Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Fast Food Problem

Side topic - I finally "get" why people are ticked off at places like McDonald's and blaming them for the obesity epidemic. I used to think that it was people who made choices about what to put in their mouths...and thus it was people's problem, not McDonald's. I've changed my mind...

I was hungry (go figure...3 cups of coffee + 2 hour conf. call with my wicked client), and didn't want to spend time cooking anything. So I ran out to McD's, intending to pick up a salad. When I pull up to the speaker, it's all I can do not to gaze at the delicious-looking fries, hamburgers, apple pies, shakes, etc. I had to hunt all over the menu board for the teeny tiny salad section. Then it took every ounce of willpower I had to stick with my original intention and order a salad. I so wanted a burger, fries, or nuggets. I even considered getting the salad, and then a small burger to fill that craving.

I'm happy to say I didn't cave into the craving. But it did piss me off that all of the unhealthy food is so vividly portrayed on their drive-thru menu wonder it's so hard for us (me) to exercise willpower to make healthy choices. When you've got a juicy burger and salty-sweet fries staring you in the face, a grilled chicken salad is the last thing you want!

I've been to NYC several times (mostly on business - but hey, there are worse places to travel), and the restaurants there are required by law to post the calorie count on their menu boards. At first I was offended - that the denial part. I didn't want to acknowledge the calories I was unconsciously consuming. Eventually I began to LOVE the calorie count - it made me pause and really think about what I was ordering. This was true anywhere from Starbucks where they had to post the calorie counts for their drinks and their evil mini-donuts, to the nicest sit down restaurants. I recall making a decision NOT to eat 5 Guys Burgers & Fries at the airport in NYC, because I was appalled at the amount of calories that added up so quickly.

I hope more cities and states will adopt legislation around posting calorie count. It's one more step in this obesity war (which I am myself fighting...). I mean, I know I have issues with food that go much deeper than surface-denial of how many calories I'm consuming. Deep down I know that a burger and fries have a butt-load (pun intended) of calories. I need the help that posting calories gives me with my willpower and decision making.

One step. One step...

I really am making an effort to eat healthier, and eat smaller portions. Little steps perhaps - like a salad instead of burger + fries from McD's. I mean, come on - we know that a salad with ranch dressing and bacon on it isn't the most healthy meal. But it's better than that burger & fries I considered.

So here's my question for you - how do you motivate yourself to make healthy (or healthier) eating choices?

Enjoy your new day!

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