Food That Moves

It took me a long time to learn that food that is really good for me doesn’t move easily. What am I talking about?

Fast food, of course.

Here’s the scenario: You’re in your car alone.  The CD is playing, the air conditioning is on, the traffic isn’t too annoying.  Did I mention that you are alone?  For me, driving alone in a car was open season on fast food drive thrus.  There was something about driving by myself that made me hungry.  And I was never hungry for carrots and celery.  No, I wanted something “good.”  I wanted something “bad!”  I knew I shouldn’t do it.  But it was as if the car had a mind of its own.  Before I knew it, the turn signal was on, the brakes were applied and I was turning into a fast food restaurant. 

It didn’t really matter what kind of restaurant it was, although I did avoid tacos and Italian food because those were hard to eat while driving.  After all, I might spill something on myself and have to explain the big red stain on my clothes.

Even avoiding that type of food there were still many choices, and once I pulled up to the restaurant of the day, I had to decide whether I was going to order one meal or two.  Sometimes I wanted two orders of fries, but I didn’t want to cashier at the window to think I was going to eat both fries myself, so I’d often just order a whole extra meal hoping she would assume I was “taking it home” to someone else.  After receiving the correct number of meals, I hardly waited to pull away from the window before I was reaching my hand into the bag and stuffing my face with fries, etc.  I would inhale the food so fast you would think that I hadn’t eaten for days, when the truth of the matter was, this was an “extra” meal.  Not just an “extra big” meal, but a whole different meal for me.  It didn’t matter what time of day it was, if I was alone in the car, I frequently visited a restaurant. 

Women I speak with now, share how they too, frequent fast food restaurants when they are alone in the car.  No one knows how much they purchase, or how much they eat.  This habit can easily cause quick weight gain, as fast food restaurants have some healthy offerings, but you do have to be very careful in your choices.

Personally, I was consuming thousands of extra calories every week by this habit alone.  I never told John I had eaten an extra meal.  I would pull into a gas station on the way home, and throw the bag and drink cup away.  Sometimes if I was on my way to pick him up, he’d get in the car and say, “It smells like Chick-fil-A in here.”  I would just look blankly at him like I had no idea what that man was talking about.  He wisely didn’t pursue the subject! 

If you find yourself  often eating in the car, here are some suggestions to break that habit:

  1. Don’t pull in.
  2. Always have something healthy to eat in your purse or in your car.
  3. Like Vickie has shared, keep your purse locked up in the trunk. 
  4. Keep track of how much money you are saving and buy yourself something special.
  5. Always have a cold beverage with you so you won’t fall into the trap of “I’m just here for a drink,” and then find yourself holding a bag of food.
  6. When you do visit a fast food restaurant, know the nutritional values and order the healthier options.
  7. If you “accidentally” eat an extra meal of fast food, confess to someone! Don’t be a secret eater like I was!

It won’t always be easy to resist the aroma of grilled burgers and fries, but each time you pass that restaurant without giving into temptation, the more confidence you will develop in yourself.  And the more confidence you have the easier your journey may be.

Question: Were you ever a drive thru addict? How did you break the cycle?  Diane

36 thoughts on “Food That Moves

  1. Susan says:

    I don’t think I was ever a fast food addict but I did eat my fair share of fast food back in the day. When I decided to get healthy I knew I had to quit eating burgers, fries and tacos. I made a decesion and I think that is what it always comes down to that I would start cooking at home eating out less. Gradually, we stoped eating fast food and going out to restaraunts as well. In less we are traveling we eat at home and sometimes cooking every day gets old!
    After reading the book the End Of Overeating I am revolted and sickened by what the fast food chains are doing to our country! We live across the street from BK, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Checkers and they disgust me!! Educate yourself on good nutrition and that will help you break the cycle!
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Fitness Blogging Resumes =-.

  2. Amy says:

    oh Diane.. i so could have written this post!! I had my own separate bank account that Hubs didn’t have access to, with just enough money in it for my FF addiction. Wow..reading this was a revelation.

    How did I break the habit? I’m still working on it. It’s been almost 3 weeks since I’ve been thru a drivethru. Last Saturday I circled a Wendy’s 3x. I won that fight. And it made me stronger for the next one. (I pass SEVERAL FF resto’s on my way home from WW) That’s always my most tempting time. I’ve just weighed in for the week.. I’m either in the mood to celebrate with some fries and a burger or I need to wallow in some…

    But i don’t NEED to. I really need NOT to, in order to win this battle.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Who am I writing for? =-.

  3. Marcelle says:

    McDonalds only came to South African in my early 30’s so we were not used to drive thru’s – when I did, it was meals for myself and the kids and only treats.

    When I came to Germany there were lots more drive thru’s but we so not in the habit that we hardly ever and I have never gone in one for myself only. Hubby has – but never me.

  4. vickie says:

    this was a REALLY big part of my problem. And I would cycle through this with specific items. It would be once every couple days, then once a day, then a couple times every day – all for a specific non-food/food item. I would get STUCK on a specific thing.

