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Have you read the glaring headlines lately? “Fast Food as Addictive as Heroin.”Recent headlines say: “Fast Food is Addictive as Heroin”
Pretty shocking stuff, and probably so shocking you skipped right over it thinking such an outrageous claim couldn’t possibly be true. Unfortunately, while more and more research supports the connection it remains a go-to meal choice.
Here’s more bad news: Young adults, aged 18 to 29 eat fast food more often than any other age group. The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services 2012 Fact Sheet reveals more than two-thirds of adults are considered overweight or obese.
So how do you avoid the convenience of conveniently, fast food?
Start by investigating the why’s and when’s of your purchases and get organized. So let’s take a look at what might be triggering your drive thru habit.
- Determine how often you stop at fast food places: is it every day or several times a week? Is it a lifestyle that fit your on-the-go schedule?
- Consider what time of day you stop at fast food restaurants: do you start your day there, pop in at lunch or pick something up for dinner when pressed for time?
- Think about why you make the fast food stops: if you identify the cause it’ll help break the habit.
- Keep track of cravings: is it cheesy, salty or sweet that drives your hankering? It may be your body’s way of telling you that it needs that particular ingredient. This can be due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency or from poor nutrition.
If you can identify with one or more of these causes, it’s time to get busy and do something about it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, change doesn’t happen overnight and it takes some effort. But there are answers, and I thought I’d share a few to get you thinking about moving forward with a healthier lifestyle.
- Eliminate – *sodas and junk food snacks. This might be the hardest challenge of all but it can lead to the biggest healthful change you can make.
- Form new habits – when you eliminate soda and junk food, replace them with water and healthier snack options.
- Limit your indulgences – if you absolutely have to eat something you know isn’t good for you, limit your portion size.
- Don’t treat giving up fast food as a punishment – replace it with healthy, delicious foods you like. The key is not to deprive yourself, but reward yourself.
- Stick to your plan when the going gets tough – it’s normal to slip up. In fact, expect it to happen. Get back up with more effort the next time and it will continue to get easier.
Today’s Take-Away: One of the hardest reality checks is to put numbers to your “McMeals.” If nothing else, estimate your weekly or monthly calorie intake. It will shock you, and hopefully redirect your cravings to foods that will “keep the doctor away.”
*The average American consumes 45 gallons of sugary drinks a year. That’s 39 lbs. of sugar – about as much as a 5 year-old child weighs.