I finally realized that being happier makes us happier. If we pursue happiness itself (loving what we do, what we eat, how we move, who we are), we're much less concerned about imaginary judgy people, who are all in our own heads anyway. They go away if we're happier, not if we're leaner.
Being lean and absolutely miserable is definitely a thing, so it's best not pursued for its own sake, but only if the thoughts and habits that take you there are more fun, freeing, and rewarding than your current ones. That was the case for me and happy/intuitive eating. It feels SO much better than restriction and overindulgence, which are inseparable. Any restriction came with an equal and opposite overindulgence. The degrees kept shifting though. It used to be nearly equal. A few days of restriction would result in a few days of overindulgence. Then one day of dieting would result in a week of gasping for food. Then a few hour of restriction would set off days of craziness. Finally, just thinking about restriction would cause me to eat like an idiot.
When I consider the way I eat now (intuitive eating):
- It requires very little thought and planning.
- I eat what I want when I'm hungry.
- I love everything I eat.
- I always eat until I'm full and satisfied.
- Hours go by without thinking about food.
- I sleep well and have plenty of energy.
Compared to the traditional dieting (restrict-o-crazy) model:
- I think about food constantly, especially the ones that are off limits.
- I need to do math or follow a scheme.
- I eat what I'm supposed to and don't always enjoy it.
- I eat less than I want and stop short of satisfied.
- I'm thinking about food and debating eating more five seconds after I finish eating.
- I'm prone to insomnia and my workouts suck.
So, then it becomes really clear which approach is going to be sustainable and which one is doomed to end very badly. In the past, every time I entertained ideas of getting leaner, I would go with restriction, because the whole world tells us that's the way to go. It's not!