    And now this is a sign that I am under stress. now – if I even think about going through drive thru – it is a sign that all is not well. because when I am well (now, after many years) I don’t think about it.

    in the beginning it was a battle – I had to not carry cash and as you said – leave my purse in the trunk of my car.
    .-= vickie´s last blog .. =-.

  5. John says:

    Surprisingly I wasn’t a drive thru addict putting on the weight but I was a fast food addict. Part of the reason for not driving in is KFC and the grocery store didn’t have drive thrus. The other is the Wendy’s here would quite often be quicker going in yourself.

    I got off the addiciton by realizing how much money I was spending on fast food. $140+/,month!

  6. Carla says:

    Several months ago before I started blogging and reading other blogs, I thought I was the only one who did this kind of thing. Often at McDonald’s I would eat two breakfasts, I frequently hit the Tim Horton’s drive thru and ate a box of 40 Timbits (donut holes) to myself, and of course there was the ever present chocolate that was eaten in the car while driving anywhere. I also used to stop somewhere and throw out the wrappers!!! Thanks for sharing your experiences with this.
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..A strange conversation at the gym =-.

  7. Sandy says:

    I can relate to this not because of the fast food but because we have a wonderful Frozen Custard shop in town. It is our treat to go in the evening and have a kid’s dish if they have one of our favorite flavors that day. I have been guilty of going during the day and getting my own dish sometimes small, sometimes a kid’s if it is Heath Bar or on very weak willed days even one of the flavors that I really like a lot. Then I eat it there in the car and throw the cup away without having to tell anyone.

    i do not eat fast food anymore unless we are traveling but I sure do have the urge to stop sometimes. Then I call my daughter and say I have really been craving Arby’s today and then I can’t give in because I made a point of telling someone.

  8. Diane says:

    I was never a drive through addict, and probably for one big reason. I hate to drive, and when I drive I have to keep both hands on the wheel at all times or I go into a total freak out mode.I cannot even drink water when driving ! The day after I got my license I was driving my husband home from work and we decided to go through the drive through at an ice cream shop to get a cone to celebrate. Maneuvering through the small lane sent me into a panic attack( I cannot do car washes, drive up banking and toll booths for the same reason), and when I got my cone I could not drive with one hand and eat with the other and wound up smashing the ice cream cone on the driver side window, Sometimes fears can be a very good thing !
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Wonders will never cease =-.

  9. Stacy @ Moderate Means says:

    This is my biggest hurdle. I am addicted to fast food. Two breakfasts? No problem. Stop on the way to work and buy lunch? Of course…and then eat lunch again when I got there.

    It’s a constant struggle for me. For me, continued avoidance helps – the longer it’s been since I’ve eaten FF, the easier it is. The other is budget. I had to stop carrying cash (because FF purchased with cash can be hidden) and stop leaving money in my account for it. Without money, I am forced to stop buying.

  10. Barbara says:

    I’ve had some similar drive thru experiences. I think for me it was an antidote for depression. The fries or ice cream would raise my spirits. Then the secrecy and the getting away with it also made me feel good. I don’t do it any more but then now I am not depressed anymore. We have to be grateful that we feel better and can better take care of ourselves.

  11. Emergefit says:

    In the 3 years of my life that I chose to be obese, I can’t say that went through a single drive thru. I was a delivery addict; pizza and Chinese mostly. You see, that way I could get more obese without others seeing me. Sad. I’mnot sure if you have written about delivery junkies in the past, but if not, maybe you should…
    .-= Emergefit´s last blog ..Four themes; one conclusion… =-.

  12. asithi says:

    I only been through the drive-thru a handful of times by myself. I didn’t started driving until my 20s, but for some reason I have this fear of scrapping up my rims by going through the drive-thru. Partly I think it upsets my husband that I am not careful with my new car (new back then) and so I just never developed that habit.

    But these days, it has gotten to the point there I cannot eat most of the fast food without getting anupset stomach within an hour or two. I think it is the oil they use to cook the food. It just does not agree with my digestive system. Good thing I do not have this problem with Starbucks because I like my sugar and caffeine!
    .-= asithi´s last blog ..Exercise Videos: Does it really work? =-.

  13. says:

    I was never a drive through attic. Not that I never went through a drive through and got stuff that no one saw me eat it just wasn’t my food binge choice.

    I did however eat in secret. I don’t do that any more.If I want to eat something that I normally don’t include in my daily diet I go ahead and eat it in front of other people. No hiding, no sneaking, no shame.

    There is a quote that I like, What you eat in private, you wear in public. Who was I kidding with my secret eating anyway!
    .-=´s last blog ..This Little Piggy =-.

  14. Erin says:

    My drive-thru addiction broke when my driver’s side window broke and I could no longer roll it up and down. Instead of opening the door to order, then to pay, then to receive the food, I used the broken window as a tool to avoid the drive-thru. Now that I have my new car, my old drive thru habit is broken. My new functional driver’s window is not an excuse to use the drive-thru!
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Promises, Promises =-.

  15. Fran says:

    I’ve done a lot of wrong things in the past and sometimes still do when it comes to eating but going to drive thru’s was never one of them. The only drive thru’s we have here in Holland are McDonalds and I’m not a big fan of that. If we eat McDonalds once a year it’s a lot.

