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Old 09-27-2012, 12:26 PM   #1
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Fast Food Obsession/Habits Affecting My Mood...(Help)

Need some help here....

I'm a 'recovering workaholic'--this is actually my first year in 20 that I've only had one job to concentrate on. I feel great having my weekends and evenings free--however, I find myself gravitating towards my former "hurry up and eat" schedule I was used to, and have been fighting off an obsession with fast food. I'm convinced that my eating choices and schedule was a huge factor in the 50 pounds I gained in 5 years, and I don't want to have that happen again!

In the past, I needed to grab something at a drive-thru and it eat in between jobs. My 2 part time jobs were stressful for me (substance abuse worker in a correctional facility, and a suicide/mental health phone specialist) and most nights after work I would find myself at the drive-thru again, soothing myself with cheeseburgers and burritos--even though I wasn't hungry. It tasted good, and made me feel good.

Fast-Forward to the present--the past few weeks, I've felt the nagging urge to hit the drive-thru on the way home from work. I get done at 3pm, and my fiancé and I usually eat around 4:30, so I know I'm not going to go long without food....Yet, when 1pm comes around, I start thinking about how good McD's or Taco Bell would taste and it sometimes consumes my thoughts so much that I get a stomach ache from craving it! This happens on DD AND UD's....no matter how big and tasty a lunch I've had!

So far, my solutions have been:

~ Drink tons of water
~ Eat lunch later
~ Try more fat, less carbs

This has been working ok for me, but as a result of bypassing the fast food, I get a sense of being "shortchanged", and start thinking of ways I can sneak it in without it being a "problem". What usually happens is I get crabby once I get home....eat dinner....and go to bed WAY too early, because I just want to be alone. My fiancé is always asking me "What's the matter?" and I get even more pissed. All because I didn't have a stupid Big Mac???? Why is this happening???

We eat out a LOT on our UD's....so I'm definitely not restricting myself from that kind of food; I just can't figure out how to control the feelings, and get rid of these "bad moods" once I'm home with my sweetie.

Sorry for the book--anyone have ideas? Even as I type, I'm wanting a double-cheeseburger for the 20 minute ride home, even though I know I'm going to have a delicious bowl of chili waiting for me when I get home.

Kinda ironic that I've treated people with obsessions....addictions....and here I am, obsessed.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:33 PM   #2
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Even if you're not eating TONS of it in one sitting, I see some "binge-y" thoughts going on here. I haven't read it myself, but I often see good reviews and recommendations for a book called "Brain Over Binge." It might be a good starting point to find out what's triggering your compulsion.

My compulsions are more in the realm of "that's a purple blouse coming out of the dryer; it needs to go on a purple hanger." That sort of thing, but I totally get what you mean about all-consuming thoughts.

I really don't have any good coping strategies. I often just have to laugh at myself and force myself to do the opposite of what my compulsion's telling me to do. I find the more I do this, the less power my compulsions are having over me. Again, I don't really know how this relates to the fast food issue, but there may be similarities.
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Last edited by KeirasMom; 09-27-2012 at 12:51 PM.. Reason: typ-o
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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Yup. Brain Over Binge is great. And relevant, here.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:05 PM   #4
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I will definitely look into that book! I just googled it and found that the author has a blog. Looks like some good material there to start with. Thank you!!
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:20 PM   #5
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Lisa - so sorry you are struggling with this! So, your pattern sounds like you would/do eat the fast food in the car as you drive, is that right? To me, that sounds like a very ingrained habit. I felt that same way when I quit smoking - being in the car = have a smoke. Whether I really wanted one or not, I would light up as soon as I got in and buckled up.

That said, it probably doesn't make it any easier to break your mind out of that habit. I also was a major fast food junkie for a long time. I work at home, and I would actually get in the car and drive the 1/2 to 1 mile to one of the various places I love, like DQ (peanut buster parfait for lunch anyone?), or Del Taco, or KFC. You know what finally helped me break the habit? I counted up how much money I was spending on fast food, and how crappy I felt (not while eating - that felt GOOD. But just in general. Achy, creaky, bloated).

I don't know if any of this helps, but I really think you just need time to get past the habit and routine you have been so used to. Maybe you could fix yourself something good at home that kind of replicates the taste of what you love. Like a burger with cheese, or maybe fajitas/tacos with low carb tortillas, etc.

Wishing you all the best luck with this! Thanks for sharing this frustration - I'm sure it will help others having these same problems. We've all been there or are there!

Last edited by LoCarbGal; 09-27-2012 at 01:59 PM.. Reason: corrected
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:54 PM   #6
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I am afraid that I am no help. I have not really suffered from cravings/binges. The occasional pack of Pringles has been known to take over my brain, but not for many years now.

I have heard lots of good things about Brain over Binge, so many folks here have benefited from it.

I must just say how much I respect you for not giving in to these urges, especially as you are experiences real hunger when you think of you FF favourites. You are doing so well and I am sure you can beat this, with JUDDD and the help of the book/blog.

