Confessions of a Former McDonalds Addict
photo by Lydia Low-Yeung
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McDonald’s and I have had an interesting relationship over the years. I love McDonald’s and have had a tendency to lose self-control around it. At first it was infrequent during late-night study sessions with friends, entirely on impulse. Then it stopped being so infrequent.

I moved to Montreal after I graduated University and found myself in a new (big) city with few friends. My evenings after work were spent alone in those first few months. I didn’t have a lot of energy to meet new people at the end of a long day. So I watched Big Bang Theory instead. During this time, I had moved right across the street from a McDonald’s. The mouth-watering scent of salty fries were carried on in the warm September breeze across the street and into my bedroom window.

I was doomed.

It didn’t take long for me to realize I could get a Jr. Chicken Meal for under $5. Sure, a peanut butter sandwich cost me roughly $0.50 but it wasn’t as satisfying as those fries, that Coke, and that slightly-spiced chicken.

I started going weekly. Then I started going when I was lonely. It was probably the second time I went under those conditions that I knew what was happening. I would sense my loneliness (which would usually arrive around dinner time) and then I would think, “McDonald’s is comforting, it reminds me of happy times as a family.” I ate it for comfort.

I knew exactly what I was doing and I knew it was physically and emotionally unhealthy. We aren’t meant to cope with loneliness through food.

Then, I started going three times a week. I tried to have self-control but any time I was hungry there was a McDonald’s right there to greet me. “Look! I’m so cheap! I’m full of fat and salt and your brain is wired to love me!” I didn’t resist because I didn’t want to. I was being comforted.

After a few months of this, through the encouragement of friends I cut out McDonald’s for a whole month. It took all the will-power I could muster coupled with the support of friends and even acquaintances on Facebook and Twitter.

Fast-forward a year and a half. The above photo is of me. I got engaged and my McDonald’s was replaced by a real man. Don’t worry, I fully understand the awkward truth of that statement.

So what happened with McDonald’s? I discovered a wheat intolerance so McDonald’s is more or less out of the picture. And my husband? At first all the lonely feelings were gone, but once our honeymoon stage was over and it was the dead of winter those feelings of loneliness returned that I had while addicted to McDonalds even if much less intense than before.

As you can see, my behaviour has changed but I haven’t entirely. The presence of my husband in my life has replaced my attachment to McDonalds. But for everything my husband is to me and as much as I love him, I am still someone who has lonely moments and someone who desires comfort.

I’ve been thinking about how people change lately. More specifically about the difference between changing our behaviour and changing all-together (see my conclusions here).

For you, McDonalds may not be a coping mechanism but we all have some coping mechanism we turn to when under stress which can actually control our lives.

I want to hear your thoughts: How do we change habits that seem unbreakable?

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8 thoughts on “Confessions of a Former McDonalds Addict

  1. Em

    I am one of those people who have lonely moments and need comfort too, and I find that food tends to be my coping mechanism even though I don’t feel better about it afterwards. I know that I’ve tried eating healthier and working out, but when I fail I take ten steps back because I feel like I’ll never succeed. One of the things that has helped me over the past little while with my loneliness has been looking at my blessings and finding joy in the things I like to do by myself. I’ve been relying on making plans with friends – it doesn’t have to be the same people, reach out to someone you’ve lost touch with – just know that you have a support group there for you, but I also make plans with myself, watch that movie, read that book, go on a walk.

  2. RealGuy

    It’s hard to do – if one sets a paradigm in which that controlling thing is Bad, you may be able to hold off for weeks at most, but eventually you’ll need to scratch that itch. One cannot consciously let go of a thing – it must simply become irrelevant in one’s life.

  3. McAddict

    I have this problem with McDonalds..I eat it almost every day and that’s no exaggeration.. Like you, I always get jr. Chicken meals..they’re so cheap! I think that’s the whole thing behind McDonald’s, it’s their money’s cheap, it’s good, and it’s satisfying….until you go home and step on a scale. The funny part is I can’t stop even though I know how bad it is, it’s terrifying. I’m trapped. It feels like this habit is out of my control and I breakable. Damn you McDonalds.

  4. Guest

    I’m fat, overweight, poor, and hungry. I sit outside of mcdoands waiting until I have that exact anount for a McChicken.. Then I pounce

  5. Maclover96

    Oh my god.. im currently 19 years old, started watching the big bang theory about a year ago.. but recently, i have been watching episodes all over again and again.. and almost everytime i watch it, i think about macdonalds.. long story short, i have been walloping 20pcs chicken nuggets, a big mac meal n ice cream, all in a single night, for supper. (Yes, i always eat my dinner n crave for macs afterwards) i need help coping with this man… i really don’t want to get any serious health problems… i feel that im doing all this mainly bcause of the stress i feel from studying.. i retained my first year in college, and this is finally my last year, Finals coming up in November, and im buring out from studying, finding it difficult to focus as well. (Have been sleeping very late at night due to use of phone). Basically, you can say i have no self control right now, but i feel that i have been trying to motivate myself, feeling stressed is probably the main thing that’s bothering me now.. i know im mentally weak and want to change that mindset! Just hope if someone can give me good advice(n motivation? Haha..)


    I feel pretty fortunate that my depression and loneliness have only ever manifested as addiction to junk food and not anything more serious, but it’s hurting my wallet. Obviously not hurting enough to get me to stop since I’ve had it every night for the last 2 months. I’ve got eating issues so having it everyday hasn’t added to my weight since I only have 1 or 2 meals a day, but I know my insides are probably not very happy. I want to quit but, as sad as it sounds, it’s the only thing that brings me any pleasure.

  7. ephrem goldstein

    used to get barred out and wander in mcdonalds and hide in the bathroom waiting for someone to come in. when someone finally did, id leap out from behind the toilet and beat them into a pulp, take their wallet and calmly walk out to order a mcrib with fries and coke. again, I was barred out so I wouldn’t remember doing any of this, and I probably would have never found out about it if I didn’t get caught on camera walking out from a bathroom where a dude just got his skull crushed…

  8. Lewis

    My confession shows the extent of the issue I have with eating McDonald’s food. I currently eat there 2 or 3 times a day, yesterday I grew more concerned as after I’d finished my 2nd of the day at only 11am (large chicken wrap, 2 large chips, large coke, mcflurrey, cheese burger), when I realised I was still craving mcflurrey… Needless to say half an hour later the craving became too great and I got my 3rd mcflurrey of the day. I used to be very much a skinny guy, but now that has drastically changed as I am now the fat guy. Just the other day I was saying to somebody that I used to run regularly, they started laughing and commented that the only time I’ve ever run is ‘to McDonald’s’.

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