The title sums up the post but I’ll elaborate! Please note I’ll use restaurant, takeout and fast-food all referring to food we didn’t cook at home.
My husband and I had a terrible fast-food/ takeout/ restaurant habit. It was so bad that I would meal prep then we’d get takeout and have lots of food waste as we wouldn’t double back to eat what I cooked. I kept watching my weight balloon because I ordered whatever sounded good at the moment. My new peak was/is 251lbs; I’m only 5’6″… As the horror of this new depressing milestone set in, my husband pitched the no fast food idea to me. I quickly agreed but was worried he’d have to be my strength due to my sugary coffee addiction. Little did I know I was going to do great!
Week 1: The biggest challenge was finding a coffee alternative to my Starbucks addiction. In case you need an idea of what I mean, I’d go to Starbucks and buy 2 drinks (grande and venti) usually with extra espresso or a syrup and a pastry (chocolate croissant). It was expensive and not the best choice for me. The alternative I found was La Colombe available at some Target and Costco locations. I have tried the four flavors available near me but they have more (listed by preference): Mocha, Triple Shot, Vanilla with regular milk and with oat milk. Though the month is over I continue to buy these or brew coffee at home instead of going out.
Week 2: I really started missing the convenience of fast food. The ease of going through the drive-thru or waiting until night before eating because I could. Around this time I realized I could meal prep without it being boring. I decided to start planning my meals a day or two before we went grocery shopping. I thought of what I used to order and simply switched the drive-thru for the grocery store. I even went back to finding quick flavorful meals on Pinterest. I can’t decide if I want to write about the things I’ve tried on Pinterest or not but here’s a picture of one meal we loved. My husband ate it with his steak on “fancy” days when he didn’t feel like eating his regular meal.
Week 3: We went to the grocery store way too much. This was a strange issue. We were eating at home like we planned but we weren’t sticking to our normal food. We made lots of unnecessary trips to the grocery store for wine, sake, sushi, pastries and frozen pizza. Needless to say I was eating at home but my extras were eating up the money we were saving. Again I had to take a look at what I was eating, when and why. I knew I was an emotional eater but the detailed answers to those questions became clear during this month. Once I started addressing them, I was able to make a more realistic meal plan.
Week 4: I was doing well and even preferred cooking all of my meals. It was a different form of self care. I was choosing to put my health first with every meal I cooked. I had to plan, commit and cook. I would listen to music, think about fun things to do with the kids or just have random internal conversations with myself. I could keep this up no problem. At the end, I knew I’d go back to eating out especially sushi as nothing compares to the actual sushi bar but this time it would be rare versus regular. Plus we like to support local and try new restaurants.
Week 5: The month ended and I had my first take-out in over 32 days! I was excited since I was armed with this new resolve to only eat out occasionally. I opened it up, took a bite and immediately thought “that’s it, right back to old habits” then something cool happened. I felt GROSS. My stomach was bloated and upset, my feet and hands started to swell and I couldn’t finish it. I COULDN’T FINISH IT!!!! That might sound awful to some but for me it was great. It was proof my choices really were having a negative effect on my health. At home, I controlled all of the ingredients and the amounts but when someone else does the cooking you can’t control it. Sure you can order healthy alternatives, eat at certain places, etc but at the end someone else is still in control.
Conclusion: If you want to try something different or challenge yourself, go for it. You might be shocked at what you discover. Did I lose a bunch of weight? No. Did I save a ton more by eating at home? No because experimenting with food can be pricey. I didn’t expect what I did get. We did start eating all meals at the table. I started being more aware of what I was eating as well as the snacks my kids were eating. My oldest tried kale. I’ve started to take better care of myself; no more quarantine slump. Overall I feel better, am more aware of what I’m doing and am more present with my kids. I also have a schedule and am starting to get active. I would definitely consider this experiment a success. I’ve even moving on to a new challenge but that’ll be for a separate post 🙂