I see the subject of food and eating coming up recently in my f-list and of course it's an ongoing issue for me too. So I thought I'd share a portion of my post on the subject from my forum in case it resonates with someone.
I am more of a stress-related grazer than a binge-eater. Years ago as part of my body image work I went on a "recovery from dieting" program. My relationship with food was a mess after years of crash dieting and growing up in a family of crash dieters. Foods were all divided into strict categories of good and bad, and I associated the "good" foods with starvation diets I'd been on.
The rules were simple:
1. Eat only when hungry.
(This was mostly a challenge of recognizing when I was hungry and eating right away. I found I was more likely to go past that point and only eat when I was starving, 6-8 hours following the last meal.)
2. Eat exactly what you want.
3. Eat until you are full and then stop.
This really did a lot for me. First of all, I learned to get more in tune with my hunger and satiety signals. For someone who had dieted since I was 9 years old, I had long since lost consciousness of my body's cues. Dieting sets you up for eating disorders precisely by disconnecting from these cues and divorcing eating from hunger alone.
Secondly, I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted. It was the rule! For the first time in my life I wasn't eating according to some rigid code or else violating that code and hating myself for it. At first yes, I went for the forbidden foods. After a couple of months of this I started to grab a candy bar one day, took a look at it, and decided that no, I didn't really want that right now.
I began enjoying the "good" foods once again, now that they didn't mean depriving myself of the forbidden or "bad" foods.
I relaxed around portions of snacks because I wasn't merely having a binge between harsh diets. I could have this stuff any time I wanted, so I didn't need to scarf it down like someone was going to snatch it away from me if I didn't eat every bite.
As Dave could tell you, snack foods generally last awhile around me now and I don't eat whole bags of them in a sitting.
I can generally maintain my weight easily. It's losing it that takes extra effort. While I am at the high end of my set point range right now I never go beyond it. But that seems to work in both directions--I never seem to break through the other end, 60 pounds lighter, to even more weight loss. I keep doing the same things or exercise a bit more and the scale just doesn't go below a certain point. I have concluded that's just where my body is able to go at this point, after so many years of crash dieting. My body has been through so many self induced famines that it holds on to what it can.