From skwigg's journal:
You've probably already answered this question somewhere, but do you think where you currently are with your eating habits came as a gradual process and that you had to start first with eating enough or eating regularly or could anyone, no matter where they are in their eating journey, attempt to eat intuitively?
It was a VERY gradual process and is ongoing. I learn more every day. Intuitive eating went horribly wrong for me every time I attempted it while immersed in undereating and restrictive thinking, because then it was either a new way to restrict (the hunger and fullness diet) or a new way to rebel, overeat all the foods I hadn't been allowing myself, and feel terrible about it.
For me, this time, I went through years of moving toward it. Things like eating eating enough, eating meals, eating slowly, eating at predictable times, eating food I loved, and using flexible templates and reverse engineering to dial in hunger and satisfaction, plus the process of identifying and rejecting diet thinking. Then I had the foundation I needed to eat freely without over or underfeeding myself and without any mental drama.
I think anyone at any stage can move toward eating more intuitively, but you probably wouldn't want to chuck all structure starting now and hope for the best. It helped me to see it as a process and a practice, not something I'm going to try tomorrow and might stop if it doesn't work. The newest version of the Intuitive Eating book plus the Intuitive Eating Workbook both helped me tremendously. I was ready this time, but it still took practice and patience.
I realize now that getting my exercise under control was also a huge factor in being able to eat intuitively. When I was doing long, intense workouts every day I was too ravenous to think clearly or moderate anything.
I was doing a combination of long gym workouts, personal training sessions, fasted HIIT, serious strength training, cardio machines, martial arts, combat conditioning classes where I'd jump rope and hit things for an hour. Holy crap, I was hungry!
Now, my formal workouts are 5-15 minutes. I have a whole lot more energy to move around and do things throughout the day and my appetite is polite and predictable. I don't experience that stressed, exhausted, fight-or-flight, hungry wild animal thing anymore. It's impossible to eat intuitively or moderately in that state where biological survival hunger is in play. I would always eat in a seemingly out-of-control way and wonder what was wrong with me. Clearly I couldn't moderate like other people.