"When I think about my friends who are "normal" eaters, they don't seem to have issues with eating whatever they want and not feeling like a terrible person because of it. Which in turn (I think) leads them to be able to stop eating when they've had enough."
Yes! This is such an important piece of the puzzle. Imagine that guilt, shame, and fear of weight gain are completely gone from your food decisions. Without them, what other factors influence your choices? It becomes things like how hungry (or not hungry) you are when you start eating, how full you feel, whether the food is emotionally satisfying, whether it tastes good, and how you want to feel during and after the meal. You still think about gentle nutrition and eating to be healthy and perform well, but in a practical way, without any emotional drama. Like, I know if I eat candy for breakfast, I'll probably get sleepy when the sugar crash happens and then be starving. There's no judgment there. I'm not a terrible, weak-willed, hopeless person. I may even choose to eat candy for breakfast, knowing I’ll want something more substantial and balanced soon after.
When there is no moral judgment, no fear or panic, eating becomes so clear and simple and non-threatening. That judgment is like a big hammer, smashing the hell out of all the more subtle hunger cues, preferences, and values. We think they're not there. We say, “If I didn't punish, control, and guilt myself, how would I know what to eat? How would I know when to stop?” And the funny thing is, the guilt and shame is what causes it to be so confusing and hard.
Losing the guilt was the biggest part of becoming an intuitive eater for me. I can’t stress that enough!