What will weight loss (physique goals) accomplish that is missing for you now?
Looking back, I had two things going on. The main one was "controlling food and weight as a solution to everything." If I felt insecure or life seemed out of control, controlling my eating and training was THE answer. It was an excellent diversion since it would occupy nearly every waking thought. Worried? Upset? Lonely? Mad? Focus on a complex meal plan and training schedule. Researching and planning those set off some kind of brain fireworks for me. I would imagine a bright future, a better self, a happy "after." Then a few days or weeks later, the hunger and exhaustion would take over, I'd rebound eat, gain weight, and either blame myself and vow to do better or start looking for a new plan.
The second thing, that always got twisted up and distorted by the first thing, was a genuine love for health and fitness. Take away all the crazy, and I truly enjoy physical activity, delicious food, and feeling healthy and strong. I like reading about it. I like trying new activities and recipes. I like the way I feel after a great workout. I like taking care of myself. That still exists independent of the obsession. A controlling, perfectionist mindset is fear based, which is what made the associated activities unpleasant and hazardous. Exercise isn't inherently destructive. Eating a salad isn't inherently disordered. Without the toxic mindset and endless rules, it's just kettlebell swings, or just M&Ms. I'm no longer assigning a loaded meaning that either props up or shreds my identity.
The key was learning to see my thoughts as something separate from myself. They might be interesting, or stupid, or funny, or scary, but they aren't necessarily true. They're just the thing I'm telling myself, often on a demented loop. Of course I'm weak if I eat sugar, virtuous if I run, a failure if I have pizza for breakfast. Blah, blah, blah...lies. Once I created some separation between myself and my thoughts, things got way less weird. The crazy would still pop up like a jack-in-the-box, but I wouldn't believe it and act on it. I started to deal in reality. I like walking the dog after breakfast. I don't like fasted hill sprints. I like cake, but feel physically horrible if I eat a whole one. Anytime I find myself getting amped up or feeling threatened by a choice, I get curious. Why? What button is it pushing? Or what unquestioned fear is hiding behind it?
It took some work to get to this place, but I can enjoy health and fitness without any desire to push it to extremes. A big part of that is avoiding comparison and too much external noise. What my own body is telling me isn't being drowned out by every book, trainer, and influencer who has an opinion. Now, if I'm doing a particular workout or eating a certain food, it's because I like it. I used to have all kinds of other reasons. It's optimal. It's safe. I've earned it. I deserve it. I shouldn't. Now's my chance. Just this once. Starting tomorrow. From now on. Research shows. The software says. I always. I'll never. This means...
I was making decisions from a kind of diet culture trance that was often out waaaay out of sync with my actual needs. No wonder it caused so many problems! I don't have weight or physique goals in the same way I used to. I have life goals, which include being healthy and happy, having fun, being strong, and feeling great. Deprivation, obsession, and math don't factor into that anywhere.