Addiction to Fast Food

Addiction to Fast Food

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Many people who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction may eventually wind up with an addiction to fast food as well.  And of course there are some people out there who are not drug addict or alcoholics at all, who end up developing a fast food addiction anyway.

So what really defines this type of addiction?  Well, any time that you are eating significantly more fast food than you would like to consume, that would probably qualify.

Also, any time that you are eating fast food when you really don’t want to, that would probably qualify as well.

We always have Wendy's once when we're in Auckland
Creative Commons License photo credit: ohdarling

We all know that eating lots of fast food is unhealthy.  So what can be done about it?

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If you want to make a major change in your life regarding your eating habits then really you have two options.  One is to make the change quickly and the other is to make it slowly.

Now normally I would advocate the fast change.  Being in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, this is what has worked for me in the past.  Complete abstinence is what ultimately worked for me when quitting drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes.

But when it comes to fast food, I tend to advocate a different approach.  I think you should try to make the change more gradual.  I think people will have more success if they do so, rather than trying to quit fast food cold turkey.

Why?

Because people who try to quit it cold turkey ultimately fail.  Not only that, but then when they return to their fast food cycle, they feel much worse and more depressed, because they had been abstaining for a period of time, and then they “blew it.”

I think this approach is a mistake.  I am sure it probably does work for some people, but most of us will need to change more incrementally than this.

For example, say that you generally eat fast food for 10 meals out of each week.  (Tracking will become important if you really want to quit.  Start writing down what you eat for every single meal, and for snacks.  No excuses.  This has to be done or you will never change anything).

So you start tracking your eating habits and you realize that you are eating 10 fast food meals per week.  So what next?

My suggestion is that you reduce it by one.  Just one meal less per week.  That is not so hard, is it?

You could involve your friends or your family with this.  Take one of those fast food dinners each week, and plan a healthy meal instead with someone else.  Involving others can help in a number of ways: one, you get added support.  Two, you get some accountability.  If you are promising to cook them a healthy meal, then it helps to keep you from cheating that night.

So this is how you start to change your life.  You commit to change one single meal each week and turn it into a healthy meal instead.

It is a victory.  A small victory, but one you can easily build on.

Don’t go too fast with it now.  Just stick to that new routine for a while, of substituting one unhealthy meal with a healthy one.  Make it really important.  Commit to it fully.  It is just once per week.  Anyone can commit to that.

Once you have a few weeks of success under your belt, then you can add another small change.  But don’t rush it.  If you try to change too much, too quickly, you will only set yourself up for failure and for disappointment.

Go slowly and deliberately.  You will become healthier and healthier as you change over time.  This is the path to success.

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