In a world where convenience is king, it takes a lot of determination to quit eating fast food. Even I sometimes find myself pulling out of the drive thru with a bag full of fake food and wondering just why I parted with my hard earned money so easily.
I try with all my might to not feel guilty about it. After all, we all need to make compromises from time to time. As long as eating fast food isn’t habitual, then the occasional meal doesn’t really harm anything. As long as my habits and tastes are shaped by finding, preparing, and eating Real Food, then the few fake food meals I eat are rare exceptions and my body ought to be able to cope.
But I still feel guilty.
There’s a secret part of me that wants to go incognito in the hopes that no one will see me ordering fast food for my kids.
Why? Because I used to go WAY. TOO. MUCH. There was a time — not even all that long ago — where it was common for us to eat fast food three or more times a week. This happened despite my conviction that fast food was inherently bad for our health, bad for the environment, bad for the animals, and bad for immigrant workers.
Getting from there to here took more than will power, and I thought some of you might benefit from the lessons we learned.
Now, if you’re not at all tempted by fast food, congratulations! I’ve got a lot of friends like you, and I envy you. But I grew up with the stuff, grew even more addicted to it in college, and then grew to love its convenience as I started my family. I thought the stuff tasted good, and kicking the fast food habit took time, patience, and a lot of hard work.
How To Quit Eating Fast Food
First, you’ve got to realize just how much influence fast food giants have over you. The first step in becoming immune to their marketing prowess is to recognize their marketing prowess. If McDonald’s can conquer France (a country with a rich culinary history of beautiful slow food meals), then you’ve got to admit the company must be run by a brilliant evil genius. These industries spend millions of dollars a year researching tastes and textures, formulating food in laboratories with enough sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats to keep you addicted. Then they spend even more millions figuring out how to advertise and present these foods so that you won’t care that they never live up to their promises. By deciding to give up fast foods, you’re fighting Goliath.
Next, you’ve got to give yourself grace. Your goal shouldn’t be to give up all fast food forever. It should be to get out of the habit of eating it.