There is a McDonald’s strategically located across the street from my old gym. I’m pretty sure the gym was built after the fast food restaurant. Could it have been built there by chance? I suppose. Was it? Probably not.
And why not? It’s a win/win for both establishments. The McDonald’s gets weak, hungry people like me shamefully walking into it after a grueling (or not-so-grueling) workout, and the gym continuously renews memberships because no one is actually losing any weight.
The first time I had ever gone to a gym, I was in awe of the sheer amount of machines, people, and people actually willing to exercise on these machines. Me? I was walking around, checking everything out, stretching – you know, assessing my surroundings.
By the time I actually got around to the “exercise” portion of the experience, it was almost dinnertime. And I never miss dinner. Now, I wasn’t used to working out. So I said to my friend, “Okay, we have about an hour. Let’s try this thing over here.” (Naturally, because it was parked right near some very cute guys.)
I must say, I worked my ass off. I used the elliptical machine, the stationary bicycle, the treadmill. I climbed, pedaled, and ran more in one day than I had all year. People say exercise makes you exhilarated, because endorphins are being released into your brain. But was I exhilarated? Hell no.
I was breathless, tired and cranky. And what makes me less cranky? A Big Mac and French fries, that’s what. Shame, shame, I know.
After completely over-exerting myself and not having one single guy ask for my number, I was pissed off, starving and weak. I picked up my iPod, grabbed my bag, and walked straight off the door, across the street, and into Mickey Dees’.
Finally, an environment I was accustomed to. Tables with booths to sit down and rest, a counter filled with people who would take my order, an elevated filled with delicious food to order from. Yes, this was much more like it. I was home.
Normally when I go to McDonald’s I’m mocked by my friends because I always order the same thing – a Happy Meal. I try explaining to them that it is the perfect amount of food for me. Whenever I try ordering off of the Value Meal section, I always end up doing one of two things: (1) Making myself sick by over-stuffing my face, or (2) Throwing half away. Therefore, I stick with what I can handle and it’s yummy.
That day, however, I walked up to the counter and said, “Yes, I’d like a Big Mac Meal – large – with a Coke. And three chocolate chip cookies. Thanks.”
I think my friend would have been more judgmental if she hadn’t ordered just as much food, with a substitution of two apple pies instead of cookies.
You’re probably thinking that my eyes were too big for my stomach and I left half the food. And, unfortunately for me, you’d be wrong. I ate every…last…bite. I drank the entire large Coke. I finished each and every French fry. I even (head down in shame) had one of my friend’s apple pies.
It was literally the most McDonald’s I had (and have) ever consumed in one sitting. My body was rejecting exercise, and showing me where I belonged. Surrounded by food. Which is why I only went back to the gym about three times that year.
Do you ever over-eat after going to the gym? Do you love McDonald’s and head there when you’re tired or starving, even though you know you probably shouldn’t?