Devotees of the intuitive eating brigade tell us to eat like we did when we were small and we will heal our unhealthy relationship with food.
First of all, there are some people that have had weight issues all their lives and ate poorly as children as well as adults. Secondly, when I was a (skinny) kid my parents made me eat a hell of a lot of things I hated. I can remember retching trying to eat cauliflower and sitting at the table on my own for hours after everyone else had left, staring at a cold brussel sprout.
The fantasy of 'eating like a kid' is that we ate when we were hungry and stopped when we were full and ate healthy nourishing food. In reality, if left to my own devices, I would have lived on potato chips (crisps), aniseed balls and scones with jam and cream.
What I have discovered in contemplating this subject is that effortlessly maintaining a healthy level of fat during my childhood was a balance between eating what I enjoyed and eating what was good for me. I seem to have forgotten that good food choices are not completely dependent on taste. In order to stay healthy and well I need to eat some things that aren't particularly yummy.
I sometimes think that it is god's cruel joke that broccoli, spinach and cabbage are low calorie and bursting with vitamins and nutrients while hot cinnamon donuts take more nourishment from my body than they give. It would be much more logical for the healthy things to taste spectacular and the shitty food to taste like ... well, shit.
As sad is it may seem, the universe has conspired to present nature's best food offerings in ordinary packages so I have to accept it. I cannot base a mature, informed approach to nutrition on only eating what I 'like'.
There are ways to make vegetables taste amazing (which might or might not involve melted cheese) but the fact remains that I have to consciously choose to eat them in spite of the fact I don't really enjoy it that much.
Optimum eating is not choosing food based purely on taste and enjoyment. I suspect that at least 50% of our daily intake should be based on the actual nourishment the food provides rather than it's gastronomical pleasure.
This means having protein at every meal (even though the oats taste better without the protein powder), plenty of green (ugh) vegetables and hiding cucumber and tomato in a huge salad where I won't really notice the taste of it. I am sick to death of plain chicken breasts but it provides a complete protein source that keeps hunger at bay and prevents me continuously overdosing on carbs in the name of vegetarianism (otherwise known as "I am sick of boring chicken/fish so I'll eat wholemeal bread, vegie burgers and brown rice instead and oops I've eaten over 200g of carbs today and I'm still hungry" syndrome).
If I just limit my diet to nourishing clean food I will eventually binge because I need things that taste good too (and in my world there are some things that do taste better than skinny feels, especially when skinny means you can't sit on a chair for long because you have no butt to prevent your tailbone digging into the chair). Sometimes I am quite happy with the light version of my favourite food (low cal ice-cream, skim milk, sugar free chocolate, no-sugar maple syrup) but there are still deal-breakers that I have to include in my diet to prevent feeling completely deprived.
To eat like a 'normal' person means including things in my diet that I don't particular like but that are good for me. Naturally thin people have resigned themselves to the indisputable fact that they can eat some of what they love as long as they also eat some of what they need. It isn't a battle, it isn't deprivation, it isn't that the world is unfair, it is just the way it is.
It is, after all, god's cruel joke.