If you’ve ever been on a diet, you’ll know how hard it is to resist fast food.
When you’re trying to lose weight, it can seem like the only foods your brain wants are McDonald’s, Wendy’s or Burger King. Worse, you’ll find yourself noticing the billboards and advertisements for these fast food delights even more!
Some people find it impossible to resist the constant barrage of these sights and smells. Especially when they’re hungry, tired or stressed – and they’re walking past a Taco Bell.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could still have your share of fast food and lose weight?
Well, you can – and it may mean you’re more successful.
You see, abstaining from a particular type of food isn’t always the best way to lose weight. Sure, you may drop a few pounds when you cut out pizza and burgers for a while – but how long can you really hold out? And what happens when you cave in and binge?
You pile all the weight back on, of course. Worse, you wind up feeling like a failure – which can lead to more bingeing.
Psychological research has shown that one of the reasons most diets fail is to do with deprivation. When you fight against your ‘pleasure principle’, you’re denying your natural to enjoy a treat. This in itself is a difficult thing to do.
Then there’s the fact that each of us only has a finite amount of self-control. When we exert it too often, it becomes weaker – and eventually, you may just give up trying to control your desires altogether.
That’s how the fast food diet concept came about.
Fast food dieting
Fast food dieting is all about managing your love of junk food – rather than abstaining from it. Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? Basically, it suggests that if 80 percent of your diet is healthy, then you can allow 20 percent to be ‘not so healthy. Because this means most of what you’re eating is good for you, the final 20 percent isn’t likely to make a huge difference (as long as you keep it to 20 percent!)
And, unbeknown to many of us, there ARE healthy options in most fast food restaurants. The trick is to apply them!
Essentially, the fast food diet is less about what’s ‘not allowed’ and more about swapping the foods that are super high in calories for those that contain fewer calories – but are still on the fast food menu.
You might be surprised at how many options you’ll still have. Here’s an idea:
Choose grilled chicken instead of fried. Many popular chain restaurants have this option. Think Burger King Tendergrill, McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken, Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club, Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken.
Instead of creamy or oil-based dressings, choose the non-fat or lite options. Many major restaurants chains have a non-fat balsamic vinaigrette or similar. Instead of mayonnaise, have mustard.
Don’t reach for French fries! Instead, head to a cafe that serves baked potatoes with vegetables, meat, and cheese. The potato will curb your carb cravings while the vegetables and cheese add a nutritional bonus. Hash browns or potato cakes at McDonalds or Hardees are also an option – and still a better one than fries!
Swap soda for soda water. This simple hack can save you hundreds of calories. A medium McDonald’s Coke contains 220 calories alone! Fortunately, you’ll now find that most chain restaurants have bottled water on hand.
Try a salad – or at least a salad-based sandwich. Yes, they do exist! And they’re a fraction of the calorie content. Try Subway’s Veggie Delight With Fat-Free Italian Dressing, KFC’s Grilled Chicken BLT Salad, McDonald’s: Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken or Taco Bell’s Chicken Fiesta Taco Salad.
Still unsure? Here’s an idea of different meal options throughout the day. (NOTE: you don’t have to eat at fast food restaurants for every meal!)
Fast Food Dieting Schedule
Breakfast: McDonald’s Egg McMuffin
Morning Snack: Fresh fruit
Lunch: KFC’s Grilled Chicken BLT Salad
Afternoon Snack: Carrot sticks and hummus
Dinner: Wendy’s Power Mediterranean chicken salad
Evening Snack/Dessert: McDonald’s Fruit’n Yogurt parfait
Now, there’s no promise that the fast food diet concept will have you looking like a supermodel. The point is that you CAN still dine out at the conventional chain restaurants you know and love as long as you choose the healthy options over deep-fried.
Healthy alternatives exist for a reason: so that people can enjoy the convenience and flavor of fast foods without guilt. And, if you’re too busy to cook, they’re ideal.
Moreover, you’ll be more likely to stick to your healthy-eating plan because you’re not cutting out your favorite treats. And because most restaurants now carry nutritional information on their products, you’ll be able to keep track of your ‘good behavior’ – even if you’re sitting in McDonald’s!
So, if you want to skip the celery and head to BK’s, do it – just do it healthily.