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ADDICTIVE EATING

MY LONG AND ARDUOUS JOURNEY

I have had a somewhat turbulent relationship with food for a good part of my life. With better eating control for several years now, I can look back with equal parts humor, shame and satisfaction.

Here are most of the steps along the way:

  • Up to age 19 – No problems with weight, since I ate when hungry and stopped eating when full. My “appestat” was working well, though I never thought about it.
  • College years – I began to eat snacks when studying or whenever I felt like it. I gained a few pounds, but with tennis, weight training and intramural sports, I was in good shape
  • Army years – Not much weight gain overseas, but quite a bit stateside. My level of exercise had decreased because I was generally behind a desk and sedentary. Sports involvement had lessened, as had weight training. (ROTC summer camp and basic officers’ course were exceptions).
  • Civilian beginning years – More weight gain, but tennis kept me in decent shape.
  • 40s and 50s – My worst period, though I was still playing tennis and working out. I had no plan to control eating, other than being active to burn off calories.
  • My 60s and 70s – I began to become aware of my mortality and ultimately attained my weight at that of age 18 or 19, which I still maintain.

The woman below seems to be sneaking food late at night while wary of anyone finding out. I have done this, though not so much with dessert food.

MY “DIETS”

I have begun to think of diets as temporary measures only, unless the word is taken to represent a general system of healthy eating. Here are “diets” that I have tried::

  • Slim Fast – this worked okay for a while. The shakes were good, but I began to supplement regular meals with additional shakes. Not a good idea!
  • Dr. Atkins (low carb) – this was effective. I achieved ketosis (using stored body fats as fuel in lieu of carbohydrates). I began to buy lots of pork rinds, which were similar to potato chips, but were perfectly acceptable on Atkins. I never quite understood why I could eat all the protein and fats that I wanted, as long as I limited the carbs. The Atkins diet generally said to eat protein and fats carefully, but that didn’t give me a real method of measuring. Several bags of pork rinds late at night didn’t work for me. I needed calibration
  • Blood Type – I am blood type O. The ancient hunter – gatherers were blood type O. They thrived on intense exercise and animal protein. So do I. I remember that I could eat lots of walnuts and pineapple chunks. I never really got started with a blood type diet, though I bought the book. It is fascinating and I regret that I didn’t study this further. Here is the book, by Dr. Peter J.D’Adamo, “Eat Right for Your Type”.
  • Don’t buy food that you like – this was my idea of a diet at one time. I would only buy food that I didn’t like when I went grocery shopping. You can well imagine how long this plan lasted.
  • Don’t buy addictive food – this was an adaptation of the foregoing “plan”, but a more sensible idea. This is a plan that I still use today, though I still have mishaps. I cannot buy ice cream, other sweets, large bags of nuts or multiple bags of popcorn and expect to avoid binges. I need to stop even trying to do this. It doesn’t work for me. Alcoholics can stay sober by not drinking, but food addicts may have a tougher task – we must eat.

Motivation is a key to any program of self-discipline upon which we embark. It applies to learning a skill, reaching a fitness goal, losing weight or being successful in any endeavor in our sight. See below.

MINDLESS EATING

“Mindless Eating”, by Brian Wansink, Ph.D., is an excellent book that I bought about 10 years ago. Brian Wansink is a food psychologist.

The book is loaded with helpful advice and anecdotes. Here are a couple of excerpts:

  • Why French Women Don’t Get Fat – “….even though they consume cheese, baguettes, wine, pastries and pate. It is because they know when to stop eating. Our own research shows that they pay more attention to internal clues, such as whether they feel full, and less attention to the external clues (like the level of soup in a bowl) that can lead us to overeat”. A test was run, featuring 282 Parisians and Chicagoans. Parisians stopped when they no longer felt hungry. Chicagoans stopped only when their plates were empty or they ran put of beverages.
  • Your Stomach’s Three Settings – in equal thirds, they are starving, could eat more and stuffed

Wansink asks – What are you really hungry for…a Snicker’s bar or a hug? He contrasts physical hunger with emotional hunger, as follows:

PHYSICAL HUNGER

  • Builds gradually
  • Strikes below the neck (growling stomach)
  • Occurs 3.5 hours after a meal
  • Can be temporarily offset by drinking water
  • Goes away when full
  • Is satisfied after eating food

EMOTIONAL HUNGER

  • Develops suddenly
  • Strikes above the neck (taste for ice cream)
  • Occurs at random times
  • Still persists after drinking a glass of water
  • Still persists after much food has been eaten
  • Leads to guilt after eating food

“Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” is available here from Amazon

SALT, SUGAR AND FAT

I have been aware for some time that salt, sugar and fat are my food addictions. When I shop for groceries, I generally check the nutritional information as closely as I check the prices. Only last week, I threw away a large jar of cashews, peanuts, and chocolates after thinking that I might be able to eat this is small amounts. I should have known better!

The above image speaks of a best-selling book by Michael Moss, which I have not yet read, though I have seen much discussion about it. Moss contends that restaurants, grocery stores and food producers are playing upon our food addictions for profits.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us is available at Amazon. Click here

CONCLUDING

With my food addiction, I feel quite unburdened by writing about my background and I hope it may be helpful to others.

Here is my current link to Dick’s Sporting Goods’ latest information, including significant discounts across their inventory. Note that golf courses and tennis courts are beginning to open up already. Active athletes and “armchair quarterbacks” are anxious to enjoy spring and summer weather.

Save Up To 50% On This Week’s Deals at Dick’s Sporting Goods

Please leave any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below, or email me, richard@myworkoutathome.com.

Have fun, but be prudent!

Richard

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