I was explaining to my friend about how to make chicken & dumplings. She's known me for 20+ years. I was never a cook. She was genuinely curious about what has changed. Why all the cooking now when I showed no interest in it before? I only had to think about that for half a second. The answer is that I'm no longer on a diet. Can you imagine the stress that burrito plate would cause a dieter? Or homemade cake? Or chicken & dumplings? Or a soup with 15 ingredients? OMG, it would have made my eye twitch and my heart palpitate. So many unknown macros and forbidden ingredients. That fear and restriction takes all the fun out of cooking and eating. I used to try to get into cooking light or "allowed" versions of favorite foods, but inevitably I'd spend 2 hours in the kitchen, make a huge mess, and my creation would taste like paste. No wonder I hated cooking!
It's so much more liberating to trust myself to eat anything, anywhere, anytime while respecting hunger and fullness. I know I'm not going to hurt myself or wreck anything. If I eat a big meal, I won't be hungry for awhile longer. If I eat processed, calorie-dense foods sometimes, that doesn't mean I'll eat only those from now on. I'll still look forward to kale and blueberries and almonds. It all balances out over time. My body is a Jedi master of balance. I feel stupid for all the times I tried to manipulate, trick, and control it, like I knew better after reading a magazine article or something. Sheesh.