I am trying to give up my addiction to McDonalds – but it’s not as easy as i thought! It’s been 2 weeks so far, which is a great start, but I sometimes still get that pulling feeling when I drive past, but here is where I am at…
If you don’t mind…
I’ve had to take a hard strong look at why my head told me I wanted McDonalds. I KNOW it’s not good for my body. I KNOW it’s a lot of money for what you get. I KNOW it’s full of addictive stuff – so why?
Just like I.M Cassie who said “The mind is a powerful thing” and the battle really does start there!! This is years of ‘untraining’ I need to fix and like I.M Tara said, I am “fighting habit with logic” here.
Scare tactics didn’t seem to work and often watching ‘Super Size me’ type programs made me hungrier in a ‘that’s them, not me’ kinda way.
My mind thinks that when I leave McDonalds, I feel better. The sugar, the caffeine and whatever other mysterious stuff they put in that magic food makes my brain believe it helps me.
It kick starts the happy brain reaction. Easy, convenient, instant change in everyone’s mood – but the cost comes later…
So I think I.M Kelly hit the nail on the head when she wrote “It’s because of the chemicals in it” and suggested I go cold turkey. *Gulp*
Thank you to the I.M Melissa who said “there are worse things to be addicted to”. I smiled as I read this, as this is one of my favourite lines as I pull into the drive through cue!
I realised I see McDonalds as a reward. As an ‘I deserve this’ treat, which made it harder. As mums, anyone who gets out of bed for the benefit of someone else and lives thinking of others like we do – DOES deserved to be rewarded.
Be it chocolate, television, glass of wine, shopping, me time, Smoking, McDonalds, facebook – absolutely we deserve it!!! (without the guilt thanks!)
But then someone recently asked me, I will ask you the same question! Finish this sentence:
“I can’t live without…..
“When life gets hard, I turn to….
Easy way to work out what you are addicted to.
For me, I want the things that filled in the blank to be ONLY good things that in the long run will be beneficial to me and my family. McDonalds did not fit that criteria.
Make a choice before the choice makes me:
I get a lot of inspiration from my dad here. If you ever want to know what you may need to fix in yourself, or where you will end up in the future – take a look at your parents. (Love you mum and dad!) As parents – the things we do subliminally are the lessons we teach our children.
My dad has trouble with saying no to things. I think Coke was a big one when he was younger. Fast food is another. And the excess weight and diabetes speaks for itself.
I know my dad is not happy with the way he is – but it is harder to change habits that your brain has programmed in for so many years. I want to change these patterns now.
PS – this week my dad turns 60 and I am SO PROUD of how far he has come! This amazing man has battled cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, kidney stones, angina, obesity, forced retirement – you name it – he’s done it!! He is a wonderful Puppa to my kids and I hope he continues to fight to live for many many more years to come! x
So – now that I knew what I was fighting – here were my most effective weapons:
Step 1: Admitting that I was addicted
I did this on July 14th when I admitted it to thousands of people. (Thanks IM!) It started then and unexpectedly. No more ‘tomorrows’ no more ‘special occasions’ no more ‘After this last time’ – start NOW!
Step 2: Working out why your mind thinks this way
Like a baby who wants his dummy / breast milk / bottle / blanket to comfort them – we need to retrain our brains that the way we thought needs to be changed. This requires work. Repetition. Little signs to yourself to remind you of the truth.
Step 3: Retraining my patterns
I don’t crave Maccas when at home, because it’s not there. So at home is where I pray that I won’t copy the behaviours and routines of yesterday. Allowing myself to be transformed into a new person by changing the way I think. This helped a lot.
Step 4: Being Prepared
Having a container of boiled sweets in the car for when I really battled and needed a ‘pick me up’ (this helped the energy and reward areas too) I know – lollies are ‘bad’ too – but that’s not the addiction I’m fighting here! (Thanks I.M Cherie!)
If I knew I was going out and would be driving near meal time – preparing something to eat for the car ride and then telling myself ‘I’ve already eaten, I don’t need anything else’ as I drove past those nasty golden arches! A piece of fruit or dry crackers or biscuits normally get me past the danger zones.
Preparing for the kids too – they will quite happily eat a sandwich which is so much cheaper and healthier and not know they have ‘missed out’ on anything! (Thanks I.M Rachyy)
Step 5: Accountability
Telling myself that when I do eat it next, I need to confess it on the Imperfect Mum page! Accountability is a GREAT tool! A lot of the times it was all you other mothers that pulled me through! I just re-told myself all the advice I was given on that day.
Step 6: Finding alternatives
Find my weakness and pick a better alternative. (Like I.M Angie recommended) Chocolate Frappes = my weakness! Having frozen Berries + Bananas + ice cream + Milo shakes at home helped a lot! (and ice-blocks for the kids) At least with my own ingredients – I knew what was going in! Plus – this tastes just as good, if not better, and had that same ‘pick me up’ effect too.
Step 7: Rejoicing in my results:
I feel better. Reminding myself of this gives me more ammunition. Someone even said recently I’ve lost weight. I’m not even doing anything new! And just like saving a little each day equals a lot – I think of the long term health benefits of saying no each time.
Like I.M Angela said “Everytime you resist it, tell yourself that was easy i really dont like it that much anyway. The next time it will be easier and do the same thing again. Each time its less and less temptation” So true. I am tempted less these days.
So no McDonalds for…. like… forever?!?!?:
I will eat McDonalds again one day. I liked I.M Jolene’s comment “I get it occasionally, I know it’s crap food, but sometimes it’s what I feel like. As long as it is amongst a nutritionally balanced diet.” which is my end goal. I need to get proper alternatives in place first.
My fear use to be that once I tackled this one hurdle, so many more would appear. Maybe. But the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. If I don’t take the first step, I’m not doing any good at all.
I also don’t want to make it a taboo in case my kids are to follow the same path of thinking I did. (Thanks I.M Danii) We seem to want what we can’t have, so to eliminate it in full I think might idolise it. I remember when I first got my licence. I practically LIVED at McDonalds!
But I will keep McDonalds for when we can share it with friends and company rather than a lifeline. When I get more organised (ha!) I will attempt I.M Alanna’s idea to “Replace mcdonalds with picnics.. Not the chocolate ones… Stop at the shops, grab some dips, bikkies, cucumber, carrots etc. Then go to muddies or the beach or a play ground in a park. The kids can come back and forth and nibble and play.” And make ourselves a new ‘happy place’ instead.
Thanks for your encouragement! Much appreciated! I will end with Tara’s comment which is also great for other mums who battle McDonalds “Above all, don’t give yourself a hard time, Macca’s as a company pay a fortune for experts to advise them the best way to get us and our kids hooked and it works! Good luck ” They got me for years – not anymore. I make up my own mind thanks!!
Marketing REALLY works! Realized I may have a problem when I got hungry painting with the kids one day! ha ha!
So what do you want to give up?!? Share with us!
Try finishing these lines:
I can’t live without…..
When life gets hard, I turn to….