Intuitive eating seems to have become a junk food fest in my mind where I almost have to eat ice cream, chips and creamy pasta for every meal. Like once I start on the sweets, it's very hard to stop with a reasonable portion.
In my experience, this happens as a response to previous rules, meal plans, and vows to cut out sweets. We control too tightly, get too hungry, obsess over weight, and then of course want to put M&Ms on fettuccine alfredo with a side of curly fries. Because the diet starts tomorrow! This intuitive eating thing is only a temporary sham escape that won't work and has to end soon. It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, if there are no rules, if you're always free to eat whenever, whatever, and as much as you want, no end in sight, the rebellion response to that kind of abundance becomes looking forward to a salad, being happy with a few of those, getting tired of the cookies, or forgetting to finish the rest of your lunch.
I find (so called) intuitive eating that requires emphasizing certain types of foods, avoidance of sugar, portion control, and a weight focus to be not the least bit intuitive. "Lose weight with the new non-dieting diet!!" It's annoying. Keep making rules and you'll keep wanting to do the opposite. The only way out of that cycle is to allow everything, and then pay attention to how you feel and what you value. With that kind of freedom, eating nothing but junky convenience foods all day fell out of favor pretty quickly with me. I didn't feel good. I wasn't satisfied. It tanked my energy and my mood. If I think about wanting to feel good before, during, and after I eat, I naturally eat better without any rules or plans. The focus is on feeling my best versus controlling or depriving myself.
In my first attempt at intuitive eating, I had been dieting hard for a couple of decades. So, when I stopped, there really wasn't anything intuitive going on. It was an epic weeks long "cheat day." I kept thinking my appetite would calm down and I'd want some salad (as I had been told), but I was SO hungry, and that hunger was all bound up with feeling guilty, afraid, ashamed, and like a failure because I couldn't diet anymore. That is really not a good setup for trusting yourself or learning to eat with attunement. So, I was eating whatever, and a whole bunch, but it wasn't "working" because I was overwhelmed with conflicting emotions and trying to numb then with all the food I'd been denying myself. The best advice I can give to someone in that situation is to breathe, relax, and stay present when you eat. When we're busy numbing out or beating ourselves up, of course we don't recognize satisfaction when it happens. Then, even if we do notice, our story that food is scarce or that these foods will probably be off limits again soon will keep us eating past it. It takes time for all that reactivity to settle down. It settles faster if we approach our eating with kindness and curiosity instead of judgment. Just notice. Do I like this food? Am I hungry right now? Am I starting to feel satisfied? I found it really important to remind myself that I could always have more later. I also found it helpful to eat satisfying meals at regular times. I could still snack as much as I wanted, but meals were happening. They produced much clearer, more beginner-friendly hunger and fullness signals than grazing all day in some kind of weird limbo.