Last September, I decided I was going to stop eating Taco Bell and drinking Mountain Dew when October 1 rolled around. I was putting the consumption of both to shame. I went through the drive-through nearly every day and got to a point where I just wanted to eat better. I also wanted fewer line items on my checking account statements to be for fast food, and anyway, I needed to spend what little money I had more wisely. I took Operation: Poison Removal slowly so that I wouldn’t flip out and be found naked in an alley somewhere, mumbling and covered in chalupas.
The first few days were difficult. Taco Bell had been my go-to restaurant since adolescence and was an oasis when I was hungry but didn’t have a lot of money. After three days, I thought, “Fuck it,” and I zoomed into the drive-through. I felt guilty – like committed-a-murder guilty – but reasoned that no one would know if I didn’t tell them. I went to place my order but was informed that the speaker was malfunctioning and that I should come inside to place my order. I said okay but zoomed off instead. Message received, Goddess.
The most difficult aspect of giving up Taco Bell was the knee-jerk reaction to just pop through the drive-through. Taco Bells are, of course, everywhere and it was easy to forget that I didn’t eat there anymore. But then a week passed. And another week. And then a month had passed. I ate a lot of Subway in the meantime, which I had always liked, and I was still supplementing with other fast food, so it was easy to find other stuff to eat. I just had that "Hey, let's -- oh. Wait." feeling to get past.
My next goal, which I honestly thought I would Flat Out Fucking Fail, was giving up Diet Coke and McDonald’s. I had long thought that McD’s was poison and their burgers tasted pretty bad (or at least not great), but I had started going there for breakfast too often. I had long abhorred the bucket-of-soda trend employed by so many fast food restaurants -- seriously, when did a small become a medium and a medium become a quart? -- and getting yet another toxin out of my blood was weirdly easy to do.
It was super easy to give up McDonald’s. I’ve had Taco Bell two or three times since October and I've regretted it every time. The first time, I was a little drunk and a lot hungry and the burrito I got managed to be cold, warm, and hard simultaneously. It was one of the grossest things I ever choked down, but I was pretty desperate. The food – or “food,” rather – tastes pretty awful now that I’m not eating it every day, so it’s getting easier and easier to not give in. I’ve gotten pretty good at going to the grocery, which used to bring on serious anxiety as I sat in the car trying to psych myself up to go inside the store. It isn’t always easy to shop, but now it’s because I’m tired instead of DEATH NO HELP SAVE ME AIIIEEE.
I don't remember when I gave up Burger King and Wendy's, but I ditched them before the end of 2015. At first, I was super disappointed that I didn't notice huge changes. My jeans got looser... I think. Or they stretched out. And I felt better... I thought. But I wasn't sure. When was I sure I'd made the right choice? After eating crap or drinking soda. Like a non-painful hangover. A sluggish yuckiness that just had to work itself out.
I still eat vending machine snacks, chips with sandwiches, and I've yet to shun white sugar and white flour, BUT I cook at home more, I watch cooking videos as learning tools instead of straight up food porn, and I'm starting to buy more seasonings. I'm far from dashing a handful of artisinal mushrooms across some free-range quinoa that was hand-washed by Buddhists who've taken a vow of silence, but my body is happier and that's the stepping stone I need right now.