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    THENEWSHANNON   11,597
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5 Lessons from a Month with No Fast Food


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Monday, September 13, 2010

In August, I challenged myself to go a month without fast food. Id relied on the drive thru as a crutch when I was too lazy and too tired to cook for myself for too long, and it was beginning to interfere with my weight loss success. So, I decided to go a month without to break myself of any cravings and force myself to develop better habits. Im proud to say I survived and thrived for the whole month without one fast food purchase, and I learned a few things about this journey along the way:

emoticon1. A well-stocked freezer is your best weapon against unfortunate food choices.
At the beginning of August, I bought a giant pack of chicken breasts, grilled 3 ounce portions, and froze them individually. It took maybe an hour to do and it saved my rear so many times throughout the month! Id shred one and smother it in barbecue sauce for a quick sandwich, toss strips with pasta and some healthy jarred sauce, or just throw a frozen one on top of some frozen veggies and cheese and let the work microwave do its thing for an emergency lunch when my leftovers ran out. Quick, easy, and oh so versatile. Sometimes freezing meal starters to use any which way you please is better than freezing complete meals!

emoticon2. Your sodium tolerance levels will adjust quickly! to whatever you feed yourself.
I used to love getting a small chili and a 5 piece chicken nuggets from Wendys. Great taste, low calorie count, what wasnt to love? So last week, when I didnt have time to get to the grocery store, I ordered just that. The chicken nuggets were pretty good, but the chili was nasty! It tasted like salt, pure salt. I couldnt finish it. And I remembered that I used to salt the nuggets too thats probably why they still tasted okay without anything added. Its amazing how fast your taste buds adjust to changes in your diet.

emoticon3. Its easy to forget to taste your food.
Ive always been a fast eater, and consuming fast food was never any different. But cooking more at home, Ive started to slow down. If Im making a new dish, I need to pay attention and really taste it. Taking that behavior back to the drive thru, I have realized that the things that I used to crave dont actually taste very good. I got cini-minis from Burger King for breakfast all the time in the past; but Ive had them once or twice since ending my fast food challenge and they just arent good. They dont really have much taste at all, in fact. When you remember to slow down, it becomes much easier to tell whats worth your calories and what isnt.

emoticon4. Cooking at home is one of the easiest ways to get your budget in line.
I knew Id save some money in August, but what surprised me was how much I saved. Not only did I eliminate fast food purchases from my spending, I also reduced the amount I spent at the grocery store. It took me a while to figure out how that could be, but then it hit me: Im not wasting healthy food in favor of unhealthy fast food meals any more. I cant tell you how many of the vegetables that I used to buy for that diet that I was always going to start (on Monday! For real this time!) went bad while I sat on the couch eating from a McDonalds bag. Not anymore!

emoticon5. Challenges work!
Id made all kinds of rules for myself to limit my fast food intake before, and not a one had worked. A proper challenge did the trick. If theres something that youre striving for, extend a challenge to yourself. And then and this is key make it public. I dont care if you tell your friends or you tell strangers on the internet, just tell someone. Knowing that someone might read about my failure was what kept me from quitting or cheating on my challenge. I have no idea how many people even read these things I post, or whether anyone cares, but just knowing that itd be out there on the great wide Internet was all I needed. Give it a try!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MONI2200 10/22/2010 12:33PM

    Great ideas. Thanks for sharing!

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SCREWIE 9/27/2010 5:51AM

    Great idea, well done!

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KIRSTEN 9/23/2010 10:15PM

    What a great blog, thank for sharing! emoticon

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CALIDREAMER76 9/23/2010 8:32PM

    emoticon
Looks like lots of lessons learned here.
Great Job!

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EMMALOU55 9/23/2010 2:35PM

    Way to go! Thanks for sharing!

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TAMNTN 9/23/2010 10:34AM

    Way to go...keep that up! Who needs fast food? We don't if we want to live a healthier life!!! Great accomplishment!

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DMOORE78 9/23/2010 10:00AM

    Thank you so much for sharing your challenge, it's a fabulous idea!!

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TX.PATRICIA 9/23/2010 9:10AM

    Way to go!!!

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WIFEOFDAVID 9/23/2010 2:04AM

    wow inspiring. THNX!!!

