I always had a goal weight, some number in my mind that I "should" be and felt bad if I wasn't. Looking back, I can ask myself, is that weight that I was holding myself to something that I've ever maintained effortlessly? Was it ever my unsuppressed body weight? Or was it what I weighed briefly years ago after months of strict dieting? Or after a stomach flu? Or with an active eating disorder? If so, what are the chances that I'm going to be able to live at that weight comfortably for the rest of my life with no fallout?
Furthermore (LOL), I can see now that striving to be as light, soft, and small as possible isn't even what I'm going for. I like being strong and fit. That does not always equate to being light on the scale. Fit people eat. Muscles are heavy. Hydration, glycogen, and food in your digestive tract doesn't make for a low scale reading. Depleting myself to make the number go down isn't going to make me look or feel any better. It's just going to make me hungry, tired, and obsessed with food. It's going to make high-calorie, high-reward foods super appealing, and make eating a whole bunch of food at once seem like a great idea.
I watched a Tabitha Farrar video a couple days ago on mental hunger and boredom eating. She says that boredom eating is not a thing. If eating a bunch of food when not hungry is appealing, your brain is putting that idea in your head because you need food and for no other reason. We don't drink a bunch of water when we're bored. That would only sound fun if we were dehydrated. I would have scoffed at this. I was sure boredom eating was a thing. Habitual eating, mental hunger, addictive desire. I had to learn all about them so I could recognize and avoid them. The hilarious discovery is that they go completely away when your body doesn't need the food. Now, when I'm bored I watch Netflix, or shop online, or go outside with the dog. I'm never using willpower to stay out of the kitchen. That was a constant battle when I was dieting, not because I was weak-willed or broken but because I was HUNGRY. This is so obvious now and so crazy!
I think what tripped me up was the story that I shouldn't be hungry, that I've had more than enough to eat, so if I still want food it's a trick, or I'm broken, or it only works for other people. What I wasn't taking into account was that I'd undereaten and overtrained for DECADES. Three weeks, or three months, or even a year of eating more freely isn't enough time for everything to be normal and fine. I like the house analogy. When you're chronically undereating, your body/house is falling apart. Walls are crumbling, your floors and furniture are being burned for fuel, everything is in disrepair. We eat "normally" for a few weeks or months, hunger is still raging, and we think it shouldn't be. We think the outside of the house/body is looking fine and we should not need more food, but all that internal repair is happening, cellular, hormonal, metabolic repairs. There's important stuff going on every day that we don't even know about, and it requires fuel, even if we haven't "earned" it with a stupid amount of exercise. If I simply trust that my body knows what it's doing, things go so much better. Binge urges, and boredom eating, and sadness at the thought of stopping eating aren't issues when I'm consistently eating enough. Also, weight gain isn't an issue. My weight has never been so stable in my adult life, this with no special food rules, no meal plan, no template. It's amazing how well my body can regulate itself if I stay out of it with all my diet logic.