From skwigg's journal:
I baked cookies today (see the Bake All the Things thread). I think baking has magical powers when it comes to food peace. A restriction mindset will tell you it's dangerous, unhealthy, and fattening. My experience has been that it's relaxing, not only that but if you do a lot of it, it creates an abundance mindset, indifference to sweets, and the ability to moderate in an over-the-top food environment.
When I was underfed, unsatisfied by my everyday food choices, and believed there were good/bad foods, I was CRAZY around sweets. I believed I had to control them with rules and resist them using willpower, which made them all the more dangerous and appealing. Now, they're tasty but I have no desire to eat a lot of them, or eat them to the exclusion of other foods.
Baking is part of the reason vacations and holidays are no big deal foodwise. I'm used to being around rich desserts, processed food, restaurant food, and social food, all of the situations I feared and avoided when I was restricting. Jill Coleman discusses the importance of habituation. If you're not allowed to eat pizza (or popcorn, or ice cream, or peanut butter), it becomes irresistible when it's around. If you eat some every day for weeks, guess what? You get tired of it, bored with it. You start to want something else instead. The crazy thing is that once you've habituated to one food, it tends to carry over to others. So, maybe you go through a process of eating cookies every night until they make you yawn. Then you find that you're like 15 times more chill around cake, or cereal, or macaroni and cheese. So, it's not like you have to go through a reintroduction process for every food you've ever restricted or felt triggered by. Sorting out one or two fixes dozens more, which is why baking made me a more relaxed and thoughtful eater in general. If I'm fine with three pies and two dozen cookies in my house, I don't then come unscrewed around french fries. I understand that the food isn't going anywhere and there's no reason to overeat it now. As long as I had any lingering idea that I might need to restrict in the future, I couldn't get there. That's such a sneaky underlying thought pattern. Sure, you'll try eating intuitively/happily, but if it doesn't work (as in you don't lose weight quickly), there's always Whole 30, IIFYM, intermittent fasting or whatever standing by if you "need" them. That subtle assumption always kept me "now's my chance" eating, which meant taking in considerably more than I needed. I didn't relax and eat less until I knew the food wasn't going anywhere, ever.
Now, I had tried this "eat whatever, whenever, and as much as you want" thing before and had it end VERY badly. I can see now where it went wrong though. Three things: 1) I overate a whole bunch of previously forbidden foods all day long rather than choosing one food to add in a thoughtful way every day. 2) That so-sneaky underlying feeling that this was just a rebellious phase, that it probably wouldn't work, and that I'd have to restrict again soon. 3) I had zero structure, I was basically snacking all day based on what imaginary stomach unicorns said. Things went so much better when I was eating a defined breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, with or without snacks.