The McDonald’s Diet! It McWorks! Lose Weight Eating Fast Food!

I don’t want to start a debate about the fast food industry. I’m well aware it has its detractors. I know that some view it as the scourge of the restaurant industry. Some of the people who hate fast food distrust the entire food industry as a whole. I know that there is a growing sentiment that we should all be farming and growing our own food. So if you have issues with the fast food industry this blog is not for you!

I’m on the road a lot and I’m not the type who packs food to have with me at all times. I don’t worry about where or what will be my next meal. When I’m hungry, I find food wherever I happen to be. The closest food is often under the Golden Arches.

Golden Arches mean variety, portion control, cheap and tasty food when I'm on the road!

Golden Arches mean variety, portion control, cheap and tasty food when I’m on the road!

I find fast food restaurants to be the natural choice for me to get a meal. It’s cheap, fast, easy and predictable. If I recognize the chain, I know what’s on the menu, and I know what to expect as far as flavor and portion, plus the calories are even posted on the menu board. It’s a safer bet than a small, local restaurant in the town through which I’m passing. I save the wonderful, small, local restaurants for a time when I’m going to have a special dining experience.

It’s absolutely untrue that you can’t lose weight while eating at McDonald’s. You can and it can help to make the whole weight loss process easier. Of course, your success depends on what you order or how much you eat.

The specialty sandwiches are generally not the better choices, at least not as your “go-to selections,” anyway. The more meat, cheese, sauces, and bacon piled between two or more jumbo rolls, the more fat and calories it will contribute to your day. Some of those sandwiches provide more than enough fat and calories for the entire day.

I'm on the road a lot, so this kind of big sandwich isn't part of my typical order. I usually get a child's hamburger meal. I have an impressive stash of  the toys that come with them!

I’m on the road a lot, so this kind of big sandwich isn’t part of my typical order. I usually get a child’s hamburger meal. I have an impressive stash of the toys that come with them!

Let me be clear that I am not saying never order these sandwiches. I’m suggesting that you don’t make them the only thing you eat when you visit your favorite fast food restaurants. I’m also suggesting that you eat them slowly, savor them fully, and ignore the unit - a unit being a entire sandwich. Instead of eating by units, stop when you’re full which is likely to be before the whole unit has been consumed.

If you’re afraid the unit will go down faster than you can control your power to stop, get a side salad to help slow you down. Taking sips of your beverage between bites helps and don’t eat while driving! Driving and eating can be messy and sometimes we push a whole sloppy sandwich into our mouths just to free our hands so they can get back to the task at hand – driving!

I prefer to avoid the drive thrus as much as possible and actually walk into the restaurant to place my order and sit down to eat it at a table. I get a little extra exercise and eating at a table promotes slower eating and more enjoyment than sitting in my car, moving or still!

Have some fries!Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 11.50.26 AMGet a small order and enjoy 5 or 6, then toss out the rest. You can also indulge in the sundaes, frostees, and other sweet treats occasionally while you’re successfully taking off those pounds. Just remember that the more you eat, the more physical activity will be needed to balance the calories.

Most of the time stick to the better choices. They are the small burgers, the side salads and saladsScreen Shot 2014-05-22 at 11.51.22 AM topped with grilled chicken – not crispy – and some of the wraps. Always get the grilled chicken in your wraps. Read the descriptions to know what kind of saucy, cheesy or croutonny extra calories that might be sprinkled in or on top! You can ask them to leave them off and often they come on the side anyway.

Some of the wraps they use are too big. You can pull off and throw away a lot of the tortilla. Sometimes they have multiple layers of the wrap all folded up at the bottom of your sandwich. You won’t sacrifice anything by ridding yourself of a bunch of those extra layers of flour tortilla!

Some fast food burgers have mayonnaise on them. Ask for no mayonnaise, but enjoy the catsup, mustard, and onions! If you stick with plain burgers instead of cheeseburger you’ll cut back by 100 or more calories.

Choose water, diet soda, low fat or fat free milk to drink. McDonald’s, by the way, has super cold, low-fat milk in little jugs! I always get milk there because it’s so good. Steer clear of the smoothies and specialty drinks for the most part. Some of those have 800 calories!

COLD, COLD Milk!

COLD, COLD Milk!

If you really want one of those drinks you might consider it your meal and you will have to eat lightly during another meal the same day. The guiding principle is to order it if you want it and know how much you want to consume before you take the first sip. Whatever you decided shall be your stopping point is when you stop.

The fast food haters, if they’re still reading this blog, are quite nauseated by now, I’m sure. If that’s you, you’re thinking, “I’d never eat that crap.” Okay, don’t but please don’t try to force your values on me!

Some fast food haters are really secret fast food fiends. They love fast food and they fear it because of its power to make them eat more than they think they should be eating. Hating fast food for its alleged unhealthful ingredients and additives is a way some try to psyche themselves out of indulging. It usually doesn’t work, plus if you like fast food why not let your natural preferences work for your weight loss success instead of against it?

If you love it, be assured, you can lose weight eating the fast food you love!

As for the things you read about fast food and it’s unhealthy qualities, be skeptical. Look for the sources of the studies that are cited. If you never heard of junk science  you owe it to yourself to find out more about how junk science is used to manipulate the people with fear and nonsense in order to achieve a hidden agenda.

 

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is the general manager of Weight Watchers of Maine. She is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. Her experience with her own weight management journey and raising girls has given her insight into the struggles families face with weight, healthy body image, food and physical activity. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news for more than ten years and appears monthly as a guest on FOX network morning program Good Day Maine.