Friday, June 26, 2009

Fast Food Screwup

Last month, I spent a lot of time and too much money on drive thrus. Every time I went out... 3 or 4 times a week... I'd end up going for fast food: McDonald's, Arby's, Wendy's. And oh the iced coffees I drank from McD's and Starbucks. It got totally out of control for about a month, mainly because I was dealing with a lot of "stuff" and fast food seems 1) convenient when you're on the run all day and 2) a special way of "treating" myself to something I really like. It was my stress release, my calming mechanism, my "break" from reality (seriously, haven't you almost gone into a food coma when you're sitting in a parking lot eating some unhealthy food? It's like the whole world disappears around you. I have to park. I can't drive and eat. I would totally wreck my car while concentrating on my food so much). It's no secret that's why I gained 9 pounds last month. It was all fast food.

So this month I've been diligently working on breaking that habit. Less junk, less trips through the drive thru. Only there's one problem. I unwittingly conditioned my 3-year-old to expect a kid's meal every time we go out.

We go to the store and it's "Let's go to McDonald's!" We have a doctor appointment and it's "I want some chicken nuggets!" A trip to gymnastics class results in begging for french fries and a milkshake. Oh, how I regret those drive thru trips now!

Now, if you've read my blog for long, you know I am not totally anti-fast-food. I don't mind going for a kid's meal once in awhile (as in, maybe twice a month). I am not all about banning candy, either, but she thinks she has got something really special when I give her 5 dark chocolate covered raisins a couple times a week. Moderation. Which I had none of last month.

And so we went out to run some errands today and my child started clamoring for a kid's meal from Arby's. "No," I said, "I don't like Arby's." (Well I don't like what it does to my body....) And she replied, "That's okay, you don't have to eat anything." Oh the wisdom of youth...

On down the road we went. "I'm hungry!" she said. "Please take me for some chicken nuggets and milk!" I wavered. Maybe. We'll see. Visions of Dairy Queen started dancing in my head. I started thinking about the tantrum I'd have to deal with if I said no. I wavered some more. By the time we were on the way home, I knew I was going to make that left-hand turn into the DQ drive thru. And I did! I got her a kid's meal. And I got a burger and fries and Coke and some ice cream. And when I turned around in the car to give it to her, SHE WAS ASLEEP.

I was so annoyed with myself. Why didn't I just go home? Why'd I buy this crap yet again? But I was hungry. And I ate it. In the car. I have a fry sauce stain on my shirt to prove it.

I came home and carried her in to nap and sat down to think about this. I've come to a couple of conclusions, here.

1) Neither of us needs fast food. If she has a Happy Meal in the future it is going to be a special occasion or a road trip. Not on a jaunt out for groceries.

2) I really have to get better about calmly saying no with my toddler. I never gave in to my older four kids this way. Maybe because she is the baby. Maybe because she is the girl. I dunno. She is so happy and sunshiney and sweet, and I just like to see her happy. But indulging her every whim is not going to create a balanced person. She has to be okay with being told NO.

3) I am going to make some small ziplocks of food and keep them in my purse and my car. Whole grain cereals, granola bars, almonds, peanuts, dried fruits. Then when we are on the road and she starts with the "I'm hungry" business, I can just hand her a reasonable snack to hold her over until we get home. And I am also going to bring water bottles with us from now on. No more stopping for iced coffee because I am hot and thirsty!

I have a really unhealthy love for greasy, salty, sugary fast foods. But I love fresh veggies and fruits, too. And well made, healthy meals. Wouldn't it be nice if I saved up all the money I spend on fast food in a month, and instead, went out to a nice healthy gourmet restaurant for one nice meal a month?? I would probably spend less doing that. And we aren't rich. The whole fast food thing last month because a budget problem. Better to splurge on fresh produce and lean meats, and let go of the unhealthy, icky fast food.

My daughter slumbers on the couch, and I am sitting here with a belly full o' grease. I wish I could go back and have a redo. Funny how after I ate it, I felt SO content, calm, and peaceful inside. But then after I snap out of it and realize what I have done, I am disgusted. I guess it's like getting drunk and waking up naked next to some guy you don't remember meeting. I haven't ever had that happen to me, but I would imagine the feelings are similar. Gotta stop giving in, gotta stop losing control. Need to stay sane, abstain, and be proud of myself.

I wrote about what happened, here, because I always try and be real. I always want to learn from my mistakes. And I want readers to see what it's like to have this kind of unhealthy relationship with food. The struggle is very real. I don't always win. But I never give up.

Tonight's dinner will be very light. Vegetable filled. A compensation for the calorie avalanche that befell my body this afternoon. And I'll bike. All I can do is live every moment the best I can. Just as I can't control the future, I can't control the past, either. So here and now I am living healthy. Onward...


Megan said...

