It All Started With a Burger


Last night late night advertising got to me and I ravenously wanted a hamburger. Granted I’ve been dealing with a lot of pain and pretty immobilized and this was a quick-feel-good fix, but it stunned me nonetheless. I didn’t just want a burger, I felt like nothing else but a burger would do.

I’ve been there before; I’ve been in that spot where you get denied what you really want and you’ll eat everything under the sun and still want that thing that has you fixated.

This is no doubt part of the roots of my food addiction. It’s not *just* that I wanted a burger, it’s that I couldn’t stand *not* having the burger. The burger wasn’t just a burger anymore – it was going to make a crappy couple of days better.

That’s when the justification began. I had about 400 calories left to spend of my day before I reached the 1200 mark. I’d planned on an egg sandwich for my last meal of the deal but I could turn that up and anything else I would have eaten to make up the 200 or so calorie difference to eat a burger.

The trick was to find a fast food burger that wouldn’t sabotage my entire day.

And this, dear readers, is where the journey took an interesting turn.

Not only did I figure out how the obesity rate in this country is skyrocketing, I found out why I myself got so fat.

Fast food is the devil.

Now granted, some foods are better than others – but there are some definite diet bombs on each and every menu I looked at. Sure the price was right but the fat and calories were outrageous. The only reason that those restaurants stay in business is not because we don’t know how bad the food is, it’s that we don’t CARE to know. The information is out there, and thanks to a new provision in the health care law we’re going to know even more right before we eat it.

I don’t know how the rest of the country will take to it, but I do know that the information I found last night deterred my hamburger craving BUT good.

Let’s do a little look-see, shall we?

Let’s say you go to Burger King and you order the Whopper “value” meal. You know it’s not good for you so you decide to make it a “small” – which comes with a small drink and small fry. For your buck you get 1200 calories and 57 grams of fat, 14.5 grams of those are saturated.

The recommended daily allowance of calories is 2000 calories and no more than 65 grams of fat.

But let’s face it, most Americans don’t get the small… they either get the regular (medium size drink and fry) or they want it king-sized.

Medium:
1400 calories, 65 grams of fat (15.5 saturated)

Large:
1590 calories, 67 grams of fat (17 saturated)

This is calculated using a regular soda, if you order a diet it can shave a few hundred calories off, but the fat stays the same – and as you can see upsizing your Whopper meal takes you over the recommended daily allowance.

And for anyone who doubts that enough people like to upsize, consider that Burger King offers a TRIPLE Whopper – which more than earns its name with its upsize meal values of 2150 calories and 109 grams of fat (38 of those saturated.) That’s with a regular soft drink and cheese, because if you’re going to order a Triple Whopper you’re not exactly going to “skimp” on things.

Having done my time working for Burger King as a young adult, I had my fair share of Whoppers. If I went to Burger King for a burger, that’s what I would want. I might “settle” for a Whopper Jr., which is what I looked at last night, but that smaller burger is still 340 calories and 19 grams of fat, 5 saturated.

It fit into my meal plan yesterday, but suddenly the idea of eating that tiny burger wasn’t nearly as enticing as it was when I saw the slew of fast food commercials earlier in the evening.

I actually was discussing these new eye-opening discoveries with my best friend Jeff via AIM last night, and here’s this normal weight guy who doesn’t really have to worry about being overweight not because he avoids these foods but because when he does eat these foods he doesn’t eat all of them. He might order a Whopper meal but he’d be able to toss half of it away and recognize he was “full.” I’ve never been able to do that (which we will be discussing at length in another blog.)

He also doesn’t make this a regular meal.

I had my own bad habits staring me in the face when I dared to venture on over to the Taco Bueno website to dig around for their best and worst menu options.

I used to get a thing called MexiDips at least once a week when I decided I was on a kick. We used to live right down the street from Taco Bueno and during those days when I didn’t “feel” like cooking or wanted an instant boost in my mood, down to Taco Bueno Steven would go to get my favorite meal. Along with a little container of queso and a bag full of chips were two small tortilla bowls that contained refried beans and cheese in one bowl, and guacamole in the other.

This little nacho decadence runs 1089 calories and a whopping 62 grams of fat. And I would eat this as *one* meal during my day. Not ONLY that but I’d also get a little sweet treat of their cinnamon chips, which reminded me of the scraps my mother used to make from extra pie crust whenever she made a lattice top pie. Those little scraps of dough she’d bake with cinnamon and sugar on top, and these sweet chips reminded me of some of the sweet moments (literally speaking) of my childhood.

This treat cost another 676 calories and 31 grams of fat.

That was for ONE meal. And you know if I was that indiscriminate in one meal, the other meals were just as bad.

So yeah, I can be pretty arrogant that I knew that a Triple Whopper wasn’t a good idea, but my diet choices in the past weren’t any better.

Ever head through the Jack in the Box and order a 24oz Oreo Cookie shake with whipped cream? You just spent over 1100 calories and 61 grams fat.

ON A DRINK.

How bout Sonic? Ever guzzled Route 44 Orange, Grape or Green Apple Slush? No fat, but you just spent over 1200 calories.

ON A DRINK.

That’s before you eat anything.

Right now Sonic is running an add on their hot dogs. The Chicago dog looked pretty tasty (430 calories, 20 grams of fat.)

Dunkin Donuts, with the ironic slogan that “American Runs on Dunkin,” is advertising the Big and Toasty breakfast sandwich. (580 calories and 35 grams of fat.)

I went to Logan’s Roadhouse in the early part of the week with Steven. They have an economic meal deal where you can get two full meals for $13.99, and since I’m zig zagging my calories and use my Mondays to go closer to 1500 than my normal 1200 I figured what the heck?

I had the lunch-sized portion of the grilled salmon along with the vegetable skewers and sweet potato fries and all that was fine. What did me in and took my meal to the unthinkable 1000 calorie mark for the meal were two deceptively small dinner rolls that ended up costing me 227 PER roll.

How nice to get a basket containing five of them for two people to hold them over till the meal comes.

I drank water, I didn’t eat dessert and I made the right menu choices… but I was done in by the bread basket.

It’s what you don’t know that hurts you.

So yeah. I’ll get my burger eventually. Only it’ll be one I make out of veggie patties with tons of veggies and no fattening sauces. With oven baked sweet potato fries and maybe even a low calorie float (I’ve learned how to make this little indulgence for 90 calories.)

It may cost a little more, it may even be a little more inconvenient.

But I think being able to enjoy it without the guilt makes it a priceless treat indeed.

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