Restriction in response to weight gain, only invites rebellion, reactive eating, continued weight gain, and a more drawn out recovery. Restriction is actively fattening. It may "work" for ten minutes, or three weeks, or half a day, but the end result is always a thrifty metabolism, an out of control appetite, and a propensity to store everything we eat as fat. It makes us feel crazy around food and makes us eat more in the end. Acknowledging that truth helped me to quit seeing restriction as a solution, or even worse, an off-limits solution that other people could use but not me. That's nonsense! I can restrict any time I want. I don't want to because it's so horribly ineffective. Been there, tried that. It was unsustainable and I was worse off after every round of it. The counter to a fear-based restriction mode is to relax. Notice in the moment how the food makes you feel. Maybe lunch left you feeling hungry. Noted. So, you ate a satisfying snack. Good work! All you have to do is exactly that, noticing how you feel and eating to feel your best mentally and physically, that plus letting some time pass. With time and practice, confidence in the process improves. You start to experience all the benefits of a polite and friendly appetite, a stable weight, more energy, and better moods.
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This was a big switch in my mind when I was so unhappy and struggling with weight gain. My brain said restriction was my only answer. Thinking about it realistically told me this- restriction works for 3-12 months for me and then I either end up where I started or more often heavier. If I’m unhappy at this weight, why would dieting and ending up heavier in a year solve my problem at all. Even if I keep my happiness invested in a particular weight, dieting guarantees my future unhappiness. It then became clear that I had to base my happiness on something other than weight or size.