Why I Stopped Eating Fast Food

Why I Stopped Eating Fast Food

Before we get started, I just want to point out that this post is in no way a damning of fast food itself, its legions of underpaid workers, or the corporate overlords who have so effectively blanketed the world in dollar burgers and super-sized cartons of fries. Don’t expect me to wax poetic about all the reasons why fast food is bad and how we should all subsist on kale smoothies and quinoa sandwiches. I’m not going to judge (unless you mean Dredd – I AM the law!) anyone’s eating habits. This is just a rundown of why I made this decision for my own life; take from it what you will. Or not. I’m easy.

All set? Okay, let’s go.

I Need To Lose Some Weight

You can’t talk about cutting out fast food without some guy in the audience raising his hand and saying, “Get off the stage! We’re here to see Aerosmith!”

Some people.

Then, after evading security, you spend a pleasant half-hour discussing why healthy eating and fast food don’t mix with the voices in your head. It’s a common enough story, and it’s happened to us all.

So, being a gentleman of, let’s say, significant proportions, I need to lose weight. A lot of it. And that’s not going to happen on a diet of double cheeseburgers and burrito supremes.

Once I Pop, I Just Can’t Stop

I have something of an addictive personality. Thankfully, I’ve avoided vices like drugs and alcohol, but if you set me loose on a buffet of fried chicken and curly fries, it turns into an after-school special starring me as a fast food junkie and Alan Thicke as my TV dad who wants me to be happy, but doesn’t realize that his pressuring me to join the school track team is making me turn to disreputable late-night burger runs to deal with the stress.

My name is TR Goodman, and I’m addicted to fast food.

And, as we all know, the first step toward getting help is avoiding responsibility for ten years admitting that you have a problem. Why is fast food addictive? Hell if I know. I just know that if I eat it, something happens in my brain that turns me into a burger-crazed zombie.

It’s not pretty, and the only way to avoid it is to stop eating fast food altogether.

Cooking At Home Saves Money

It pretty well goes without saying that it’s a lot cheaper to make up a hefty pot of mushroom and barley stew at home than it is to buy a sack of burgers down at the corner drive-thru. Given that I’m still in the process of paying down a number of old debts from my care-and-responsibility-free college days, more money to dump on those old credit cards is a pretty big plus.

It also means that I have more money for the important cultural things in life. Like video games. And pretty book covers.

Now I just need to write a few books to go with those pretty, pretty covers…

It’s not that I’m never going to eat out again, but when you’re not eating out 7X per week, you save up enough that when you actually do go out, you can buy yourself a nice steak dinner. Now that’s something to look forward to.

I Can Be Supportive

Whether you’re married, in a committed relationship, or just have a cat that you really like to hang out with, your decisions affect more than just you. They affect the people (and cats) around you, sometimes just as much, if not more. And when those decisions impact the health of those around you, it becomes a problem.

My fiancee has a particular chronic ailment (not zombie-ism – sheesh) that makes her have to follow a strict diet, mostly a vegan one with some fish and a bit of chicken breast thrown in. She’s done very well on this diet, in terms of her illness, and I want to do everything I can to support her. She’s been a good sport about my addiction, and generally doesn’t say anything when I run out for sausage and cheese biscuits, hash browns, or a bag of tacos. Sometimes she even shares them with me.

And then it hit me that in doing what I was doing, I was directly jeopardizing her health by bringing all these unhealthy foods into the house. When you love someone, you do everything you can to support them, not tempt them away from what has clearly been working.

Once the guilt storm passed, it made the decision obvious.

It Doesn’t Taste That Great

I love salt and fat and heaping mounds of meat as much as the next guy. Probably more, to be honest. And while there are definitely some things on various fast food menus that I’m going to miss (I’m looking at you, Carl’s Jr burgers and hash browns from just about anywhere), but none of it really tastes that great compared to what I make at home. I just tend to be too lazy to do any actual cooking.

I Feel Better Without It

On top of everything else, this is the one that made my decision easy. The effects of eating fast food, at least for me, are similar to the annual Thanksgiving binge: a bloated, slow, waddling feeling, followed by a food coma that knocks me out on the couch in the middle of Doctor Who. It’s not fun, and I don’t want to have to have someone explain to me how the Doctor defeated the Daleks (hint: stairs).

After only a few days of “clean” eating, I have more energy, I feel better, my back pain goes away, I win the lottery, and all sorts of little physical things become easier for me. During those moments when the drive-thru becomes and the aroma of bacon fills the air, it’s those little things that remind me that I made the right decision.

So, I think that’s enough serious discourse for the moment. Those are my reasons not to eat fast food. Your mileage may vary if you decide to try something similar. If you think you might want to give it a shot, more power to you. If you read this article while dipping your fries in a chocolate shake and noshing on a bucket of fried chicken, I applaud your sense of irony.

Well played, sir (or madam or other). Well played, indeed.

Photo Credit: Flickr