Sending lots of hugs.
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:00 PM   #7
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What's helped me has been buying a 33oz Thermos and having tea to drink all day.
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoCarbGal View Post
Lisa - so sorry you are struggling with this! So, your pattern sounds like you would/do eat the fast food in the car as you drive, is that right? To me, that sounds like a very ingrained habit. I felt that same way when I quit smoking - being in the car = have a smoke. Whether I really wanted one or not, I would light up as soon as I got in and buckled up.

That said, it probably doesn't make it any easier to break your mind out of that habit. I also was a major fast food junkie for a long time. I work at home, and I would actually get in the car and drive the 1/2 to 1 mile to one of the various places I love, like DQ (peanut buster parfait for lunch anyone?), or Del Taco, or KFC. You know what finally helped me break the habit? I counted up how much money I was spending on fast food, and how crappy I felt (not while eating - that felt GOOD. But just in general. Achy, creaky, bloated).

I don't know if any of this helps, but I really think you just need time to get past the habit and routine you have been so used to. Maybe you could fix yourself something good at home that kind of replicates the taste of what you love. Like a burger with cheese, or maybe fajitas/tacos with low carb tortillas, etc.

Wishing you all the best luck with this! Thanks for sharing this frustration - I'm sure it will help others having these same problems. We've all been there or are there!
The whole eating in the car thing makes sense--I sure feel silly saying that (and believing it), but yeah....I know it's not the entire issue, but it may be a part! I think I'm going to experiment tomorrow and put a non-perishable snack in the car tomorrow so it's there when I get off work. Maybe if I do that, I can stop associating driving with fast food.

Kissa, I seriously came close to giving in to the urge today....I made it home, and drank a big glass of water. Then I calmy took out the chocolate bar I was saving for tomorrow's UD and ate it before I even took my jacket off. So much for a perfect DD.

Last edited by Saxy1971; 09-27-2012 at 03:17 PM..
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoCarbGal View Post
Lisa - so sorry you are struggling with this! So, your pattern sounds like you would/do eat the fast food in the car as you drive, is that right? To me, that sounds like a very ingrained habit. I felt that same way when I quit smoking - being in the car = have a smoke. Whether I really wanted one or not, I would light up as soon as I got in and buckled up.

That said, it probably doesn't make it any easier to break your mind out of that habit. I also was a major fast food junkie for a long time. I work at home, and I would actually get in the car and drive the 1/2 to 1 mile to one of the various places I love, like DQ (peanut buster parfait for lunch anyone?), or Del Taco, or KFC. You know what finally helped me break the habit? I counted up how much money I was spending on fast food, and how crappy I felt (not while eating - that felt GOOD. But just in general. Achy, creaky, bloated).

I don't know if any of this helps, but I really think you just need time to get past the habit and routine you have been so used to. Maybe you could fix yourself something good at home that kind of replicates the taste of what you love. Like a burger with cheese, or maybe fajitas/tacos with low carb tortillas, etc.

Wishing you all the best luck with this! Thanks for sharing this frustration - I'm sure it will help others having these same problems. We've all been there or are there!
I agree completely with the cigarette analogy. It was just part of the ride home from work... keys in ignition, seatbelt on, cigarette lit- whether I really wanted it or not.

If you really want the fast food treat and it's an UD you could get a small (shake, fries, whatever) and just have 1/2. Diets often fail when we feel deprived. I think maybe use the technique of "thinking it through". Do you really want that snack, will you feel satisfied with just a taste or 2, will you regret it after and beat yourself up, can you stop once you start or will it continue into a long binge?

I have also heard wonderful reviews about brain over binge so maybe that book would be helpful.

keep us posted.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:05 PM   #10
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I can really relate to that feeling of getting into a bad mood when I feel deprived...maybe my parents punished me a few times too many with food deprivation? And it wasn't just that I couldn't have dessert; they would tell me I didn't "deserve" special things because I was selfish, lazy, dishonest, sneaky, etc (which I really wasn't!!! ).

However, if you don't have the emotional issues I do , there can be a real physical reason behind that bad mood: l-tryptophan, which is increased with high-carb meals, and leads to serotonin synthesis. And serotonin makes us happy!

This is a totally different amino acid, but I found that l-glutamine helped reduce a lot of my thoughts about and desires for food (although I started taking it for another reason and didn't expect this side effect). I can still eat a lot once I get hungry , but I'm more patient about waiting for food and don't really care what I eat, if that makes sense.
Secret DD weapon: L-Glutamine?
Alkaline water helps me, too...with hunger & cravings as well as the "achy, creaky, bloated" feelings that Carly mentions.
(I've talked about it in a couple different places, so maybe you've seen it already. But I'll find the info if you want...let me know! )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saxy1971 View Post
The whole eating in the car thing makes sense--I sure feel silly saying that (and believing it), but yeah....I know it's not the entire issue, but it may be a part! I think I'm going to experiment tomorrow and put a non-perishable snack in the car tomorrow so it's there when I get off work. Maybe if I do that, I can stop associating driving with fast food.
Sunflower seeds in the shell and beef jerky are a couple foods that I find are very time-consuming to eat, and distract me from wanting other things!

