July 31st is Harry Potter’s birthday, and in the midst of celebrating in my own special way (lapel pins and hair bows), I had a profound realization: if you can relate to Harry Potter, you can relate to Intuitive Eating.
That being said—if Harry Potter isn’t your thing, this might not be the post for you. If it is your thing, though, keep on readin’ to learn about the parallels between Harry Potter and Intuitive Eating!
Diet Culture is Just Like You-Know-Who
If you have a hard time getting a firm grasp on Intuitive Eating, that’s okay. It’s not something we’re taught (listen to my body? trust what it’s telling me?), and frankly, the diet culture message is much louder within society… for now. That’s where this Harry Potter analogy comes in, though!
Think about it, diet culture is something that generates fear about our bodies and the “what if” but promises great power and control over your body. Sound familiar? Sure it does! He-who-must-not-be-named has the same m.o.—scare everyone to pieces but entice you with an illusion of power and the falsehood of control. Pretty crappy outcome, yeah? We invest our valuable time, money, and effort into products and plans that promise to flush the fat and suppress the appetite, but what’s really happening is we’re fueling the fire that is the nearly $70 billion diet industry. Who was he-who-must-not-be-named without his followers, the Death Eaters? No one. He wouldn’t have had that power if so many hadn’t given it right to him.
Does that Mean I’m a Death Eater?!
No, not at all! We’re taught from a young age to be unhappy with our bodies, and out of this “need” for a solution to body dissatisfaction was born all of the diet companies, programs, books, and classes. Those things are the Death Eaters, not you. They tell you you’ll have power and control over your body by taking a pill, drinking a shake, skipping meals, etc., but really their business plan is to convince you you’re a failure when you don’t see the change you wanted. In reality, their product is what failed, not you. Remember, the quickest way to a binge, weight gain, and/or being obsessed with food is by restricting or going on a diet.
It’s difficult to be trapped in the middle of the restrict-binge cycle, but there is a way out. There are ten principles of Intuitive Eating, and they’re not at all about rules or restrictions. They’re principles to help guide you back to the intuition and wisdom you were born with. You can get back to being you, Simply You, by learning to make peace with food and trusting your body.
There is something that makes this even more challenging, though… and that would be the food police (AKA the dementors)….
Dementors?! But the Only Way I Know to Help with an Attack from a Dementor is…
That’s right, chocolate! Chocolate?! Yes, chocolate. This part of the analogy has to do with permission. When you give yourself permission to eat the chocolate (or insert any fear food here, really) instead of restricting from it, it starts to repair the relationship you have with food and your body. This takes time, though. You can’t battle a whole flock of dementors (are they a flock? maybe they’re a swarm or a gaggle?) with chocolate, though. For that part of the process, we need our patronus!
Now, what does the patronus relate to in all of this analogy mess? Well, once you reject the diet mentality, move more into Intuitive Eating, and get some new resources and tools in your toolbox, these things all work together like a good ol’ Expecto Patronum spell. Instead of going head-to-head with the food police every time they come knockin’ at your door or going down a spiral shame just because it showed up in the path right in front of you, you are practiced and have what you need to cast your patronus and rid yourself of the dementors.
To Keep Things in Perspective…
The important thing to remember is that no one completely got rid of the dementors by casting the Expecto Patronum spell. The dementors came back, just like the food police will come around again. The goal here is to be ready for them—to call them on their BS and put a stop to it before they start up again.
At some point, though, they’ll come around less and less and start to realize you’re doing well and not really worth much of their time—just like with Intuitive Eating (who knew there was so much to the connection between Harry Potter and Intuitive Eating?!). As you go through the process, you’ll find that you’re not as fixated on food and all of the decisions and thoughts surrounding it. There will certainly be times your scars hurt, but day-to-day life will start to come back to a sense of normal (it will be a new normal, but it will be much less chaotic than your former normal). You’ll begin to realize that, with all of hard work and some significant battles you experienced (and overcame!), you’ll be enjoying your life and celebrating your body for the gift that they are, scars and all.