:15 AM
I think all McDonald's food is disgusting. I hate the salads, too, I can taste the sweetness in the seasonings and dressings, it all tastes like fake food to me :barf: We pretty much stopped going at all to McD's after we watched "Supersize Me" :fr:

However the idea to actually look at the food we are eating is a fantastic way to get turned onto better food - afterall what looks better, a soggy frozen burger made from poor quality meat, topped with processed cheese, fatty mayo, sugary ketchup and nutrient-void iceberg salad, on a refined grain bun... or a nice salad made with grilled chicken, fresh ripe tomatoes, red onions, cucumber and seasoned with heart-healthy extra-virgin olive oil and yummy balsamic vinegar? No-brainer, right?

So that's an excellent point - being aware of what the food we are eating is definitely one of the most important things to teach ourselves in our journey to a slimmer, healthier version of each os us :)

Sorry, stepping off the soapbox now :o