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LATVIAN_SANDY 9/22/2010 4:53PM

    Thanks for the great tips!

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MTTOP37 9/22/2010 10:01AM

    Great ideas...I am going to try this for the whole month of October!!!! emoticon emoticon

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LADY_KATHY 9/22/2010 8:46AM

    Congrats to you. : ) great idea. : )
•*´¨) †
¸.• ¸.•*´¨)¸.•*¨) †
(¸.• ♥ Kathy ♥

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CAROLDEDOO 9/21/2010 6:13PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon This was just emoticon to read. I'm not sure that I could go a whole month...but I'm willing to try a week...I think. (LOL) Anyway, you've put the idea into my head. emoticon So, I think I'll try it next week.

Thanks for sharing. Keep on Sparking!

Carol emoticon

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MINDY502 9/21/2010 11:37AM

    emoticon

Loved this!

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MEANCARLEEN 9/21/2010 1:28AM

    emoticon

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LUBAML 9/20/2010 10:20PM

    Great job! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your home meals.

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MOTTAMAMALOU 9/20/2010 8:04PM

    MY FRIEND AND I WENT TO LUNCH TODAY AND HAD ITALIAN AT A WELL KNOWN RESTAURANT CHAIN. I WISH I WOULD/COULD HAVE READ THIS ARTICLE BEFORE WE WENT FOR LUNCH.
IT JUST MAKES SENSE AND SAVES CENTS.

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CCTETON1 9/20/2010 7:36PM

    Love this challenge! I will be out of town later this week and will have to eat out, but when I get back home I'm going to follow your example and do the same. I know it will take some planning but will be better off in the end all the way around. I love your idea about grilling and freezing 3 oz portions for later use. Thanks so much for sharing!!! emoticon

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SPOLANI 9/20/2010 5:50PM

  Amazing what you can learn in such a short amount of time. Good job.

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ILUVTOTAT 9/20/2010 3:51PM

    Great job and thanks for the tips. I've had hard time staying away from quick and lazy lately so this will really help.

emoticon emoticon

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MDTWEETY 9/20/2010 2:57PM

    Great challenge! Kudos for doing so well and kicking that fast-food habit. Yeah, fast food really doesn't taste that good, does it? ;)

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GOOFYORANGE 9/20/2010 2:40PM

    Great job. emoticon

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ONMYWEIGH2011 9/20/2010 9:10AM

  Thanks for the inspiration. I need to challenge myself to this task. I spend waaaay too much on fast food!

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ANNROBERTS54 9/20/2010 7:01AM

    Very good challenge, one more people need to try.

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COSBORNE3 9/20/2010 6:59AM

    I've noticed how hard it is to stay in my calorie range when eating fast food. The sodium levels are awful as well.

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KADULAC 9/19/2010 10:17PM

    Great post. Thank you. I've noticed that the more I try to cook healthy, the less we eat out, except when things are just too busy and there isn't much choice.

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MYRTLEBOO 9/19/2010 10:05PM

    Good ideas and it worked out well for you, too! I'm going to give myself a challenge or two this week.

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SPARKANN 9/19/2010 8:59PM

    FANTASTIC!!! Thanks for sharing!

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GEOCOSTA 9/19/2010 8:51PM

    I especially like your point about the taste of food. I think we often sacrifice quality for quantity and we led such fast lives we don't even notice when the food has no taste--or worse!

It's a good challenge. Thanks for writing up your experience!

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SKINNYROBIN100 9/19/2010 7:59PM

    What a truely awesome job!!! It is an eye opener when you see how fast you can adjust to the differenc in less salt, sugar, and fats! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUNETTA2002 9/19/2010 6:46PM

    Very inspiring. I'm going to try this. You are awesome

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VIRGOGURL4 9/19/2010 5:53PM

    Great observations! Since I started losing weight, I've notice that fast food phased itself out. Last Wednesday, I decided to go to Wendy's for the heck of it, and I ordered the EXACT same meal like you--a small chilli with a 5-piece chicken nuggets. (Unlike you, however, I enjoyed it thoroughly LoL) But I doubt that I will go again anytime soon. I don't even miss it!

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CHALLENGER15 9/19/2010 4:59PM

    Very inspiring for me!

