Fighting the fast food addiction

Welcome to fast food rehab. This is my own version of the 12-step recovery program to get you out of the habit and into a healthier diet. You can call it Junk Food Anonymous if you want. Don’t worry, you’re among friends who have lived in "combo-land" and survived.

Step 1: Admitting the problem

The main problem with fast food is pretty much summed up in its name: It’s fast, easy and convenient. If you rely on junk food to feed yourself it can be hard to just give it up. There are different levels of addiction to fast food. The first level would be eating fast food in the office everyday because "there’re really no other options." The worst level of them all is when you actually know the name of the delivery boy of your favorite restaurant–that’s when it’s time look yourself in the mirror and call yourself a junkie.

Step 2: 40 Days is all you need

Habits are built over 40 days. If you keep your spirit up and hold on to your willpower, after 40 days you won’t even feel the need to call another delivery spot and order your favorite combo. You will be reborn junk-free.

Step 3: Money, Money, Money

Believe it or not, it is actually cheaper to cook or order healthy food than junk. If you need more financial incentive, think of all the stuff you can buy with the cash you spend on fast food: For the price of two combos you can afford a small breakfast, a tasty chicken salad for lunch, and a ticket to watch the latest Johnny Depp flick. That will be a carb-free, fat-free, fun-filled day.

Step 4: Think of all the hassle

You might think that fast food comes free of problems but you’re wrong: The delivery is late, the telephone customer care persona answers you with the usual meaningless apologies, the delivery boy won’t bother bringing some change to break your LE100 bill, the food comes cold because they deliver three or four orders together. And, of course, there’s the biggest problem of all: Who’s going to pay the bill and make sure everyone else pays back their share?

Step 5: Out of sight, out of mind

Once you have mentally prepared yourself to kick the habit, it’s time to take actual steps to stop yourself from ordering. Start by throwing away all the menus, deleting all the restaurants’ numbers from your mobile, and switching to a different channel when the TV brings you the latest invention from that pizza chain you love.

Step 6: Gross yourself out

Download Food Inc. and watch it! These kinds of documentaries are good to gross you out and remind you of what you actually eat when you order that sandwich. Think of all the unnatural elements that are included in that shiny menu. Imagine how your body will react to these ingredients if you left them on your skin for couple of hours rather than eating them.

Step 7: Don’t lead me into temptation

When you are addicted to fast food, your ordering-friends are your worst enemies. Stop hanging around your co-workers who order junk food for lunch in the office. Ignore the people who insist that you order something with them and change the timing of your lunch break so you can avoid their temptation. Notice that a junk food junkie usually needs someone else to share the guilt of ordering. Don’t be that someone.

Step 8: Find food alternatives

Start by eating breakfast before you leave the house. That will change your whole eating regime. Then find yourself some healthy alternatives. Healthy restaurants are all over town, and most of the cafés have better options when it comes to eating healthy. If you cannot find any good restaurant around you bring some food from home or order a salad. At the very least, avoid the combo!

Step 9: Find yourself a sponsor

You won’t be able to handle the pressure of quitting this routine alone. You need a friend who shares the same goal so both of you can help each other not to fall off the wagon. Make sure to pick someone close to you so you both can handle the stress of junk food diversion.

Step 10: Get busy

When you start your fast food rehab you’ll find yourself thinking of food all the time. It’s going to be an obsession with junk food that you’ve never experienced before. The reason behind this feeling is not hunger, it’s the habit of ordering food that’s bugging you. This period requires a lot of willpower and self-control to pass, but if you get busy enough and find yourself other things to do, you’ll be able to get through it.

Step 11: Cut yourself some slack

After a hectic day at the office you just need a break. The traffic jam and the empty house only add salt to your wounds. That’s when it’s okay to order yourself some greasy food and a milkshake. Don’t feel bad about it unless everyday is milkshake day. Once a week would be ideal.

Step 12: One second on the lip, forever on the hip

If you are one of the people who cannot actually stop themselves from eating junk, then you need to work out constantly. Find yourself an alternative healthy lifestyle that can help balance between what you really like to eat and how healthy you to keep your body.

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