Fast food addiction is very real.
It’s when eating at home isn’t appealing at all because your mouth is watering thinking about a burger or fries.
Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon.
My husband and I both had a fast food addiction and we didn’t even realize it!
But that all changed and fast food actually tastes gross now.
How did we get to that point?
By understanding why we were addicted, understand what fast food places put in their products, and finding alternatives.
Why We Have a Mental Fast Food Addiction
The problem with cravings is that a lot of it is mental.
We created a habit to eat certain foods, so of course, that is what our body is used to.
When we do something often, our brains store a memory of what you are supposed to do next time you are in that situation.
So do you tend to crave fast food when you are working late?
Maybe that’s because the last few times, you got fast food when you were working late!
Do you tend to crave fast food when you notice your fridge getting low on food?
It’s because your brain associates a little bit of bareness of fridge shelves to fast food!
Do you crave fast food as soon as you start thinking about the task of actually cooking or feel like fast food gives you comfort?
It’s because you associated a pain point with the actual task of cooking and good feelings with fast food!
You see where I am going with this.
To stop the mental addiction, you need to break your thinking habits. Make new habits, so you can make fast food a pain point in your mind.
Why We Have a Physical Fast Food Addiction
Pretty much all fast food has ingredients that makes us crave more.
Most places put High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in EVERYTHING. From the breads, to the shakes, to the ketchup, mustard, and other condiments. HFCS is one of the most addicting and harmful ingredients in this country.
Sugar has been proven to affect brain chemistry and dopamine levels, causing similar responses in the brain to addictive drugs. When you make the sugar even more potent (ahem…HFCS), it’s way worse!
So it’s no wonder you crave more of that fast food item! There is a very high chance your entire meal is layered with it! So even if you aren’t hungry after consuming it, your brain is already wanting more of it.
And what about why we are always still hungry when eating fast food?
That was a major problem for me.
I would order the equivalent of two meals and not be full.
This is because you aren’t getting actual food. Actual food contains nutrients. If you eat food with nutrients, your body will stop feeling hungry, because it is satisfied.
Many people mistakenly think that in order to stop being hungry, you just have to put something, anything, in your stomach.
Not the case.
Our appetites don’t depend on if there is anything in our stomachs, it goes off how many nutrients absorb in the body!
So if you are hungry, and you feel you ate enough, it’s because you are lacking in nutrients.
But fast food is food, so should contain nutrients, right?
You would think….But no.
Fast food uses factory farmed animals (like the cheap meat in the grocery stores).
This means most animals are in close quarters and never see the light of day. They are constantly stressed and sick, which means they are constantly releasing stress hormones. They don’t eat diets they are meant to eat. They are fed things like skittles (yes, I’m serious), other dead animals, feces, and pesticide rich grains, and are constantly injected with hormones and antibiotics.
And ALL of this gets passed to you within their meats, which is why these meats aren’t as nutrient rich as the grass fed and pasture raised meats.
And may be why we all seem to have hormone issues.
The other thing that makes us super hungry when eating fast food is the chemicals and artificial ingredients they put in each item.
Pretty much every single item on the menu has something in it that most people could never find in a grocery store. Even the meats have fillers (Including supposed “Fresh” sandwich places do this!)
So half of what you are eating is calories, but empty calories that have no nutrient value.
Which is why many people crave more when getting fast food.
So How Do We Break Our Fast Food Addiction?
The first step is learning more about it and scaring ourselves.
What do many fast food places put in your burgers? Pink slime. Which the USDA says can now legally be called “ground beef”. (::gag :: ::gag::) If you want to know what it is, watch this video.
You can also read a couple of my other articles and the additional resources in there to understand more about factory farmed animals, artificial flavors and fillers, and High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Change Your Habit, Stop Fast Food Addiction
This is hard and may take a little bit of time to do.
Typically, a habit is formed after about 2-6 weeks, depending on how drilled in the habit you have is.
If you find yourself getting fast food because of time constraints, do meal prepping or make those nights sandwich night! Sandwiches take about 3 minutes to prepare, so will actually save you time!
Fast food gives you comfort on bad days? Watch a funny movie and make some whole wheat pasta at home (my husband likes my Buffalo Ranch Chicken Pasta!). That way you can have comfort food and be eating actual nutrients!
If you find yourself getting fast food when the shelves start to get bare, make that experimental omelet night, and use eggs and whatever random thing you find in the fridge in your recipe. You can also make it fun and do a smorgasbord and see who in the household can come up with the most creative meal.
Even after scaring myself from eating fast food and changing my habits, I still craved fast food.
So I remedied that by stocking my kitchen with ingredients to make cleaner versions of the fast food items I was craving.
For instance, if I was craving a juicy burger, I would keep frozen grass fed beef patties in my freezer for just that occasion.
If I craved burritos, I would make sure I had chicken or steak stocked, along with brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, and other fresh burrito ingredients.
When I craved pizza, I would make my own and have fun with it. Pizza doesn’t take long to make! In fact, try my chicken bacon ranch pizza, you will love it!
By doing this, you not only are getting nutrients and cleaner ingredients that fast food can’t give you, but you are actually going to start preferring how you make it better than the places that serve it!
Not only that, you will be fuller much faster, so you will find you won’t have to make as much as time goes on.
Ex: My husband and I used to eat at Taco Bell at least 1-2 times per week. Now that we make our own burritos and tacos at home, Taco Bell actually tastes gross and mushy!
So my method is to always keep backups in your kitchen of what you might crave most often and just make it yourself.
You might find yourself having to replenish it a lot at first, but this will die down!
And side note: When my husband and I started doing this, after a year, I looked at our food expenses and we saved $4000 in one year!
Kicked to The Curb!
Fast Food addiction is very real, and I know and understand it, because I had it BAD.
We would eat out about 5 times a week and didn’t realize how much money we were spending!
But as you can see, there are ways to beat the addiction and start preferring your own foods, you just need to change your thinking and change your habits.
If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would eventually think fast food is disgusting, I would have laughed at you and told you how nuts you were.
But I did it. If my hard core, fast food addict, self could do it, I can assure you anyone can.
I believe you can do it!