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RANDOM00B 9/19/2010 2:18PM

    These are great observations!!

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KAREN42BOYS 9/19/2010 1:55PM

    what a fabulous challenge you gave yourself! you must feel great for having accomplished the goal and learning so much!

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CINDY4466 9/19/2010 1:02PM

    This is a great challenge. Think of the money I will save on no fast food. I am going to do this for the month of October. I love the chicken ideas too. Thanks. Great post! emoticon

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JBURD09 9/19/2010 12:59PM

    I recently completed this challenge as well! And let me tell you, it was one of the greatest things I ever did for myself! I can't even stomach the thought of most fast food right now, even days after the challenge has ended. It's such a great feeling! Congrats to you for following through.
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BILBY4 9/19/2010 12:27PM

    If those strategies are working for you then you must be doing it right. Well done.
Alan

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WALKINGDAVE 9/19/2010 12:09PM

    A wonderful blog, I rarely eat at McDonalds... I worked there for a year and it totally turned me off to everything except the salads with grilled chicken. I just remember that bucket of lard that I had to scoop into the fry vats and it was so gross I couldn't eat anything deep fried!

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SAND_OWL 9/19/2010 10:58AM

  Very interesting about the salt perception changes. Thanks for sharing!

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ROOTIHAUSMAN 9/19/2010 10:40AM

    Thanks for sharing! great blog!

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SHAPNUP 9/19/2010 9:53AM

    Great blog. Thanks for letting us know what is possible. I need to stock my freezer!

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DENI_ZEN 9/19/2010 9:43AM

    Hey there! You'd better believe *I* care! What you've accomplished for yourself here is an enormous favor: weaning yourself off the grease-fat-sugar cycle which drive thrus cannot help but perpetuate! BIG pat on the back for your creative realization that taste is not something we cart home from a window at some "junk foodery" ;) Continued success to you...and OUTSTANDING blog! - Sandi emoticon

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KARENV986 9/19/2010 8:54AM

  My doctor has a McDonalds cheeseburger and fries that he uses to show how bad fast food is for a person. He keeps it in a tupperware container and though it is dehydrated, there is absolutely no mold on it - not even the cheese. He has had it since 2004 - it is over 6 years old. It looks like you could warm up the fries in the microwave and be ready to go. His question to me was "What did I think all those preservatives did to my body if the meat, cheese and fries hadn't gotten moldy or deteriorated in all those years?" It was truly enough to put me off fast food forever!

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JANE_DAVID99 9/19/2010 8:25AM

    Thanks for sharing! emoticon
I have only just started my weight-loss journey, i have not had any fast food, sweets or soda in the last two weeks, and so far im feeling great, not missing it at all.
Lets hope it stays this way! emoticon

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COBOUCH53 9/19/2010 8:03AM

    Great advice - I haven't had fast food since June. I have to admit once in a great while I just crave the Big Mac. But I have had the will power stay healthy! It is invigorating to know you can succeed. You listed some wonderful advice. Especially eating slowly - if you are going to try something new - take the time to eat it, enjoy it and think about the recipe itself. I like read blogs with advice from fellow sparkers - they help me in my journey. Thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon

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RIPPEDPAUL1 9/19/2010 7:12AM

    emoticon

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DEBMORSE1 9/19/2010 6:34AM

    Great blog! I haven't eaten fast food in a dozen years now, and I don't miss it a bit. The last time I had any, it just tasted greasy and nasty.

Your last sentence in your second rule is something that I have said for a long time. That is, "It's amazing how fast your taste buds adjust to changes in your diet." You crave what you're used to eating. Change what you eat, and you will change what you crave!

Again, great blog! Thanks for sharing!

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TRABOLD8567 9/19/2010 12:57AM

  emoticon emoticon

Thanks for the tips and inspiration. We're all in this together!

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TERIANA 9/18/2010 9:33PM

    I donʻt eat fast food but I really enjoyed your story. I remember reading an article about healthy eating. It said Rule #1, Eat Real Food. Rule #2 Real Food is not Served Through a Car Window. Although I chuckled at the time, now that I have read your blog, I see that many people really do eat fast food regularly. Congratulations for kicking the habit!

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