For me, it has been amazing to experience the difference between restrained eating and just eating. My eating stayed restrained for a long time after I quit formal dieting, and even after I started Happy Eaters. I was eating more and had no off-limits foods, but I was still very conscious of weight, diet trends, and of controlling portions through all manner of trickery. As long as I was subtly restricting, eating a whole bunch of food at once stayed appealing. I was having to “dismiss urges” not because of habit or weakness or brain gunk but because I was legitimately hungry and not meeting my energy needs, even if I couldn’t fathom that was the case.
Now that I’ve been consistently eating enough for a couple of years, it’s night and day. Eating a whole bunch of food at once, for any reason, holds zero appeal anymore. It’s not even a thing. When it was still a thing (being underfed), I blamed my environment, habits, emotions, willpower, lizard brain, addictive desire, you name it. I searched endlessly for answers and shared all of my tips and tricks for controlling portions and stopping eating. This seems almost comical now, well, funny and sad at the same time, but I guess we get there how we get there. In that slightly underfed, always thinking about weight and body comp situation, I still had urges to eat a whole bunch of food at once as entertainment, reward, distraction, celebration, any reason really! That’s because I was hungry and needed more food, not because I was crazy or miswired somehow. My body knew that what I was eating wasn’t quite cutting it, so it dazzled me with visions of eating freely. Once I was properly nourished and truly eating freely, no more dazzling. I don’t worry about being home alone, or bored, or in possession of an entire cake, because I’m not hungry and therefore not tempted to eat whenever I let my guard down. Imagine!
The more I trusted my body, the better things got. Eat a lot? Must have needed it. No judgment or compensation. I didn’t just keep gaining and gaining in an out of control way either. Without the chronic hunger, there is zero desire to keep eating. I eat what I need and then lose interest in food. This after years of assuming I was hopelessly broken and food-obsessed. Nope, just hungry! Once I wasn’t hungry anymore, everything worked great.