I mean you can love to eat without having to eat past hunger can’t you? I ask that rather than make it a statement because I’ve not been there (yet), but I’d like to think that when you love how and what you are eating, eating an amount appropriate for your appetite doesn't really cause an issue. Maybe that’s just optimistic thinking.
That is where I ended up after I started eating intuitively. I really love to eat when I'm hungry, but eating when not hungry or beyond fullness tends to register as pointless or uncomfortable, not fun or rewarding. It's easy to stop eating now. I genuinely don't want anymore. Overeating makes a meal LESS enjoyable. Stopping a meal and moving on was always dramatic and difficult when restricting. I wanted my food, and seconds, and yours, and all the food in the world. Chronic biological hunger + a scarcity mindset made for no off switch.
The biggest part of learning to eat to appetite and stop was knowing that I could have more later if I wanted. I could have some tomorrow, or at my next meal, or in five minutes. That freedom is what was missing from dieting and even from my early happy eating. There was always a rule, template, or unspoken expectation about when I could eat next. That made it very difficult to stop now, and it had my eyes all over everybody else's plates.
Skwigg, you are so very right that people get all heated if anyone brings up the idea of using intuitive eating to be lean. That’s actually something I’m torn on as well. Like am I actually eating intuitively if I’m eating to try to lose weight? Is leanness with intuitive eating allowed to be called intuitive eating just because there are no rules or restrictions or numbers associated with it? It seems like a very blurry line.
Intuitive eating as a diet for the purpose of weight loss can't work. Approaching it as the hunger & fullness diet, being rigid about adherence to the principles, beating yourself up for doing it wrong, expecting weight loss, all of that is poison. I heartily agree with the authors and advocates on that. It's why IE went horribly wrong for me the first few times I tried it. My diet mindset made it impossible to hear or trust what my body was telling me. If it didn't tell me to eat less and it didn't produce weight loss fairly quickly, I was going to go back to dieting. That assumption kept it from working. I'd still eat based on rebellion or diet expectations, not hunger, and I'd still stop eating based on what I thought was appropriate for an intuitive eater (?! LOL), even if my body was screaming for more food or begging me to stop already.
I think that in order to even learn to eat intuitively, there has to be a period of not looking at or caring about weight. You can't tune into how food makes you feel, learn to trust your body, and find lasting food peace if a number on a scale can undermine everything in an instant. Peace first, trust first, really LOVING the way you eat and the way you feel every day. In my opinion, that foundation has to be in place and stay there as you navigate issues of weight and health. If it's sacrificed for faster results, the results will be short lived. It's why Gentle Nutrition is the last IE principle and a later chapter in the book. If that information is introduced too early in the process, intuitive eating never happens. It all gets internalized as new diet rules and we experience the same backlash as if we were dieting.