I gave up fast food because it was killing my spirit and probably my body too.
Fast food used to be my crutch. Each time I’d receive disappointing news, get into the headspace of not being “good enough,” feel fat (ironic much?), or have a hangover, I would buy fast food. It was so easy.
When I was younger, I had become idle in pursuing my passions. I was addicted to harmful romantic relationships and completely detached from my body. I used to have a ritual of starting each Sunday like this: Brunch with my girlfriends, which would turn into mimosas on the beach, followed by a movie, so we could take a nap.
On my route home, feeling tired, hungry, and sad, I would pass a McDonald’s, a Taco Bell, and a Wendy’s, side by side. For a while my pattern was to go to Taco Bell and order a few different options. If I was in the mood for sugar, I would also stop at McDonalds or Wendy’s for a shake.
I would then drive home and eat all the stuff, half of it in the car.
I ended each week lying in bed hating myself.
My selective memory would recall how great my Sunday fast food gluttony felt when I was ordering, anticipating and eating, but I always forgot how horrible I felt that evening — and the next day, and sometimes the day after that.
I started to buy fast food any time I wasn’t feeling fabulous. And as my junk food frenzies increased, my moments of fabulosity dwindled.
Oh, and I also began eating fast food as a reward for pretty much anything: “I finished work! There’s a McDonald’s! Let’s celebrate!”
Thirty minutes later: “I hate myself. And what is that greasy lump in my throat?”
When my fast food meltdowns were limited to Sundays, I didn’t notice any dramatic health shifts; there was just some bloating Monday.
But when I transitioned into eating fast food five to six days a week, I did notice.
I began realizing that I wasn’t able to make it through my workouts because I had severe shortness of breath. I couldn’t concentrate. I lost motivation to do anything but drink alcohol and eat. My clothes were tighter. And I found a new blemish every morning. I felt extra-horrible on days I didn’t eat fast food. I was addicted.
Never mind my health, I was worried about the thought of buying acne cream and clothes in a bigger size.
Because I wasn’t familiar with the concept of moderation, I just quit cold-turkey and broke up with fast food — without the option of “just being friends.” It was a toxic relationship and I purposefully lost its number.
It was awful. Without a coping mechanism for difficult emotions, I was stuck with all my mental (and physical and spiritual) muck. I was forced to feel through it all (no more numbing by eating) and I really didn’t like the person living underneath (or at least the circumstances of the person living there).
Without the cushion of food I was desperate to find anything that made me feel good: I began journaling, meditating (so hard), yoga-ing, reading Women Who Run With the Wolves. I broke up with alcohol, began drinking more water, and cried a lot. This was my huge life shift.
I came out of it feeling like a butterfly (at first, a really, really hungry butterfly) that had learned to fly again.
It’s been five years now since I turned away from my delicious poison. My breakup with fast food has woven hope and health (and so much willpower!) into the fiber of my life.