When I first gave up the counting, I often had a vague sense of "overeating" or feeling like I didn't know how much I was eating. Since I'd already slacked on logging a full days intake, this wasn't particularly acute. My main concern was that I'd slowly slip back into old habits and regain, not that I wouldn't lose. Again, I'd like to lose more, but in this transition phase, I'm more concerned with being able to feed myself at a maintenance level without tracking calories or food. Once I have this ability down, then I can attend more concretely to further loss of body fat.
Over the last several weeks, I can't say that I've markedly eaten differently, but I have noticed some bad habits that I had even when I was calorie counting and feel that I need to get rid of those. The main problem is too much freestyle "grazing". This is something I had been working with before, but only in certain situations. That is, I was still comforting myself with food, but doing so with small portions such that I didn't impact weight gain or loss. I have been working effectively on not doing this because I'm tired, stressed, or anxious, but I have not been doing so well with it when I'm incidentally hungry.
What I mean by that that last part is that I will feel slightly hungry at times and decide to eat things rather than wait and eat in a consolidated manner. I well know from experience that eating when slightly hungry was a huge reason why I gained so much weight. I never knew true hunger because I never allowed my body to get there. I became incapable of tolerating true hunger because I never built up a tolerance. My incidental eating was something I saw as a road back to that sort of thing and I decided that I need to "tighten up" how I deal with food.
My approach as of yesterday was to eat incidentally if I wanted to (or "needed to"), but to make sure that I fully acknowledged the experience by plating everything I ate and carrying it to another place. There will be no more standing in the kitchen eating a piece of chocolate, a rice cracker, a few mini pretzels and a bit or two of cheese. If it isn't on a plate, I don't eat it, at least if I'm at home when I'm eating.
I think that this grazing wasn't necessarily a slippery slope, though I acknowledge that it could have been. Mainly, I think that it would ultimately impede further weight loss. I weighed myself today and I remain at 80 kg. (176 lbs.) which is where I've been for awhile. I was actually pretty pleased with this as I hadn't gained any weight for my sloppy habits. Frankly, I have felt that I've been eating too much, particularly too many empty calories, and was concerned that I might end up gaining because of it. Fortunately, I did not, but clearly it's time to move on to some better habits.
Yesterday, I ate five times. That was breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea time, and a later evening snack. I plated post-lunch tiny pieces of chocolate and a few cookies as well as dessert after dinner (half a small chocolate chip cupcake and strawberries). The late night snack was fruit, but I feel it was slightly indulgent. A lot of my extra eating since stopping strict counting has been eating after dinner and I know it's not absolutely necessary. It's just laziness about not putting up with being a little hungry at bedtime. Still, it's not that big a deal either, especially on the first day of tightening up my habits.
I want to write about these things more than I do, not because I believe such mechanistic processes are so interesting, but because I want readers to know I'm not perfect and I still have work to do as well. It's not easy, though it's absolutely nowhere near as hard as it used to be. I don't know if I'll be struggling with this for the rest of my life, but I'm prepared for the possibility that I might have to. It's tiring. It gets old, but looking back at pictures of me at my higher weight, I think it's absolutely worth it.