View Full Version : Motivational thread: Overcoming bad eating habits

06-17-2008, 09:17 PM
Hi guys,

As someone who has had a long-term problem/issue with bad eating habits and eating bad foods, I just wanted to create a thread for people like me who have issues with bad eating habits. I will keep on posting things here that I find on the internet in terms of helping kick bad habits to sustain long-term weight loss.

Please share any advice, talk about issues, etc. also. I will start off by posting this interesting video on junk food (some stuff you already know but interesting nonetheless)


06-17-2008, 09:33 PM
I guess for many of us the key is moderation when it comes to fast food. But for me, a small episode of eating unhealthy foods like McDonalds, etc. can cascade to couple of days of binge eating (as in I go all out). Since obesity is a trend where you consistently over time eat bad foods, having good knowledge about the foods we eat can help. I found an interesting except from a book below. I know its nothing 'unhealthy' to eat fastfood as cheats ocassionally or normally once in a while, but I guess for those who are 'addicted' to it and used to eat it all the time, knowledge can definitely help...

The bitter Truth About Fast Food

It's no good denying it: people like fast food because it can taste pretty good. But what they may not know about is the cocktail of chemicals that gives the French fry its taste - nor the grisly events in the slaughterhouses that can put something nasty in the burger along with the beef. Eric Schlosser follows the food chain in the US, home of the fast food franchise

Pull open the glass door, feel the rush of cool air, walk in, get in line, study the backlit colour photographs above the counter, place your order, hand over a few dollars. Watch teenagers in uniforms pushing various buttons, and moments later take hold of a plastic tray full of food wrapped in coloured paper and cardboard. The whole experience of buying fast food has become so routine, so thoroughly unexceptional and mundane, that it is now taken for granted, like brushing your teeth or stopping for a red light. It has become a social custom as American as a small, rectangular, hand-held, frozen and reheated apple pie.

Over the past three decades, an industry that began with a handful of hot dog and hamburger stands in southern California has spread to almost every corner of the globe. Fast food is now served at restaurants, stadiums, airports, zoos, schools and universities, on cruise ships, trains and aeroplanes, at supermarkets, petrol stations and even in hospital cafeterias. Americans now spend more money on fast food - $110** last year - than they do on higher education. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos and recorded music - combined.

What people eat (or don't eat) has always been determined by a complex interplay of social, economic and technological forces. The early Roman Republic was fed by its citizen-farmers; the Roman Empire, by its slaves. During a relatively brief period of time, the fast food industry has helped transform not only our diet, but also the landscape, economy, workforce and popular culture. Fast food and its consequences have become inescapable, regardless of whether you eat it twice a day or have never taken a single bite. In some cases (such as the malling and sprawling of the west), the fast food industry has been a catalyst and a symptom of larger economic trends. In other cases (such as the rise of franchising and the spread of obesity), fast food has played a central role.

Hundreds of millions of people buy fast food every day without giving it much thought, unaware of the subtle and not so subtle ramifications of their purchases. They rarely consider where this food came from, how it was made, what it is doing to the community around them. I think people should know what lies behind the shiny, happy surface of every fast food transaction. They should know what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns. As the old saying goes: You are what you eat.

During my research for the book, I ate an enormous amount of fast food. Most of it tasted pretty good. That is one of the main reasons people buy fast food; it has been carefully designed to taste good. The taste of McDonald's French fries, for example, has long been praised by customers, competitors and even food critics. James Beard, the legendary American gourmet, loved McDonald's fries. Their distinctive taste does not stem from the type of potatoes that McDonald's buys, the technology that processes them, or the restaurant equipment that fries them. Other chains buy their French fries from the same large processing companies, use Russet Burbanks and have similar fryers in their restaurant kitchens. The taste of a fast-food fry is largely determined by the cooking oil. For decades, McDonald's cooked its French fries in a mixture of about 7% cottonseed oil and 93% beef tallow. The mix gave the fries their unique flavour - and more saturated beef fat per ounce than a McDonald's hamburger.

