I had to find moderation and happy eating first (trust, confidence, joy), regardless of what it did to my weight. Then I kept expanding on that, pursuing even more trust, confidence, and joy. Really great things happened as a result!
For me, any deliberate effort to create a deficit for the purpose of weight loss was like bashing my face into a brick wall. It only produced more of what I didn't want: obsession, anxiety, a scarcity mindset, and feelings of helplessness, none of which is actually conducive to weight loss. So, instead of coming at it from the old ineffective deficit angle, I focused on making life better in the present moment. What will help me to feel proud before, during, and after I eat? How can I enjoy my food more? What makes me feel strong? What makes me laugh? What do I really need right now? What am I grateful for today? What did I learn?
By emphasizing quality of life, my eating improved along with everything else. I don't mean "improved" as in suddenly developing a love for low-calorie, kale-based meals. I mean that I was better able to recognize hunger and fullness. I learned to sleep when I was tired and cry when I was sad (not eat or restrict). I ate food that truly satisfied me, so I found it a lot easier to stop eating. I became more consistent about eating meals, and being hungry for those meals.
It came together in such a way that I wasn't deliberately trying to eat less, so I wasn't experiencing any of the fallout. That made all the difference in terms of ease and sustainability.