Another thing that helps me to not feel deprived, even when other people are eating cake & stuff around me, is a really nice coffee (hot or iced). I put in a good deal of light cream (calories, I know, but better than a cinnamon roll!!!) and a SF Torani vanilla or hazelnut syrup. Now it's almost becoming a bad habit...I can hardly get in the car without thinking about iced coffee!!! But, still better than a lot of other things I might eat!!!
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:35 PM   #11
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There are so many great posts in this thread!! A while back I had read one of JoyJoy's posts about Brain Over Binge--I'm about halfway thru the book. There is some fantastic info in there, and it has been well worth the purchase (my library system didn't have it), and I have to say that I'm progressively getting more proficient in dealing with those bing-ey thoughts before they turn into action...best of luck to you and everyone else dealing with compulsive/binge issues...
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:47 AM   #12
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I feel your pain - well, at least I used to. I admit I really believe that there are some kind of *special* additives to fast food that make us want it. Really really. I had to go cold turkey for awhile to get it under control. I used to cure every bad stress headache with taco bell burrito supreme and pepsi. It worked every time. I had to break that connection because I swear to you there was something in there that helped, which to me, meant that I was addicted.

Well, my electric motor in my power window went out. That helped. Now I can't go through a drive-thru without having to open the door, and it's pretty inconvenient. I refuse to get it fixed it's a lot of hassle to go get fast food now, and I have completely lost my desire for it. I have spent way less on eating out, a side benefit.
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:42 AM   #13
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Wow, I knew I'd get some good feedback here! Been keeping this issue inside for a while, so I appreciate this place to let it out.

PJ, I'm going to look into that L-glutamine. Putting it on the list along with Brain Over Binge and beef jerky! I indulge in coffee with heavy whipping cream in the mornings--maybe I'll monkey with the timing on that. I have a fridge in my office so I can certainly keep a carton on HWC and bring some of my syrups to work--maybe an afternoon coffee, as simple as it sounds, may help.

When I was following Atkins, I didn't have an issue with wanting fast food....and when I switched to JUDDD it wasn't either.....it just all started happening about 3 weeks ago. I looked back on what I was eating then, and things that were going on at that time and I'm left scratching my head. Not sure why it started up....kinda out of the blue.

Thank you all for the helpful and thoughtful responses.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:09 AM   #14
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Brain Over Binge, definitely, absolutely, totally.

The dichotomy of who we are as intelligent people who care about our health and mood, and the ways we unknowingly train our brains and body to act is amazing isn't it?

I am 100% with you in really enjoying grabbing a quick meal while driving.
JUDDD and learning to truly manage DDs and Brain Over Binge helped me untrain myself.

As far as mood goes, that should improve as you take control back into your life and away from your old habits.

Every time your brain nudges your body and whispers, wouldn't that be good right now? Shout (you are alone, who will know?) "No! As a matter of fact, that would NOT be good right now!" Then think about something else - redecorate the bedroom in your head, figure pi, pay attention to your driving. You can unlearn those habits. You can teach yourself to be proud of and happy with yourself every time you show your brain who is boss!
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I did not "lose" weight. I evicted it. It is gone and it ain't coming back!

JUDDD cares about calories. JUDDD does not care what you eat. Your body probably does.

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Old 09-28-2012, 05:44 AM   #15
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lots of great ideas here.

I second Carly's suggestion to have some selected most favourite fast foods in small portions on your UDs so it is not the elusive forbidden food... no big deal. Ya the cals and nutrition (not) in a huge fastfood meal is over the top, but a kids meal or just small portions of the specific flavours/textures you crave could help.

I also work in mental health and find my job stressful... so exercise and music and hot baths and good novels, and yes, BF leave me alone for a while, are all my allies in letting some of that stress discharge, and refueling me w/o using food in a misguided attempt to self-soothe, reward, etc. Sometimes a craving is just a craving... and other times it is a deeper need that food actually cannot really fill.
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:56 AM   #16
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What cured me of the habit was when I really took time to taste the food they were handing out that window. Now each time I think I want to stop and grab a burger, I remember the disappointment of how it really tastes and how much better something else tastes and where do I really want to spend my calories. Even a non-cook can do a better burger. If I want something fried, I wait for a sit down restaurant event. Good luck.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:57 AM   #17
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n'thing Brain over Binge, and also L-Glutamine. If I start having cravings, I take 1000mg glutamine with a cup of hot tea and before you know it, they are GONE, and I wonder why I was wanting anything. Really made me realize how driven by our biology we all are. Never a failure of character. Ever. Brain over Binge also helps untangle HABIT, which ends up changing our neurobiology.

You are awesome to come here for help.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:04 AM   #18
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Lisa - I eat the new nature valley protein granola bars as my treat. Maybe eating them in the car would work for you? For me, they taste just like a candy bar yet have 10g protein and only 6g sugar. Even on JUDDD when I eat them I feel like I am cheating! HTH
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:31 AM   #19
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