I was watching the dog whisperer and found myself wishing someone would do that little neck nipping snap you out of it move to me when I get in that food obsessed coma place. You said it right, onward and upward. As my dad says, there's 21 meals in a week, make em count!

Graze With Me said...

Honest. Real. True.
Keep it up, we all struggle from time to time.

I love your blog regardless, it's nice to read about more than the "fluff" of life.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, I relate.

I was so proud yesterday when I was able to go get my kids happy meals and sit in the playplace and have nothing but those McD's apples - sans caramel sauce. I had been denying them going to McHealthy's playplace, too, just to save myself.

Yknow I can toooooooooooootally know that feeling all too well that you have after eating a whole bunch in the car. You totally feel like all is right and content in the world, calm and quiet... then over time when I'm exhausted and sluggish at home and feeling bloated from the salt - the truth hits me.

Oh yeah and if I eat in the car, with no intention of bringing it home or something... I allllways overdo it. Way, way overdo it. Like Can I have a double cheeseburger meal with a hot n spicy mcchicken on the side - WTH??

Hallie said...

I love your list of three solutions to your problem. Excellent ideas!

*Fitcetera* said...

I was chatting with my friend online just a few days ago when he said that his daughter was bugging him for an ice cream sandwich. I asked him if he was going to give it to her and he said no, fruit first. I said wow, you're tough and he said ty. :)
so the next day i asked him if she ever got the iced cream sandwich and he said no. again, i said you're tough and asked him how did he NOT give it to her? and he said he just changed the subject and diverted her attention and she forgot all about it.

laine said...

An idea for car snacks - I found freeze dried blueberries and strawberries at trader joes today. So yummy and crunchy and fun, and perfect to stash in the car. Just freeze dried fruit, no other ingredients. I'm having them for dessert. A whole bag is 120 calories, with 7 grams of fiber.

Winivere said...

Sometimes, we don't notice what we are doing until we notice our kids are imitating us. Scary; isn't it?!

wyndymoon said...

Good going in avoiding the binge/junk. I have been struggling with that this past to weeks and losing. I need to figure out why I keep sabotaging myself.
Don't know yet if I'll tweet my eats but my twitter name is 'wyndymoon'.

Swansong said...

Great great great post and I could relate with you 100% on this one and most of your other posts if not all! I was at the grocery store yesterday and my cart looks soooo healthy with peaches, nectarines, fresh corn, taters, onions, strawberries and wondering why i eat so much CRAP when I really do love me some fresh fruit and veggies.

Kelly said...

Love your blog and your honesty. I have experienced a food-coma more times than I want to remember or admit. I can totally relate to your struggles. Good luck!

Hanlie said...

How about planning trips around meal times? I do that... I come home from gym, have breakfast and then do errands, coming back in time for lunch. Otherwise I go places after lunch. You will both benefit from the structure. Come to think of it, this is how I grew up... We NEVER had anything to eat while out and about. We ate at home and on the rare occasion that we couldn't, my mom would bring sandwiches and fruit. We never ate in the car though.

Lisa said...

I love fast food too because it see,s like part of a tradition after dr/s appointments, on weekends when we are out running errands. Like family time or something? Weird I know...

Anonymous said...

I'm with you girl, you're not alone at all. My hubby brought home the largest bag of tortilla chips because I was making chicken fajitas. Um, like "What are you thinking?" At least that what I was thinking when I was counting how many chips I was eating. Geeze! Heh, no guilt, its already in the past. No use dwelling on it either, don't want to attrack more of the same. You're doing well when you look at the big picture, not the small stuff. Linda

Anonymous said...

I bought a small cooler that will hold about 6 bottles of water, or whatever you like to drink. Every time we get ready to go shopping, movies, etc. we put 4 bottles of water, 2 bottles of diet soda or protein shakes and 2 protein bars. If we get hungry or thirsty while we are out, we have waht we "need" without having to stop at those tempting drive thrus for a cup or water. Yeah right, how many times are we going to only get a cup of water. My brain will say, they are going to think you are cheap, just order a cheese stick or fry...whcih I don't really need or want.

Give it a try. You will find it feels great to not pay $1.50 for a small bottle or water. In addition, you can drive "BY" the fast food instead of driving "THRU" them.

Keep up the good work and you will get there!

South Beach Steve said...

Lyn, I know exactly how you feel. What you didn't mention is that it also got you in the habit (subconsciously). The points you make at the end are great. I love the idea about packing some healthy foods. Lyn, I can tell you are making some serious mindset changes. Just keep plugging away at it.

Vickie said...

consider having HER plan and pack her foods (and water) for the car. It will teach her about portions, healthy options, planning ahead, realistic expectations for what the day will bring.

