Restrictive Eating Disorders and Difficulty Spending Money

Restrictive Eating Disorders

When it comes to restrictive eating disorders, it’s never just food that’s restricted. Rest, self-care, and spending time with others are commonly restricted as well. Not to mention, most people who struggle with disordered eating often have a disordered relationship with money too.

A while back, I did a post about food hoarding while struggling with an eating disorder. When I was actively hoarding food, I never believed it was tied to my eating disorder. I mean, as people with Anorexia tend to not eat, isn't it a bit paradoxical for them to stash excessive amounts of food?

From a biological perspective, it makes a lot of sense for someone who is malnourished to "save up" essential items. When you do not eat enough food, you go into energy deficit; this means the amount of energy you are consuming is insufficient to balance the amount of energy you are putting out.

Our survival brains perceive energy deficit as resources being scarce. In other words, energy deficit causes your body to believe you are in a famine environment. Because your body cannot TRUST that you will provide it will adequate fuel, it must economize its energy expenditure. Your body will conserve energy internally by slowing down biological processes, but this economization will also manifest in external ways: such as with the literal economization of money.

It isn't just people with eating disorders who will stockpile resources during uncertain times. Remember when the pandemic hit and everyone basically robbed the stores of essential products?

That was because they didn't TRUST the situation. When you are under-eating, your body does not TRUST that resources are abundant. So what does it do to ensure your safety? It will hoard life-essential items and aim to "save" resources in every way possible!

If you are struggling with an eating disorder and have a hard time spending money, it is most likely not a self-worth issue. Rather, it's a biological response to your body's perception of scarcity. So how do you overcome your fear of spending money? You prove that resources are NOT scarce. You eat an ABUNDANCE of food so your body can learn that there is an ABUNDANCE of resources.

Want to learn how to navigate ED recovery as an autistic person?

Listen to my FREE TRAINING teaching you how to use your autistic traits to your advantage in ED recovery 💪