In the spirit of the new year, this month I’ll be sharing a few successes I’ve had in beating bad habits or introducing new, healthy practices into my daily life – and how I did it. I hope my “how I did it” stories inspire you to try making your own changes in 2014 – or to share your own success stories in the comments!
I have never eaten more French fries, during any point of my life, than I did in my early years of motherhood.
Looking back, I can see how it happened. I was staying home with a toddler and an infant, and we lived in a suburban area where I didn’t know many people. Mornings were for breakfast and housework and naps, but when afternoon came, stretching so long and lonely in front of me, I’d start to get twitchy.
Daily I’d strap the kids in the car and we’d go for a drive, our “Best of Sesame Street” cassette on repeat (my car was a 1995 model and I didn’t own any other cassettes!). Sometimes we’d go to the zoo, sometimes the mall, sometimes the park…anything to kill time and get out of the house.
But almost always, our trip either began with a swing through a drive-thru, or ended with one on the way back.
I was a connoisseur of fast food in those days. I knew the options on every single menu board. I knew exactly, to the penny, what certain meal combinations would cost, and I knew, always, which toys were on the kid’s meals. (It always drove me crazy that Wendy’s had the best food but the worst kid’s meal toys, while Burger King’s food left me cold, but they had the best trinkets!)
At some point, though, my love affair with fast food started to wane. Maybe it was when, during my fourth pregnancy, I started experiencing gall bladder spasms every time I’d eat a serving of fries. Maybe it was when I realized that my metabolism would no longer allow me to maintain my weight on a steady diet of value meals. Or maybe it was when my boys started graduating out of the kids’ meal stage, and I experienced the serious sticker shock of trying to feed seven people on “grown-up” fast food. (A trip to the Golden Arches can easily set us back $40 or more these days.)
It took a while to cut down – the lure of easy, salty/greasy/fatty food, fast, can be hard to overcome! – but gradually we went from eating fast food 4-5 times a week to about once a week. I was okay with that frequency and could have continued right there, but something strange happened while I wasn’t looking: we almost completely stopped eating fast food, without my even consciously deciding not to. [click to continue…]