Hey @P.Weikamp, I meant to get back to you sooner but wanted to take some time to think and compose my thoughts. Here is my response. I haven’t been formally diagnosed with an eating disorder. But, I do have a problem. I’m 5’11” and was always on the lean side of things growing up. Not an athlete by any stretch. Never paid attention to what I ate or drank just did whatever I felt like and continued to look and feel good. As the years wore on, adulthood, marriage, kids, job stresses, I found myself buying larger and larger pants. In my twenties I wore size 30-32 waist sizes. Then came 34’s. Then 36’s with the stretchy elastic waist bands hidden in the sides. In 2010 (age 46) I got to a point where my 36’s were becoming uncomfortably tight. I was faced with a choice, buy 38’s or make a change. I decided to make a change. From July 2010 to December 2010 I went from a high of 222 pounds to 175. Since then, I’ve creeped up to the high 190’s a few times and broke 200 for a bit but by and large, while I have fluctuated up and down a number of times, I usually hover in the 185 lb range (+/- 5lbs).
So, it’s been a 10-year journey for me. And, during those 10 years I’ve learned what seems to work well, what doesn’t work at all, what triggers me and what I must always do.
For what it’s worth, what I must always do is be aware. Whether I am on track or not, I need to maintain an awareness of what I am doing since it was the unconscious consumption and insidious weight gain that led me to that point in 2010 that I call the point of no return.
What works well is: weighing myself every single day, when eating, only eat (i.e. don’t watch tv, work on the computer, look at facebook, or surf the internet etc, all of which lead to unconscious eating) and try to eat at the same place each day (when at home), don’t eat after dinner, drink at least 2 litres of water every day, keep all tempting foods out of the house, remind myself daily of why I am doing this (vanity (feeling like I look good when I look in the mirror), health, having more energy, family history of type II diabetes), and, having a supportive wife. What also works is being forgiving and understanding of myself when I “fall” but to ALWAYS get back up.
What doesn’t work is “dieting”. By dieting I mean a significant departure from my usual eating habits. Eg. restriction or elimination of carbs, intermittent fasting, etc etc. etc. While all of these things may work in the short term, unless I am completely committed to them as a permanent lifestyle change (which I am not), they will inevitably end with me returning to my old patterns and weight.
Triggers : we live in an obesogenic society so there is constant temptation to consume unhealthy foods but beyond that, there are plenty of other triggers. Being alone (i.e. my wife goes out, or goes to bed before me), having any kind of “junk food” in the house that I can see (if I know it’s there, I will eat it), and by junk I have a very large menu of things I’d consider junk, or would consume to the point of nausea and/or discomfort that includes certain types of bread, a range of breakfast cereals, crackers as well as more typical junk foods like ice cream, chocolate, cookies, cakes, chips (crisps) etc., almost any kind of stress (good or bad but mostly bad), changes, usually unexpected, to my usual routines (this includes travel), going out for dinner (including to friends), eating sushi (which I love, but often ends with strong cravings for ice cream), gaining weight (this is ironic but still, it’s a trigger), losing weight (makes me think I can “afford” to eat badly), eating almost any amount, no matter how small, of junk food (once I start, I find it very hard to stop), tv commercials, internet ads, driving past restaurants or fast food outlets (including, may GvA have mercy on me) donut shops, billboards etc etc., achieving a big goal I had been training for for a long time (eg. Knighthood, massive rides, Everesting etc). As you can see, my list of triggers is long and I’m sure I’ve missed a few things.
While this might all sound rather dire, it’s really not and by and large I have things well under control. That said, I have learned there is no room for complacency. So know this, you are not alone, by any stretch.