Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy Meal, happy girl

Blame girly cravings or a serious McDrought, but last week, I was dying—I mean DYING for fast food.

It seemed like every commercial I saw was for Zaxby’s, and my mouth was watering for the yummy chicken goodness I’d loved since college, when Zax was just a Statesboro chicken shack.

I was literally dreaming of Sonic cherry limeades, Taco Bell meximelts and quarter pounders with cheese. I hadn’t even had a French fry since February.

It felt like I was fighting with every ounce of my being not to swing through a drive-thru. So I decided to take a different approach.

I knew I could fight and fight and fight until I finally exploded in a calorie and grease-laden binge. Or I could make a controlled choice.

So Thursday evening, after much internal debate, I chose McDonald’s. I drove up to the menu board like a girl visiting an ex-boyfriend with whom she’d had a very ugly breakup. Everything was so familiar, but I was hesitant, tentative, cautious. I knew I couldn’t trust him. And I knew I had to be the one with the power this time.

I ordered a cheeseburger Happy Meal. I drove home like a girl with a giddy secret. And when I unwrapped my food, I put it on a plate and savored every bite. It probably took me an hour to eat. I took tiny bites and swallowed each one before I moved on to the next.

When I was finished, I was completely satisfied. I no longer craved junk food. In fact, I haven’t craved it since. I didn’t feel guilty, because unlike in the past, I listened to my body and I made a choice. I counted my Weight Watchers points. I didn’t overeat.

Am I going to go to McDonald’s every week? No. I probably won’t go for another six months or so. But I feel good about the choice I made. It felt empowering to make a decision about food that was completely conscious. It was the first time I can remember eating McDonald’s and not considering it a binge.

Normally, I’d write about eating McDonald’s as a confession. But this time, I was pretty excited to tell you guys that somewhere along the way, I’ve regained some of my power over food. It turns out that now I’m the one wearing the (increasingly baggy) pants in this relationship.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love this, especially the ex-boyfriend analogy. So true! Great job and keep up your amazing progress. :-) -MP

Casa de Nagel said...

if this was posted on FB, i'd click on the like button.

Dinah said...

Great post, great experience, love it!!

Anonymous said...

this is awesome, erika! it can be so difficult, especially for women, to have a healthy relationship with food and not feel a tinge of guilt if it's not all clean cut. what is it about those greasers that is just so irresistable?! errr...
...abo

Systa Soul said...

Honey, sometimes you just have to give in and be ok with it!

Anonymous said...

beautifully written! so descriptive, it seemed as though i were in the back seat pulling up to the menu with you! You are doing great Erika! You did exactly what Dee talked about in last weeks noon meeting - you can have fast food, from time to time in moderation..you go girl ;)

Nicole said...

Love this! Just curious, what was your Happy Meal toy? Seriously though, I've found that whenever I forbid myself certain foods, I always fail. I tried the no carb thing for a few weeks and then couldn't take not having bread so I gorged. (And never tried that silly carb-denial again.) You are in control and it's amazing!

Anonymous said...

We ALL deserve "treats" from time to time...and we shouldn't feel guilty about that. Moderation is key, not completely denying yourself something you enjoy.

Anonymous said...

The key is "kid's meals" for all my fast food - Arby's, Wendy's, etc. That way you get the variety of tastes without double calories. Love the yogurt cones at McD's with half calories of their sundaes. Anyway, you are really doing great and an inspiration to others! Keep up the great work!

Leigh said...

Have you had the diet cherry limeade at Sonic? I'm sure it's not a zero calorie drink, but it's much better than the full-on deliciousness. It's crazy good too.

a said...

Erica, I confess that I don't read your blog daily but I ALWAYS walk away with a little bit of insight everytime I read. I can tell by this post that you've finally made it over some big hurdles. The "AAAHA MOMENT" if you will. Keep going!
Thanks so much for helping me become a better advocate for the people I work with!

Sincerely,
Amanda Wooden, RD
Strong 4 Life
Wellness Nutritionist

Anonymous said...

One small McStep at a time!!

Anonymous said...

You Go GIRL! I have lost my motivation, and have gained 5pounds of my weight back. The last season of weight watchers, I was one of those that lost the 20%. Now after how many weeks in, I have plateau, and cannot seem to gain my momentum back. Erica give a sister some tips.

Big supporter said...

I just hit the "like" button too! :-) You knew what you were doing, stayed w/in your WW's points, are only eating McDonalds 2x/yr (perfect amt for me)...I'd say that was responsible eating to a "T"! Great job Erika, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't had fries for a month from McDonalds and I was craving them also. After I had a small order I felt completely satisfied. Its OK to have a treat every now and then.