I had a rather amazing realization. I ate more when I was dieting. Significantly more, because I was 10-15 pounds heavier. The restriction drove me to overeat, even when my intention was to eat better and less. How crazy is that? And yet it makes perfect sense. I didn't enjoy my food. Fear and rules drove my decisions. I didn't trust myself. I ignored both hunger and fullness.
I started thinking about this after the conversation in Pree's journal. I overate sugar and processed food because it was "bad" and I was definitely going to quit eating it starting tomorrow ("now's my chance" eating), or because I'd already blown it ("eating because I ate"). It wasn't just the less heathy or higher-reward foods I overate though. I would overeat broccoli. Hey, it's good for me! The whole nutritional reasoning angle was a biggie. Every diet cult has foods with amazing health benefits that can be consumed in mass quantity without ill effect. It's those other people eating the "wrong" foods who struggle with their weight and health because they don't know any better. Oof! On bodybuilding diets I would overeat protein. Paleo and low carb had me drinking coconut oil and wrapping things in bacon. Raw vegan, hey, nothing wrong with eating 10 bananas.
Because I was only allowed certain foods, I overate what was allowed, and I especially overate what was forbidden. D'oh! So no wonder that didn't go well! Diets kept me disconnected from my own appetite and preferences. I'd eat because it had been 2-3 hours, because it was there, or because I'd logged it already. Hunger didn't even enter into it. I would ignore hunger when I was ravenous and ignore fullness when I was stuffed.
It's crazy how long I lived that way but I didn't realize there was another option. My black and white thinking told me that the choices were either to diet (any diet!) or to give up and get fat. The idea that I could lose weight and keep it off by NOT dieting was really radical. I was convinced that intuitive eating was a ticket to fat pants. I'm still suspicious of it. LOL You can't tell a crazed restrict-o-brain to go ahead and eat intuitively now. It doesn't know how. It only knows it wants every glazed donut in the world. It was Naturally Thin that first gave me an inkling that I could eat "normal people" food and still be lean and healthy. It was like intuitive eating with your brain engaged and your values in mind. Then of course Georgie knocked it completely out of the park with Lean Habits. When something becomes a habit, you don't even have to think about it. It's your default behavior. So now my default is to eat meals when hungry, to eat food I love, and to eat just enough. It's a wonderful contrast to all the craziness I've endured.
I got up early this morning and baked bread. The house smelled amazing. Sunday may become bread baking day. I loved having fresh bread for toast and jam. I also walked the dog in the rain and did some power yoga. I'm grateful to be in this happy place where I move for fun and bread doesn't give me a panic attack.