Ellyn Satter has such good stuff. I love her definition of normal eating:
Normal eating is being able to eat when you are hungry and continue eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it-not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to use some moderate constraint in your food selection to get the right food, but not being so restrictive that you miss out on pleasurable foods. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is three meals a day, most of the time, but it can also be choosing to munch along. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful when they are fresh. Normal eating is overeating at times: feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. It is also undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.
In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your emotions, your schedule, your hunger, and your proximity to food.
That was a life-altering perspective!
I initially regarded mindful eating as a way to stop eating, a means of control. I was being mindful only so I would stop at the right time and not gain weight. Geez, that's a messed up way to look at it! These days, I could replace the words "eating mindfully" with "savoring my food" or "maximum enjoyment." The urge to zone out while eating used to be a means of escaping my food choices (or other stressful thoughts). If I was eating something "bad," a distraction would head off my guilty chatter about it, or allow me to finish it when my diet mind might not. I still like eating in front of the TV. There's nothing wrong with that! I can do it more mindfully than I used to, actually enjoying the food and registering what I'm eating while there are distractions. I used to think intuitive eating required eating in monk-like silence with life totally paused. That's not realistic or true. Actually, you want to be able to enjoy your food and eat for maximum satisfaction regardless of what's going on around you.
I don't worry about the years of dieting pushing my set point higher. I dieted my brains out for decades, which frequently did push my weight higher in the immediate aftermath of restriction, but it would gradually come back down as my appetite leveled off and my "gasping for food" stopped. I'm no longer hungry enough to eat the way I did after periods of restriction and/or overtraining, so I can't sustain that higher weight. That makes more sense to me than mysterious forces conspiring to make me weigh as much as possible. My body wants to be healthy. It's never out to get me. I remind myself of that whenever irrational fears pop up.