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Resisting Resistance

Quarter Pounder with Cheese Box (marketed in E...

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On Tuesday night I found myself sitting on the couch, eating MacDonalds for dinner, for the second night in a row. This was, I should point out, a strange and unwelcome experience for me.

Now, I know that the way I phrased that sentence makes it seem as though I wasn’t conscious when I drove to the place, made the purchase and drove home, and didn’t in fact, come awake until I was sitting on the couch with a Quarter Pounder in one hand and a fistfull of crunchy hot fries in the other. But here’s the strange bit – I’m not entirely sure that’s not what happened.

Yes, the skeptical among you will instantly dismiss this claim as an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for my actions: let’s face it – I’m on a diet and junk food is not on it. But that skeptical judgement would impede me gaining a better understanding of exactly how and why I ended up eating food that wasn’t what I planned for dinner. My proper meal, still sitting uncooked in the refrigerator, consisted of beef skewers marinated in Moroccon spices, with steamed vegetables and Harissa. This was a meal I’d had – and deeply enjoyed – before, so the waylaying of my dinner destination to MacDonalds was puzzling. If I’d been looking forward to boiled fish and potatoes, a nice greasy burger would easily win out as a choice for dinner. But it wasn’t. Dinner was going to be very nice and I’d been looking forward to it all day.

But just as I was about to turn into my own street, a vision of a golden burger and salty fries appeared on the road before me, giant and reeking flavour. In my brain, there was a brief tussle for domination, and then the moment passed. An hour later, having eaten way more than I needed to, I lay on the couch angry and frustrated that my otherwise-steely willpower could flop and flounder somewhat like a just-landed fish. What did I do wrong? How can I stop myself doing it again?

All day I’d been determined and certain that I’d be having my yummy skewers for dinner. Then there was this fuzzy moment. Then I was eating MacDonalds. That’s pretty much how it reads in my mind.

But why? Why don’t I remember more detail? Why was I not able to sustain that dedication through those brief moments of temptation? I’ve gone for almost three weeks now without any form of direct sugar in my diet – no chocolate or anything. A short while ago, I wouldn’t have thought that possible – but no temptation has swayed me into blitzing a family block of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. So if I can resist chocolate, why not greasy burgers that actually leave me feeling bad, both emotionally and physically? Given a choice between the two, I’d go chocolate any day!

I can find no ready and available answer, but there are a couple of things I might try to get myself through that moment next time. Firstly, being hungry didn’t help. I wanted food, and I wanted it NOW! Secondly, I can attempt to greet the very first burgeoning thoughts of MacDonalds with a deliberate and forceful change of thought-subject. Thirdly, I could slap myself on the face – but I’m keeping that as my reserve position, if all else fails.

It’s hard not to be angry with myself when this happens (yes, passive tense again) but I know that being angry or calling myself names doesn’t make it any easier next time, or make me feel better, so I shall refrain. Next time I see that burger vision, I shall make it a point to blow it a raspberry. I’ll let you know how that worked 🙂

NB: apologies to anybody who now feels tempted to go out and get either MacDonalds or chocolate.

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7 Comments

  1. Jane Tisell says:

    This happens to me occasionally too… hopefully not today given I’m thinking about it! But in general I find fat the hardest ‘temptation’ to resist. The old trope of ‘fat equals flavour’ is true for me and it’s much easier to walk past the chocolate aisle than it is the crisps and hot chips.

    1. Mackenzie says:

      I have always been a savoury over sweet person, myself. But there’s nothing like chocolate if you want to bury your troubles.

  2. KRin says:

    You can never tempt me into going into McChucks – the thought must makes me want to gag!

    1. Mackenzie says:

      The weirdest thing about McD is that I always used to hate it. Seriously wouldn’t go anywhere near it. But then a few years ago I stopped in for a late supper because I was famished and there was nothing else around for at least an hour. Since then, it’s plagued me, like a bad smell.

  3. Allegra says:

    I agree with KRin, McChucks holds no temptation for me. The smell of old and cooked to oblivion fat that hangs around fast foods places is a massive turn off.

    But give me chunky chips or wedges … or saganaki, mmmmm … from my local pub or similar, these I can almost never resist.

    Also, the vending machine during the late afternoon sugar cravings is a killer … it was a Cherryripe today. Sometimes I actually argue with myself the whole way, and even whilst cutting the top off the wrapper and taking my first bite. Then in a flash it’s all gone, the argument is moot and the Cherryripe is on it’s way to my fat thighs 😉

    Let me know what works for you Mackenzie, I (obviously) experience that same haze with my afternoon sugar craving vending machine moments 😉

  4. Mackenzie says:

    I must admit, that argument phase can get very wearying after a while. Sometimes you just give in through sheer exhaustion. Or at least, I do.

    Will keep you posted on how I go.

  5. […] I’m in week 3 and yes, I’ve had some rocky moments. In my last post Resisting Resistance, I talked about how I ended up eating MacDonalds two nights in a row. So, how did I go on night […]