We're trying to eat less but we heap the measured portion, lick the container, and double the protein and vegetables. We deny ourselves the food we actually want, but end up eating as much or more in "safe" foods or "now's my chance" eating if we get "off plan." When dieting, some of those sneaky behaviors make total sense. It's how we get enough food or even gain weight when our logical mind is determined to restrict. It reminds me of the studies showing that restrained eaters don't necessarily eat less or weigh less than unrestrained eaters. They just think about food more. So, a restrained eater goes back for numerous bites of something, feels guilty, and then has a few more bites because this is definitely not ok and will have to stop tomorrow. In fact, since they've already blown it, they may as well eat some other stuff too, and wind up in kind of a continuous meal all evening. Meanwhile, a relaxed eater takes enough to totally satisfy on the first pass and then forgets about food completely, probably eating less overall, and definitely enjoying it more than the dieter.
Once this was spelled out for me, it was a revelation. All the diet tricks were causing me to ignore hunger and fullness and eat more than the seemingly lucky people who were shamelessly grabbing big slices of pizza and whole pieces of cake. Meanwhile, I'd nibble on "allowed" foods in a kind of weird denial state, be jealous of the normal eaters, and probably eat as much or more. Bodies are smart like that. It was trying to meet my energy needs through whatever means necessary.
Tabitha Farrar’s ”do the opposite" advice has helped so much with any lingering restriction. When that diet noise comes up, telling me to measure the cereal, check the label, only eat one, don't butter it, I do exactly what the diet voice says not to do. This has been so much fun! I feel like nothing has changed my mindset faster or more effectively. If you don't act on those restrictive thoughts, your brain catches on quickly that they're not important and will quit offering them up. But it takes action. Understanding it logically or trying to change your thinking through more thinking doesn't fix it, action does.
Repeatedly doing the opposite of diet voice did not cause out of control weight gain, diabetes, and lightning strikes as my orthorexic mind imagined. What it produced was an abundance mindset, genuine satisfaction after eating, a healthy metabolism, and a casual indifference to food rather than it occupying every waking thought.