Amid a barrage of criticism over the amount of cholesterol in its fries, McDonald's switched to pure vegetable oil in 1990. The switch presented the company with an enormous challenge: how to make fries that subtly taste like beef without cooking them in tallow. A look at the ingredients now used in the preparation of McDonald's French fries suggests how the problem was solved. At the end of the list is a seemingly innocuous yet oddly mysterious phrase: "natural flavour". That ingredient helps to explain not only why the fries taste so good, but also why most fast food - indeed, most of the food Americans eat today - tastes the way it does.

Open your refrigerator, your freezer, your kitchen cupboards, and look at the labels on your food. You'll find "natural flavour" or "artificial flavour" in just about every list of ingredients. The similarities between these two broad categories are far more significant than their differences. Both are man-made additives that give most processed food its taste. The initial purchase of a food item may be driven by its packaging or appearance, but subsequent purchases are determined mainly by its taste. About 90% of the money that Americans spend on food is used to buy processed food. But the canning, freezing and dehydrating techniques used to process food destroy much of its flavour. Since the end of the second world war, a vast industry has arisen in the US to make processed food palatable. The names of the leading fast-food chains and their bestselling menu items have become famous worldwide, embedded in our popular culture. Few people, however, can name the companies that manufacture fast food's taste.

The flavour industry is highly secretive. Its leading companies will not divulge the precise formulas of flavour compounds or the identities of clients. The secrecy is deemed essential for protecting the reputation of beloved brands. The fast-food chains, understandably, would like the public to believe that the flavours of their food somehow originate in their restaurant kitchens, not in distant factories run by other firms.

The New Jersey Turnpike runs through the heart of the flavour industry, an industrial corridor dotted with refineries and chemical plants. International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF), the world's largest flavour company, has a manufacturing facility in Dayton, New Jersey. The plant is a huge, pale blue building with a modern office complex attached to the front. It sits in an industrial park, not far from a BASF plastics factory, a Jolly French Toast factory and a plant that manufactures Liz Claiborne cosmetics.

Dozens of tractor-trailers were parked at the IFF loading dock the afternoon I visited, and a thin cloud of steam floated from a roof vent. Before entering the plant, I signed a non-disclosure form, promising not to reveal the brand names of products that contain IFF flavours. The place reminded me of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Wonderful smells drifted through the hallways, men and women in neat, white lab coats cheerfully went about their work, and hundreds of little glass bottles sat on laboratory tables and shelves. The bottles contained powerful and fragile flavour chemicals, shielded from light by the brown glass and round plastic caps shut tight. The long chemical names on the little white labels were as mystifying to me as medieval Latin. They were the odd-sounding names of things that would be mixed and poured and turned into new substances, like magic potions.

I was not invited to see the manufacturing areas of the IFF plant, where it was thought I might discover trade secrets. Instead, I toured various laboratories and pilot kitchens, where the flavours of well-established brands are tested or adjusted, and where whole new flavours are created. IFF's snack and savoury lab is responsible for the flavour of crisps, corn chips, breads, crackers, breakfast cereals and pet food. The confectionery lab devises the flavour for ice cream, biscuits, sweets, toothpastes, mouthwashes and antacids. Everywhere I looked, I saw famous, widely-advertised products sitting on laboratory desks and tables. The beverage lab is full of brightly coloured liquids in clear bottles. It comes up with the flavour for popular soft drinks, sport drinks, bottled teas and wine coolers, for all-natural juice drinks, organic soy drinks, beers and malt liquors.

In one pilot kitchen I saw a dapper food technologist, a middle-aged man with an elegant tie beneath his lab coat, carefully preparing a batch of biscuits with white frosting and pink-and-white sprinkles. In another pilot kitchen I saw a pizza oven, a grill, a milk-shake machine, and a French fryer identical to those I'd seen behind the counter at countless fast-food restaurants.

