Fat Fridays: Fast Food

This week I have been thinking about fast food. When I was a kid, growing up in the 80s, our family did not eat out very often. Rarely. I remember going to Mcdonalds for my birthday, because that was a special treat. I think our family treated restaurants as an opportunity to eat food we wouldn’t normally get, like Mexican or Asian food. I do remember an occasional trip to Pizza Hut, but wasn’t a normal thing. A treat. 

I spent eight years of my growing up in Haiti where fast food, at that time, was not an option except in the capital city, and we rarely went there. Then, we moved to bush Alaska for my last two years of high school. Again, there weren’t any of the traditional fast food restaurants. There were mom-and-pop restaurants that served hamburgers and french fries for a hefty price, but I don’t know if I ever ate a hamburger and fries while I lived there, or even a pizza. What we did eat was Chinese food. We ate out a little more, still not a lot, and I always got Mongolian Beef. (I was not an adventurous eater, I found one thing I liked and then stuck with it.) When I went to college in Southern California, I didn’t drive and so I only visited the fast food that was in walking distance, a Taco Bell and a little Chinese Restaurant. I did not have a lot of spending money. Two dollars and some change got me two little tacos at Taco Bell that did not fill me up. But, two dollars and twenty-five cents at the Chinese restaurant got me a huge serving of Fried rice and a huge serving of sweet and sour pork. I went for the Chinese. It became my Friday night treat. After two years of college I spent another year overseas where, again, fast food was not available, or I didn’t have a lot of extra money to be spending on it. 

So, it wasn’t until I was married that fast food even became an option. I remember driving around with my husband one day, and he suggested we stop in at Mcdonalds for some food. And I remember feeling this shock, like, wait, we can just go there whenever we want? At the time I was pregnant with our first, and we were taking birthing classes at the hospital. It became our ritual to stop at Mcdonalds afterwards for cheeseburgers, fries, and my favorite, Hi-C Orange Soda. 

Fast forward to the present day. Fast food has become a convenience. The thing to get if I am in a rush and don’t have time to cook. Or, a way to give a special treat to the kids. We probably gets pizza once a week, and I make occasional runs to Mcdonalds, but not that often. My husband and I go out a couple times a month, our favorite kind of food we look for is Mexican and Thai. Since I started this new diet plan I have been trying to avoid fast food. 

This week I was out, I had plans to stop at a restaurant and get a big salad and sit and enjoy myself. Then, my plans changed, and I needed food quickly. I remembered getting salads at Mcdonalds in the past, so I got in a busy drive-thru lane and waited a really long time. When it was finally my turn to order, I found out that Mcdonalds no longer serves salads. (I guess it’s been a while since I’ve ordered a salad.) I was on the spot, hungry, but not wanting to blow my diet. I ended up getting a regular hamburger (250 calories) and a small fry (220 calories) and a diet coke. I ate, it tasted good, I was full, and I didn’t want any more. Victory! 

Then last night I had to run out with my son to handle a broken phone emergency. My husband was home, it was getting on supper time, so he ordered pizza. I came home, hungry, and there was yummy pizza. I got one slice of pepperoni, ate it, then went and got some tomatoes from the kitchen to finish off the meal. It tasted good, I was full and I didn’t want any more. Victory! 

I am so used to letting my cravings and appetite control what I eat, so this has been a big deal to me to see that I can eat the occasional fast food and keep it within a reasonable amount. Self-control. 

In the past, when I was trying to be healthy, I would just avoid all fast food, no matter what. And eventually, that method would fail. Because fast food is everywhere and it’s a part of our eating culture. And it tastes good and it’s very tempting. I still don’t plan on eating very much fast food, but it’s good to know that this is another situation that I can handle if I have to. 

Fat Fridays Week 29: Determination with a Capital D

Hello everyone. How’s it going? Life is tripping along over here at a rapid pace. I can’t believe our summer break is almost over. Only a couple more weeks and my kids will be back in school. Looking back over this summer I can’t say that I made any major progress in the realm of weight loss and healthy living. But, on the other hand, I feel better about myself as a person. I also have not lost hope or sunk down into despair. I now have a better handle on what health issues I need to address right away. I am still feeling hopeful and positive. These are pretty good accomplishments for me as my default behavior has usually been self-hatred and despair which then lead to even worse eating habits. So, yay me!

 

This past week I looked for some inspiration on the good ol’ internet. I found a web page connected to People Magazine that had all kinds of weight loss success stories. People who had lost large amounts of weight and were keeping it off. I would say I read at least twenty of these stories, skimming through them quickly. I loved seeing the BEFORE and AFTER pictures, I don’t know why those are so inspiring, but they are. You see them and think, That could be me! I could do this! I’ve nailed the BEFORE picture, now I’ve just got to get that AFTER picture! I can do it too! 

 

As I skimmed through the articles, I was looking for common denominators. Which diet plan was making this happen? You might be interested to hear that there was no single diet plan that they were all following. I read about Keto, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, counting calories, low-carb, weightloss apps, accountability groups, exercise programs, weight loss competitions. Pretty much, any diet plan you’ve heard about was represented. Which made me realize that Diet Plan was not the common denominator. In fact, what they all had in common was that they all hit a place in their lives where they said, Enough. I’m going to do something. And then they practiced Determination. 

 

It’s all about Determination. Here’s a definition:

Determination: noun. Firmness of purpose, resoluteness. (Google Dictionary)

Here’s some of the synonyms for Determination:

Resolution, resolve, resoluteness, will power, strength of character, single-mindedness, sense of purpose, fixity of purpose, intentness, decision, steadfastness, perseverance, persistence, indefatigability, tenacity, staying power, strong mindedness, backbone, stubbornness, obstinacy, bravery, boldness, courage, pluck. 

 

Wow. What do you need to lose weight? Read through the list of synonyms. 

 

So, I know myself pretty well. I like to think that I have all that, but history has shown that actually, I don’t. I stand in awe of the men and women who have mustered their determination and conquered. They have somehow persisted and managed to lose the weight. I want to be that person. And I am determined that no matter how many times it takes for me to try and fail, I’m going to just pick myself back up and try again. And one day, I’m going to post my AFTER picture.