I’ve written before about my former life as a secret drive-thru queen. I told you how, as if on auto pilot, my car would veer into any open drive-thru window. I also confessed how I would sometimes even order two meals so the cashier wouldn’t think I was going to eat all that food by myself. I also used to eagerly anticipate dropping John off at work so I could swing through the drive thru on the way back home, my lap piled high with Sausage McMuffins, Hashbrowns, and diet Coke.
Although I’ve told you those secrets, I realized I haven’t said much about how I finally broke the fast food habit, and broke the habit of eating a full meal (or two) in between meal times.
I realized as I was walking through my weight loss year, that this fast food habit was very unhealthy both physically and emotionally.
It seemed as though I had very little willpower over the draw of instant, high fat food. Although it wasn’t easy, I was able to conquer my drive thru desire by coming up with an action plan. I realized that I had been able to change habits many times over the course of my life, and so have you. We all have periods of change, rather they are job related, family related, or other things. Even just moving from one house to another requires a concerted effort to remember where in the world we put those plates! I realized that some of my food habits could be changed by practice, just like it took practice to remember where the dishes lived!
So this is what I did. Every time I got into the car, I would think about where I was going, and remind myself where I was not going. If I was going to the mall, then that’s where I was going, not to Chick-fil-A. The hard part came when I approached the favorite restaurant of the month. It took a lot of willpower to not turn the blinker on and pull in. If I really felt the urge to turn in, then I would make a deal with myself. I would tell myself that I would not pull into that particular restaurant, but I would keep driving. If, when I saw the same restaurant up the road I still felt the urge to pull in, then I could. Nine times out of ten, by the time I had driven another mile to the next “set” of restaurants, the seemingly uncontrollable urge to have an extra meal had passed.
Every time I managed to get to my destination and home again without frequenting a fast food restaurant I considered it a victory. A small one, to be sure, but something to be proud of. By giving myself a pep talk before I left the house, and then giving myself the option of stopping if I had to, I finally stopped the bad habit in its tracks. Over and over I had the opportunity to practice the new habit, and the old habit fell by the wayside. There were a few occasions where I slipped up, but even then I found myself making better choices. Instead of ordering the value sized meal (or two), I would order a small fry and share those fries with the kids. That way we all had a little bit of food, and my craving was satisfied. After a few months, I no longer felt the urge to visit the drive thru. I had experienced enough small successes and saw the results adding up in big ways, that I knew my drive thru excursions were gone forever.
There are lots of ways to break this fast food habit, and I’m looking forward to you sharing your strategies with everyone else!
To this day, you will rarely see my twelve passenger van at the drive thru window. My family and I really try to make wise food choices, and fast food restaurants don’t fit those choices very often. And another thing – it costs a lot of money to feed a family of nine at a restaurant! If you were a fast food fan as I was – what strategies have you used to break that habit? Diane