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Is quitting fast food really worth your time? What you need to know

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quitting fast food

Two weeks ago, Mr. FC and I decided to cut fast food out of our life. Well, more specifically until February 2018. We started the day after Thanksgiving and have been going strong.

I wanted to share with you the ups and downs of our journey, and the surprising effects that we’ve faced along the way.

Let’s start off by saying that we were regular fast food eaters. We’d eat fast food at least twice, but closer to 3 times a week, every week. It was easy to do, and we always craved it. Needless to say it’s not easy giving up such a big part of your eating routine.

The first week, we did really well. You can read the post about week one here.

This week was a little different.

Here are some of the positive changes in week 2 of not eating fast food:

The Kitchen is clean every night

Not that I wasn’t already in the habit of cleaning it 80% of the time. But it’s something about knowing I NEED to use the kitchen each day that really makes it necessary to sleep with a clean kitchen every night.

We have less food waste

This one is such a win for me. Before stopping the fast food habit, I was the star of the “meme” below. 

I bought enough food for the week, but we’d only eat at home 3-4 days. Each week the trash would be filled with untouched produce and fruits. Such a waste! But now, I can proudly say that we finish almost everything.

We eat as a family

family dinner

When we brought home fast food, everyone’s order would be different, and often times from different places. We never really got to share in the experience of eating the same meal when we ate fast food.

Now, we eat the same thing, and we think about how we can make it better or different the next time. Dinner has become a family affair every night instead of sometimes.

We’ve become stronger

This week, we had some sever California fires. One day, I left work early and it took me 4 hours to get home and I hadn’t eaten breakfast at work like I usually do. When I finally got off the train and my husband picked me up, he suggested fast food and I suggested breakfast for dinner for something quick. We went with my suggestion and when we finished eating, he said he was so glad that he ate in. The food was so yummy and we saved at least $15.

Speaking of saving, let’s talk!

Looking you straight in the eye right now…in the last two weeks, we’ve saved more than $100 in comparison to the first two weeks last month (which was a total of $155.88). If we kept this going, we could potentially save $2,600 in year!

vacation

That’s an all expenses paid trip for a week to Cancun for a family of 4, or several other awesome places of our choice. It’s crazy to think that just eliminating fast food could give us an awesome family vacation each year. Or anything else we decide to use that money on. It’s awesome to think of all the possibilities!

I lost weight

In all honesty, I’m trying to lose weight anyway, but not having fast food made it easier on me. I had the control of how I cooked at home, so losing 4 pounds in the last two weeks shows how many calories we’ve saved from consuming real food at home.

There’s a sense of togetherness

Mr. FC and I feel like we’re in this together. During the first week, we were nervous that it would be too hard and we would fail. But since starting this challenge, we’ve been thinking of meal ideas together, cooking more together, and talking about our growing savings that we’ve enjoyed in the last two weeks. It feels great going through this as a united team.

The downside of quitting fast food

I’ve been talking about all the great things that we’ve experienced with not eating fast food. But, I really want this blog to be super transparent and I want you to know both sides of the challenge.

It has been tough. For someone who has been regularly eating out 2-3 times a week, quitting cold turkey was a huge step. It was more than just quitting a habit, it changed our life.

It sounds dramatic, but it completely changed the way we had our routine. In the past, when I had a tough day at work or the kids had activities right after school, we’d opt for the easy fast food route. But, with this change, I was forced to think and plan differently.

We run the dishwasher more often

The dishwasher runs almost 4 times a week now. That’s double the amount of time we used to run it. But it’s still a good thing because it means we’re eating more at home.

We’re a family of 4 and when we used to eat fast food, we’d load the dishwasher almost every night and only run it twice a week. We definitely use way more dishes each night and we fill it up much quicker now. The kids complained once (since they unload it) but I think they’re getting used to it.

The extra planning

Each night, I HAD to plan out our meals for the next day to make sure that we would be fed at home without too much inconvenience and without eating out. It was a balance that brought me a lot of stress.

balance

The moments of weakness and hunger

Many times, when we felt hungry outside the home, it was a quick minute fix to a drive thru. Now, we have to find other ways of filling our bellies enough to make it home to eat a proper meal.

To combat this, I put Fiber One Bars in the car for the kids, in case they got hungry when we were not home. I thought this would be a good way to curb their hunger until we were able to eat dinner. Thankfully, it worked well.

Too tired to Cook

There were many days that I had a really hard long day at work and really didn’t want to make dinner. But, I thought about what Dave Ramsey said on his show one day. Don’t be a baby about it, do what you have to do. I’m paraphrasing, but I didn’t want to be baby about it and I knew that if I had given in just 1 day, it would be all over and I would fail.

Instead, on the days that I was so tired, we decided to make breakfast for dinner or have leftovers. This brought me relief and we were able to move forward with the challenge. I woke up the next day feeling energized and empowered. Those mornings were the best.

Feeling Stressed

From time to time, I get anxious that life will get in the way of our eating plans. But, I’ve quickly learned that I need to take it one meal at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed.

Liking Fast Food

The one huge challenge is not having our favorite fast food yummies. We all know that fast food is not good for us. But, it doesn’t change the fact that most of us have our favorite go-to’s and we thoroughly enjoy them.

This will probably not change anytime soon. Sure, I’m doing well with quitting fast food, but do I crave it? Absolutely! But, I know what we’re doing will pay off tenfold in the long run and that’s what keeps me going.

Have you ever thought of quitting fast food? Did you try this challenge before? If you haven’t, what made you hesitate?

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Until next time frugal friend,

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