When I started Happy Eaters, I was still very focused on weight and body comp, so I was still subtly restricting all over the place, which then made my eating more reactive and less in line with my actual needs. I think that's all pretty normal for anybody learning (or relearning) intuitive eating after years of restrictive eating. Restriction can be difficult to even recognize, but once you're seeing it for what it is, it becomes easier to say, "I am hungry now. I do want bread with that. I believe I will have some more." It's no longer the ongoing quest to always eat as clean or as little as possible. Eat enough up front. Be satisfied. Stop thinking about food altogether. Then things get interesting. I forget to eat part of my lunch. I don't want the rest of that. I'm not interested in dessert. It's not because I'm consciously eating less to control my weight but because I'm no longer hungry. I'm not even thinking about it. That's such a new experience, to not always be heading off what I considered the faulty, deceptive desire to eat more. Turns out that urge goes completely away when I'm consistently eating until totally satisfied. Who knew?
Prioritizing satisfaction didn't result in some kind of weight gain armageddon where things felt out of control and I was miserable and disappointed in myself. Restriction has made me feel that way, like I could eat the whole world and keep eating until I exploded, so I'd better not trust myself. Satisfaction is the opposite. I'm content. Everything is good. My mind is calm. Food is a non-issue. This has been an amazing discovery. It's the thing that keeps me from ever wanting to diet or lose weight again. I used to be so tempted, by others who were dieting, by the latest book, by health news. My brain would latch onto any reason to justify restriction, but now having experienced life without it, there's nothing to go back to. I'm happier here. This food peace, body confidence, and ease in the world is what I was trying to achieve the whole time I was manipulating my food and weight. Stopping is what actually gave it to me.
I think there's this underlying message when we're trying to eat less and lose weight that, "I'm not ok. I need to fix this." That's different from genuine self-care. It's ok to want to take care of yourself and feel your best. You don't have to be disappointed in yourself and ashamed of your body in order to change. Again, newsflash! LOL That kind of drama and pressure didn't do anything good for my mindset or eating habits. It just keeps the struggle front and center.