I think there’s a lot of merit in learning to read our bodies to determine our nutritional needs. It’s amazing that you had that degree of intuition as a child. That was not me at all. I remember taking pride in gluttony on occasion and making myself sick from overeating, though I also skipped a lot of meals (from lack of interest in food) and managed to stay skinny, although the rest of my family was overweight.
Now I have a much better sense of what my body needs. When I overeat on meat, I know to balance it out by drinking a couple sodas. When I have too much sugary stuff and feel a little shaky, a burger can even me out. I definitely don’t believe in self-denial, but simply moderation and common sense.
When I was eating 5-6k a day, I was actually hungrier than I am now–I was ravenous. The more I ate, the more I needed to eat. Possibly that’s because of a low protein take relative to total calories (about 10%), or maybe I was just screwing up my hormones by binging. In any case, I feel a lot more satisfied now while eating 3k a day and exercising. I was down to 2k for a while, but I’ve increased it because I was starting to plateau on strength gains.
I’ve also been replacing more of my starches with sugar, and it seems, contrary to popular opinion, that the sugar is more satisfying and leaves me with fewer cravings. And eating a sugary diet definitely fits the intuitive eating paradigm, since my preferred diet (simply by taste) would probably be 50% soda!
Now that I’m thinking about intuitive eating, I remember when I was in high school I worked at a family pizza restaurant. I got free meals and drinks there, which was pretty awesome as a teenager. But the interesting thing was that I hit the chicken wings, fatty salads, and meaty sandwiches (much to the owners’ chagrin) rather than the cheaper pizza. And I drank coke constantly through the shift. I don’t know if I was eating healthy, but I definitely gravitated towards the sugar and fatty stuff by preference, and less to the starches. I did eat plenty of pizza and breadsticks too, but I preferred the soda and fatty meat and cheese.