Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mickey D's Free for Two Years and I'm Lovin' It

The Omnivore's Dilemma
An excerpt from the Omnivore's Dilemma

It was the Tuesday just before Thanksgiving my first year of graduate school. After running some errands, I got in my car and started to head home. I was a little hungry so on the way I stopped at a McDonald’s, pulled up to the drive through window, and proceeded to order a large fry. Little did I know that would be the last time any food from McDonald’s would ever cross my lips. It wasn’t planned. I didn’t say to myself, "Chioma, no more McDonald’s ever." It just happened. That day was November 22, 2011.

Maybe the Omnivore’s Dilemma had something to do with my decision to abandon fast food. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a book written by investigative journalist Michael Pollan about the U.S. and it’s dependency on corn. Let’s just say when you order a Big Mac with large fries and a large soda what you’re really ordering is corn with a side of corn and washing it down with yet more corn. I don’t think reading Fast Food Nation helped either.

It has now been a little over two years since I last ate at McDonald’s and I feel great. Right around that same time I also stopped eating at most of my favorite fast food restaurants like Chipotle, Zaxby’s, and Bojangles (you’d only know about the last two if you live below the Mason-Dixon Line). While giving up McDonald’s wasn’t too challenging, giving up these three was much harder.  Fortunately, they don’t have as many chains so I’m not as often confronted with the decision I’ve made.

While I do have a lot of willpower, I’m also human. At some point in the future, I may find myself in a Zaxby’s parking lot, not knowing how I got there, and I’ll order a Wings N’ Things  with ranch dressing not Zax sauce. But for the time being, I’m at peace with the decisions I’ve made. If that changes, then I may have to make a one-time exception.


It’s about sustainability after all. Sustainability equals long-term success. When you have a plan that you can stick to, then you’re golden. If you can’t imagine going the rest of your life without a burrito bowl from Chipotle then don’t, but maybe you could limit it to once every few months.  When you find your groove, whether it’s an eating plan that works for you or an exercise plan that you enjoy, that’s when six months, one year, two years goes by and you’re still going strong.

You just have to be willing to figure out what is and isn't realistic for you. It's much easier than you think, I promise! Go out and be great this week!

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