I would guess that this all has more to do with her past health histories than girl/baby. And I think that is pretty normal - you went through a lot with her and you were in the 'pack pounds on' mind frame with her - because she was so frail.

this is a really good opportunity for you. And to be honest - when my kids want stuff that we used to do - I just say - that was before I knew better. Now I know better and so do you. My kids would be considered to be food snobs by most of the general population. McD's was a constant event before - now NONE of them would be caught dead eating anything from there. We were looking for COLD water bottles one day last week - and none of the kids would allow me to go through McD drivethru for WATER - just on the principle of junk food - they think they should all go out of business to save people from themselves (now).

PaulaMP said...

I haven't posted in a long time but I've been reading faithfully.

I grew up in the late 50s, early
60s. We never had any money either. Things were very different foodwise then though, for everybody. People ate three meals a day, if you went out to a restaurant on the rare occasion, the plate was a regular dinner plate, not the platters we are all accustomed to today. There was no such thing as eating and drinking all day long. No drive-thru's.

Now we have shopping carts with handy cup holders, every vehicle comes with 18 of them. In the old days to eat in the car was just not done. Movie theaters did not have cup holders. Our malls now have pop vending machines every few feet. How did we become a nation of people that can't walk five feet without eating or drinking something? In fact I'm so old I remember when malls didn't have food courts!

Maybe for "normal" people all these things are not a temptation, but for those of us with a problem, it seems food is always in our face. Every commercial is about food when you are trying not to snack. I have an internet friend whose sister is a personal trainer, she told her why do you think you need to be snacking all the time? So she cut it out and now from her pictures she must have dropped 30 lbs, she looks wonderful.

I am just rambling here, but I truly think the answer is to put food back in the place it was intended, not something to do all day and all night long. It's such a struggle. I'm tired of thinking about food.

Anonymous said...

your description of car food coma is priceless. how about going through the drivethrough and ordering so much food for yourself that you order two drinks so the cashier wont look at you funny. (they ususally did anyway lol). i bet they have some stories!

lately ive been having my weekly cheat with less junk food. it used to be my prize for the end of the week, but somehow, as you get healthier, the fast food is still good, but it loses some of it majical powers. being suspended over time and space gets harder as your body gets cleansed out morei suppose. it still a pleasure, but not as strong as before. keep pluggin' lyn, you're progressing great! awareness is my biggest hurdle and you keep jumping those hurdles with ease.

Lyn said...


I am definitely going to get some of those freeze dried fruits. I've seen them but never bought them. This would be a good use for them! Thanks!


Great suggestion! I have a little cooler I can use for on-the-run foods. Thanks for the reminder.


Ahh. You're right, it probably is more about her health history. Plus the fact that she has major food aversions that cause her to gag and throw up (because of having been on a ventilator) so when I find something she CAN eat, I am thankful! Great idea about having HER plan our snacks and meals. That will totally help!

I loved all the comments on this, very insightful... thanks to all!

anne h said...

I saved all the money I DIDN'T spend on McD's and bought myself a little present...good reward for my new lifestyle!

Jenn said...

This really struck home with me, as I have a 3 year old and an almost 2 year old.
I frequently buy them happy meals after our grocery store trips. Lately I've been thinking how I'm working on eating better for myself, yet I give my kids McDonalds - doesn't seem right, does it?
I've vowed to stop the once a week happy meals. They don't need that junk anymore than I do.

Karyn said...

The last paragraph is perfect - "Just as I can't control the future, I can't control the past, either. So here and now I am living healthy." Each moment at a time. That is the only way to get there.

Damon said...

Hey, I just want to say congratulations on breaking the cycle. The science seems to be pretty clear that a lot of our eating habits are set in childhood, so you really are doing a great thing for your daughter by quitting this new routine now!

Sarah said...

Hi Lyn, So I am wondering if the next time you find yourself in this situation you could scale back on what you order? When I find myself in these situations I always order the small or one or the other, like fries or the ice cream. Every little bit helps even when you feel out of control.

Stephanie said...

Hi Lyn - It's been FOREVER since I've posted at my own blog or anyone else's for that matter. Glad to see you are still doing well. So you gained a few, big deal, you will lose it. I am totally with you when you say that you've got a real love of fatty junk food but you also love vegetables. Me, too! If it was just always ready for me to eat, I wouldn't eat crap, I would eat the healthy options. I can see that I need to plan my meals better! I have been eating grilled veggies and even grilled fruit lately and let me tell you - that is fabulous. Try it out - Glad you are hanging in there!

Marcia said...

Hey, I just found your blog. I like it. I really liked this post.

Saying no to a toddler is hard. I have a three year old. They are RELENTLESS. Whether it's asking for a new toy (every freaking day!!) or chocolate milk, it can really get to you.

And truthfully, it only takes "giving in" to them two or three times before they really start expecting it.

Keeping snacks is a great idea. I use nuts, raisins, dates, pretzels...