The announcement hangs in their air, inviting you further inside.
“Hello Moe!” I answer ….
“What will you have today? Joey Bag of Donuts?” The smile from Moe is mesmerizing. It beckons you.
“No Moe. I think today I shall have a Homewrecker.”
“Everything on it?” Moe says, already piling the toppings on.
“Yes Moe …. please do!” I look down convinced Moe can see the puddle of drool developing under my feet.
“How about some queso in there as well??”
“I love you Moe.” Tears are welling in my eyes.
“I love you too John … in fact I am going to throw in a big sack of salty nacho’s with more queso on the side just to show you how much I love you.”
I sob in delight …. and sit down to eat …. all of it … every last crumb.
1,066 calories later (not including 49g of fat, which is 75% of a normal daily intake, and 102g of Carbs) I waddle out of the restaurant. Any thought of “working it off in the gym” gone out of my head. I want to go home … now … and sleep for about 12 hours.
That was my life a year ago … that along with sneaking lunches of 6 cheeseburger and fries from Burger King, or 5 cheeseburgers and fries form McDonald’s on the drive home, before having dinner three hours later. I was in a definite downward spiral. I am not sure why it had come to this. I hated my job, so probably had something to do with it. Stressors at home added to it as well. Money problems. Everything compounds, so the only escape you have is eating … because to be honest … it helped. Kind of like a smoker saying that cigarettes calm them down …. I was killing myself slowly in much the same way … eating myself to diabetes, or a heart attack, at 46. I hit 302 pounds before I stopped the slide.
But is ALL fast food bad? It can’t be right? I see some of them (McDonald’s being one) that are making an effort to lower their fat and calories. I read today in the NY Times that the Happy Meal is being revamped to a more “healthy” level. An if you look at the Egg McMuffin it’s actually not that bad (300 Calories, 12g Fat, 30g Carbs). Not much different than most breakfast you make at home.
I think where they sneak up on you are the places that advertise healthy options and when you look at the numbers are full of sugar and fat. The McDonald’s Smoothies come to mind, any of the Starbucks Frap’s or Latte’s.
The easiest thing is just to avoid fast food entirely, but that is easier said than done. We are bombarded with ads on TV and Radio. We see two or three establishments on every block driving to and from home. The smell is enticing, even if we are full it makes us hungry (and don’t think they don’t know it too). Even at my gym, LA Fitness in New Tampa, you walk out of a work out and the first thing you see, right across the parking lot, is a Five Guys burger place. No healthy eating anywhere in that plaza (a business opportunity waiting to happen in my opinion).
So what’s the trick? Personally I have not had fast food in well over 8 months (with the exception of one Five Guys burger in there somewhere). But would it kill me, or my regimen, to have a Big Mac one day (540 Calories, 29g Fat, 45g Carbs)? Probably not … if it would stop at ONE. But here’s the rub … for me at least it won’t stop at one. I would have one, gain weight the next day, get frustrated, and think “Hell with it” and eat full speed ahead.
I can’t risk it ….