I’m going to give some advice here on how to overcome a fast food addiction. Now the idea here in this article really goes against everything that I normally talk about on this site, and that is that the whole key for beating addiction is complete abstinence.
If you are addicted to alcohol, for example, I recommend complete abstinence from alcohol. Don’t touch it, ever again, if you can help it. That should be the goal.
But I disagree with this line of logic when it comes to an addiction to fast food. Why?
Well first of all, food in general is something that we have to learn to moderate with. We do not have a choice. Abstinence is not an option. We have to eat.
“Ah,” you say, perking right up here “but a person could abstain entirely from just fast food, no?”
Sure, they could. And I am sure that many people who have dealt with this type of addiction, and who have tried to deal with it, have certainly gone that route before. Just totally swear off all fast food forever.
But I don’t think that is the best strategy for everyone.
First of all, different people will have different goals in wanting to overcome this type of condition. Some people may just want to eat healthier. Others may be interested only in losing weight, but not really caring how they do it.
So it would be wise to examine what the real goals are, before setting out to tackle the problem of eating too much fast food. Knowing exactly what you want to change and why will help to determine your approach.
My thought is that most people who try to make a drastic lifestyle change like this have a very tough time of it. Why? Because it is really, really hard to do!
And, most people try to much. They shoot for complete abstinence, right off the bat, and then they beat themselves up when they cave under pressure.
The thing is, fast food is darn convenient. So a slip up is much more easy to occur than most would imagine at first. Sometimes it is almost not even our own fault!
So here is what I suggest most start out with: simply replace one fast food meal over the next week.
That’s right, just skip one fast food stop over a whole entire week. Sound easy enough?
It is easy. But to do it, you actually have to get serious, and you need to take action. If you follow through with it, then this tiny “win” can lead to life-changing momentum. But you have to take it seriously enough to see real progress when you are making it.
I would start by tracking for a week. Don’t try to change. Just track. Log at the end of each day what you ate for each meal and where. Don’t take more than 5 minutes on this. But write it down religiously.
Then, after you have a week or two of data, just make ONE cut. Don’t go nuts. You won’t sustain it if you try to change every meal. Just pick one day, and make a serious effort at changing it to something healthy.
You might make a date of it, with a friend or with your spouse or whatever. Meet at Subway that night and have veggie subs, or whatever.
The goal is to completely replace one meal that is normally unhealthy for you with a healthy one. Period. Just once per week.
Then, make it a habit. Do it every single week. Make it a tradition.
After a month or two of this, THEN you can start to expand your effort. Slowly.
Just add one more meal replacement per week. Pick another night, find another friend that will commit with you, and start eating healthy with them. Every single week, like clockwork.
Get a few wins like this under your belt, and your life will slowly start to change.
PLUS you will not be denying yourself the whole time. You will still indulge. Just not as frequently as in the past.
Recovery through incremental moderation. Works with some addictions, not with others.
It works with eating habits. Try it.