    I also never eat or did eat in my car.
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..A day in my life: Wednesday May 5, 2010 =-.

  16. Amy says:

    In our town we have one drive-thru (the Belgian version of McDonald’s called “Quick”)! I did go to it occasionally when the kids were smaller (and I was heavier!) but luckily for me the fast food is comparatively expensive here which really helped preventing it becoming a habit… I think it must be so hard to resist fast food in the US, between the constant marketing, the cheap prices and the incredible convenience (a drive thru on every corner), it’s no wonder people get addicted to it.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Most Wobbly Treadmill EVER! =-.

  17. Stacy says:

    Fast food = instant heartburn for me. I live so close to many different FF restaurants, but I’m a bit of a foodie, so I don’t really want to eat at most of them. A few that have “good” ingredients I will eat from, but I try to choose healthier on those rare occassions (salads, vegetarian meals).

    I can see how FF restaurants can be quite addictive, though. Some of it does taste really good, but I focus more on how it makes me feel afterwards. I feel yucky.
    .-= Stacy´s last blog ..Balsamic rosemary dressing =-.

  18. Taryl says:

    I still have a weakness for junk food when I am out with the kids (on the rare occasion I have a vehicle I can drive). I don’t use strategies, I don’t hide. I just order honestly, a normal meal, and account for the calories in my food log. I don’t let myself ‘not count’ the meal, because that sets me up for disaster.

    My only real solution, besides accountability, is that I CAN’T drive out to get it, due to tbe lsckof car, and we’re on a budget I am usually more motivated to stick to than I am motivated to eat junk. I often guess at how many hours of work my husband will have to work for a given purchase, food or no, and that often dissuades me!
    .-= Taryl´s last blog ..Itty bitty bloggy hiatus =-.

  19. Sharla says:

    Taco Bell saw me daily if not more.
    I think your point of having a cold drink with you is key. I do stop at Mc D’s as they have their xl iced tea (unsweet) for 69cents. Before I leave the driveway, I put the correct change in the ash tray and my purse in the back. This way I only leave with the tea.

    Now,if I want a quick lunch out, I go to Whole Foods and get a fresh, yummy, organic salad from their salad bar and a piece of dark chocolate. Best lunch!

  20. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, I loved that title & then when I learned what the post was about! Loved this suggestion: Keep track of how much money you are saving and buy yourself something special. Now that might motivate some! Also loved that leaving the purse locked in the trunk! Never thought of that!

    I never really was a fast food drive thru person. My weight came on young & was part of the family dynamics. Loved the sweets vs. that hamburger/fries thing too. Not that I did not like those too BUT I loved to eat sweets!

    Thx for a great post & suggestions!
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Food CHOICES & Planning! =-.

  21. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    I’ve never been much for eating meals in the car, so this one hasn’t been a big obstacle. Now, stopping at a convenience store, picking up a Little Debbie snack cake (or two) and inhaling it practically before I was out of the parking lot? Well, I plead the Fifth on that one. 🙂
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..WYSIWYG Weekend =-.

  22. Michelle says:

    Hi Diane. I cannot honestly say that I have had a similar issue with fast food. However in saying that in my younger years I am sure that is all my terrible teenage diet consisted of! hahaha.

    My issue was more so with the sweeter things in life. In my wiser years I look more so to the reasons behind the actions I would take with food and the way I feel about myself.

    I have written an article called – How To Stop Feeling Ugly When You Look In The Mirror. I understand that everyone is different but I also think that we all face similar reasons or situations regardless of what and when we eat. Best Wishes. Michelle
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Books I Am Reading May 2010 =-.

  23. Michelle says:

    Hi Diane. I cannot honestly say that I have had a similar issue with fast food. However in saying that in my younger years I am sure that is all my terrible teenage diet consisted of! hahaha.

    My issue was more so with the sweeter things in life. In my wiser years I look more so to the reasons behind the actions I would take with food and the way I feel about myself.

    I have written an article called – How To Stop Feeling Ugly When You Look In The Mirror. I understand that everyone is different but I also think that we all face similar reasons or situations regardless of what and when we eat. Best Wishes. Michelle
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Books I Am Reading May 2010 =-.
    Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!

  24. Mia says:

    When I learned the nutritional value of FF, I was shocked!! I couldn’t eat it anymore, nor feed it to my family except on rare occasions (and even then we prefer places like Subway). And I’m not sure how it came about, but I developed a rule to never eat in the car. I had noticed that whenever I got in the car, I became “hungry”! Pavlov’s dog!! I needed to break that association. Now it is much easier and I do sometimes eat in the car, but it is because I am truly hungry!

  25. Ashley says:

    I wasn’t a drive-thru addict, but my choices changed drastically when I learned about calories! I relied on fast food a lot throughout my reporting career — sometimes you have to eat on the run — but I just made smarter choices. It is possible to eat healthfully at these places, but I understand that isn’t easy for everyone.
    .-= Ashley´s last blog ..Real women? Not quite =-.

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