In addition to being the world's largest flavour company, IFF manufactures the smell of six of the 10 bestselling perfumes in the US, including Est*e Lauder's Beautiful, Clinique's Happy, Lanc?me's Tr*sor and Calvin Klein's Eternity. It also makes the smell of household products such as deodorant, dishwashing detergent, bath soap, shampoo, furniture polish and floor wax. All of these aromas are made through the same basic process: the manipulation of volatile chemicals to create a particular smell. The basic science behind the scent of your shaving cream is the same as that governing the flavour of your TV dinner.

Scientists now believe that human beings acquired the sense of taste as a way to avoid being poisoned. Edible plants generally taste sweet; deadly ones, bitter. Taste is supposed to help us differentiate food that's good for us from food that's not. The tastebuds on our tongues can detect the presence of half a dozen or so basic tastes, including: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, astringent and umami (a taste discovered by Japanese researchers, a rich and full sense of deliciousness triggered by amino acids in foods such as shellfish, mushrooms, potatoes and seaweed). Tastebuds offer a limited means of detection, however, compared with the human olfactory system, which can perceive thousands of different chemical aromas. Indeed, "flavour" is primarily the smell of gases being released by the chemicals you've just put in your mouth. The aroma of food can be responsible for as much as 90% of its flavour.

Text is too long to paste, so you can finish readin the rest here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4166689,00.html

Dave P
06-17-2008, 09:34 PM
Pardon me for sounding like a hardass but I've always subscribed to the "Master Yoda" technique when it comes to eating habits



06-17-2008, 09:38 PM
Pardon me for sounding like a hardass but I've always subscribed to the "Master Yoda" technique when it comes to eating habits




I say a clear goal with a deadline that people you care are aware of is key to success.

06-18-2008, 06:36 AM
First off, I suggest that everyone who eats fast food and is struggling with it pick up a copy of Fast Food Nation and read it. If that won't turn you off fast food, nothing will.

Second, what has always worked for me is the 21 day rule. It takes 21 days to form a habit. Focus on the short term. Saying "I'm never going to eat a Big Mac again" can be a daunting thing for a lot of people. However, saying "I am not going to eat a Big Mac for 3 weeks isn't that hard". Stick with it, and you'll find that once the 3 weeks is up, you're desire to eat a Big Mac will be seriously reduced.

06-18-2008, 06:58 AM
I do basically the same thing as jimsmith9999, I take it one day at a time. I normally wake up and tell myself, today i won't cheat, how hard is it to be clean for 1 day? and then I try to keep my streak alive until i beat/match my longest clean streak (6 weeks).

I also ask myself if the food i'm about to put in my mouth is worth it. Is it the best thing i can be eating right now? Sometimes you have to cheat a little, like when you are on the road and there aren't many choices other than a wendy's chicken sandwhich or something because you didn't prepare well. I will never starve myself because that just screams eating disorder.

06-18-2008, 07:04 AM
I too also follow that mantra of : "do or not do, there is no try"

However, when I was overweight and 50 pounds heavier, what I do to curb my cravings and not overeat and cheat was to post my fat pictures up in my bed on the morning. Every time, I was always reminded of who I was in the past and how I would strive to be better.

Another weird thing I used to do was eat shirtless by a mirror. This is kinda extreme but it works. Not for starving purposes, but just so that I won't graze on more food than I intend to eat.

06-18-2008, 07:10 AM
I am a recovering junk food-aholic. Nothing but junk food for a good portion of my life.

What works for me better than anything else is preparation, if you prepare your food for the day ahead of time you dont have to worry about scrambling for that candy bar, or that soda, or stopping my McD's on the way home. Its worked wonders for me.

great article by the way. Read the whole thing, very interesting

06-18-2008, 07:21 AM
I simpy dont eat anything that I dont know the calories of. If I am on a limited calorie number for the day then I wont waste them on fast food because you dont get enough bang for the buck.

After you go a bit without it, you wont miss it. When you do finally eat a burger or something, you quickly realize that it tastes the same as it always has, like crap.

02-27-2013, 10:01 PM
Thanks for this thread. This is really helpful particularly for those who are in the process of weight loss.

02-27-2013, 10:08 PM
What about IIFYM. You can still enjoy those foods when you hit your protein macros and have calories left over.