I was thinking about emotional eating, which, when I was restricting, I definitely viewed as a personal flaw or a big problem to be solved. Now, I think eating for emotional reasons or due to environmental cues is normal. I was pondering this, and I still do it all the time, so does my husband, so does everyone I know. For example, I still eat M&Ms because I'm bored, serve myself seconds or thirds because it tastes good, or keep eating because my show is on. I definitely eat until I'm too full sometimes. Dieter Me was like, "Oh, this is so wrong and bad. I have to figure out how to stop." Current Me doesn't really even think about it in the moment. I don't feel guilt or shame. I don't deliberately compensate by trying to eat better or less afterward. If I stay calm and curious, my appetite will handle the rest.
This weekend, I brought home a box of Hostess Ho-Hos. My husband had opened the box and eaten four of them before I even had all the groceries in the house. Then, I made a run at them and the whole box was gone in a day. Is that "bad?" I don't make a judgment one way or the other. I'm neutral. I'm Switzerland. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it didn't even ruin dinner because Ho-Hos are like eating air, well, air wrapped in saturated fat. LOL
What I think has changed is the quantity of food and consistency with which I eat it. When I was hungry and deprived, really guilty and fearful, any slip of control was like a dam breaking. I could eat and eat and eat, be in physical pain I was so full, and still want to eat. I don't experience that anymore, not that kind of frenzy or blackout eating where it feels like I'm possessed or on autopilot. Going off the rails with food used to feel a bit like a pressure valve releasing. All my fear, pain, judgment, and control would blow wide open and there were just cookies. For the time I was eating them, everything was ok. I experienced that so many times in the past, but I don't think I'm hungry enough or hard enough on myself to experience it now. The combination of hunger and shame were like throwing gasoline on the emotional eating fire. Without those two elements, emotional eating isn't problematic at all. I still eat emotionally and like it. It's not something I struggle with or that I'm trying to stop doing. Without primal hunger and without guilt, the magnitude of it is pretty marginal. I would describe it as fun overall.
I'm just putting that out there as my own experience. Maybe someone can relate, or maybe your experience is totally different. I would love to hear anyone's thoughts.