I have been struggling with knowing how much I should eat. So far I have worked with three perspectives on this but am not sure which one is correct.
This is a complicated post, but I'd be grateful if you could share your knowledge and experience about this
1. The ayurvedic recommendation. For 1 year before I went on a raw diet, I tried the ayurvedic diet to suit my ayurvedic constitution, which is vata, although that is largely irrelevant in this case. The ayurvedic books said one should eat 2 'anjalis'. One anjali is the amount of food one can hold in one's palms when one holds them cupped in a fairly open gesture. 2 anjalis for the main meal of the day - preferably lunch, and 1 anjali for 2 minor meals - breakfast and dinner.
Following this on a cooked food diet seemed to work fine as far as my weight goes, but when I changed to a raw food diet, I started thinking this is too little. One, I lost a lot of weight, which may or may not be healthy. I have a small frame so sometimes I doubt if having a low weight is really a sign of a problem. Two, after three months or so I developed some cravings for cooked food and for fatty foods. Even when I eat these things I do not binge, I only eat until my hunger goes, so I think these are cravings coming from dietary deficiencies caused by eating too little. I have particularly fat, sodium and possibly zinc in mind. Three, often I still feel hungry after having eaten 1 anjali. For these reasons I am not sure about following this perspective on a raw food diet.
2. I wonder if one can just follow hunger. I feel I am craving things I need. Even though sometimes I crave fatty foods, for the most part I have a distaste for unhealthy foods - processed, fried foods or foods with too many simple carbohydates. I also feel I am developing an intuitive sense for what is healthy and I enjoy the taste of these foods. Also, my sense of hunger lies much more in sensations in my esophagus than anywhere else, and certainly not in headaches or dizziness. So I wonder if I am close to real hunger although not quite there fully.
Given all this, it might be a good idea to follow my hunger and eat as much as my hunger demands. Doing this, sometimes I exceed my daily calorie requirement according to my basal metabolic rate - about 1500. Also, I am growing a little paunch, which doesn't seem to be a healthy thing. And I feel hungry at night at times, although not as hungry as in the day. Real hunger, from what I have read, rarely comes in the night. Hence, I do not know if what I am considering hunger is hunger at all. So I am no sure if this is the right strategy either.
3. I can just try to eat according to my basal metabolic rate which is 1500 or so. If I eat according to this, I wonder if I will get enough nutrients. Also, it is not easy to know whether one has eaten enough or too much until I log on to cronometer dot com or another such website and put in everything I have eaten. But by then I have already eaten it. Finally and most importantly, I feel a little averse to this mechanical way of doing things and would rather trust my understanding of things, as in option 1, or my intuition, as in option 2.
What do you think? Any thoughts or advice would be helpful.