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The Fast Food Diet
You Can Eat on the Go Without Getting Fat!

Has our fast-paced lifestyle made healthy, nutritious lunches a thing of the past? There are a million reasons why fast food may be your only choice for your midday meal, 999,999 of them having to do with time and the lack of it — there's no time to pack a sensible lunch in the morning, there's no time to sit down at a restaurant and order healthy food, you're working through lunch anyway and you've got too many other things going on to even spend a few minutes thinking about lunch, much less eating it. We could sit you down and give you a lecture about time management and the necessity of taking care of yourself and appreciating the moment (after all, this is a mind-body website and it's our right). But we're not your mom and we're not into lectures anyway. Instead we're going to work with you on this, because the truth is that you can get away with eating fast food for lunch and still avoid getting fat.

(Article continued below.)

Not that we think eating fast food every day is a good thing — it's not. We really do wish that you would take the time to have a fresh, healthy meal at lunchtime. In fact, lunch should be as important a meal as dinner — after all, you probably need more energy while working in the afternoon than you do sitting in front of the television at night. A healthy diet is about food management as much as it is about calories, protein, fat and carbs. Ideally you should only consume as much food as you will burn off before your next meal or snack. Eat more than that and you store the extra calories as fat — it's math, pure and simple. If we all ate according to what our bodies — not our emotions or taste buds — required, nobody would be overweight and you wouldn't be reading this article (nor would we be writing it).

The following diet covers seven days and you will be consuming approximately 1500-1600 calories every day. If you're a woman in your 20s or early 30s, you will probably lose a little bit of weight; if you're older, you probably won't see a significant drop on the scale (you'd probably need more than a week at a 1500 calorie diet, or cut out another 100 calories a day to really start the scale moving downwards). Men, you're lucky — you can increase your snack and dinner portions for a daily total of about 1800-1900 calories, but don't increase your fast food lunch portions unless you've done some research on the choices you have at each restaurant. The menus at fast food joints are like a minefield — you're more likely to make a false step than a wise one. At this calorie count, you will definitely lose some weight. No one should expect any huge drops, however — this diet only lasts a week, and you are eating a sensible — if lower-calorie — diet, not starving yourself (which you shouldn't do anyhow).

Before we get to the actual diet, you need to keep the following in mind:

  • This is not meant to be a permanent way of eating. This diet is merely to prove that you can make good food choices, even if you frequently consume fast food. The best time for this diet is when you legitimately are too busy to put any thought into what you're eating. We'd prefer it if you did brown bag it with fresh, wholesome food. This diet is for those weeks when you can't find the time to fix lunch, and you want to drop a pound or two.
  • Although this is a lower-calorie diet, unfortunately it is not a low-sodium diet. When it comes to fast food, we can't help those who need to cut down on salt — well, we probably could with a lot more time and effort, but the results would be too restrictive to appeal to everyone else.
  • Sorry, no fries and no shakes — not even the small sizes. When it comes to fast food, these items are real deal breakers — they're loaded with empty calories and/or fat. No sodas of the non-diet variety either. In fact, it would be best if you could forego diet sodas completely and stick to water. Research has shown that drinking more than 12 ounces of cola per day may lower bone mineral density, and in any case, sodas with artificial sweeteners should be avoided — who really knows the long-term effects of putting those chemicals into your body?

Okay, you have ground rules — now, onto the Fast Food Diet.

Next page >> First, the At-Home Choices >> Page 1, 2, 3, 4

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