Autumn comes very late in southern Nevada. I'll define autumn as morning lows under 80F, since we've been above that since early May. When I lived in Wisconsin it was more like late August or early September when the nights and mornings became pleasantly cool, but Nevada doesn't really have what northers would call true autumn weather until December. Wherever I am, autumn seems to be a good time to think about my eating patterns because I seem naturally programmed for changes as my body reacts to the end of summer heat.
I find myself with more energy and, I'm happy to say, declining appetite. I don't think I've lost any weight but I have been able to get myself on a 1-meal-per-day schedule and that meal is built around whole foods although it usually ends with a processed treat. I haven't yet achieved a true hunger/satiation cycle but I feel I've made progress.
This morning I was definitely high energy and that's usually a signal that I've switched to fat-burning and my body is "ready for the hunt." Limiting myself to one meal per day seems to be an essential trigger in order to experience normal hunger/satiation and any semblance of weight control is impossible without that cycle.
I'm still using liquid CoffeeMate but I've gone from 3 mugs of coffee to 2. I'm down to 25% soda to 75% ice/water in each tall mug, with only ice water overnight, and I think I'll be back off soda within a few weeks. I'll then drink carbonated water with a wedge of lime.
If you're wondering why I haven't just made a clean break to whole foods only, it's very simple--I tried that twice and it triggered binge eating. I have to approach my eating regimen as a sidewalk rather than a line, because the line seems to function as a cliff with a strong wind trying to push me over the edge.
With the sidewalk approach, binge eating is outside one border and "pure paleo" is outside the other. Between those boundaries, I find the best balance I can manage. I don't have my house full of processed treats, and I shop only once per week (as early morning as possible to manage temptation.) I buy ONE treat (along with the CoffeeMate and soda.) So far, I've been able to VERY gradually reducce the portion sizes and frequencies of treats. Eating a healthy meal has improved my appetite for real food without sending me into another binge. There is still a point 1-3 hours after the meal when I have a strong urge for something junky but I'm happy to report that a reasonable portion size is working right now--by reasonable, I mean a cup or 2 of ice cream rather than a quart, or 2 snack-sized bars of candy rather than 10.
Edit: On good days, when the meal is a great match to my emotional/physical needs, I don't need the SAD treat at all. Since I eat the fruit and salad/veggies first, the meat serves as the treat. On other days, I do seem to need a treat and the question becomes "How little is enough?"
Can I do better? That'd be nice, but frankly I'd rather continue some width of sidewalk approach than set myself up for another miserable, lengthy binge like the one I endured this past summer.
Wish me luck!