An Anorexic Mindset Can Impact Many Other Areas of Life

January 5, 2023 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

When I think about an anorexic mindset, two primary features stand out to me: deprivation and control. Within the eating disorder framework, these attributes often manifest in behaviors such as caloric restriction, compulsive exercise, food rituals, or body image obsession. However, an anorexic mindset can impact many areas of life outside the parameters of an eating disorder as well.

I am starting to learn that even if I no longer restrict my food intake or run for hours on the treadmill, this does not mean I have permanently overcome the anorexic mindset as a whole. Deprivation and control can still emerge in other insidious ways, so I believe it's important to examine where the roots of an anorexic mindset actually stem from.

My Anorexic Mindset Currently Impacts a Different Area of My Life

It's been several years at this point since my last eating disorder relapse. I continue to prioritize fitness and nutrition, but I feel more balanced than I ever have before. With that said, my anorexic mindset lingers, but now it manifests in a different area of life: finances. If you were to ask my partner for his thoughts on my financial habits, he would tell you that I refuse to spend even a few dollars on myself unless it's unavoidable—this might sound hyperbolic, but it's true.

I maintain what my therapist calls an "anorexic budget." I feel an immense amount of guilt anytime I need to make a purchase. I berate myself for wanting to order a latte from the local coffee shop. I wear socks with holes and boots with worn-out soles. I begin to sweat when the fuel in my car drops below a half tank. I monitor my savings account with laser precision, convincing myself I have to operate like this in order to stay afloat. But as I write this paragraph, I see the red flags of deprivation and control all over it. An anorexic mindset still has its claws in me.     

I value being fiscally responsible, but I also want to enjoy this world with no apologies and invest in experiences I will always remember. I want to buy new socks and boots without feeling my heart rate increase. I want to treat myself to coffee just because it's Thursday. I want to live abundantly within the financial means I have. And most of all, I do not want this anorexic mindset to impact so many areas of life—I want total freedom in 2023. It scares me, but I am ready.  

Stay Tuned as I Combat the Anorexic Mindset in All Areas of My Life

I have been peeling back the layers of this anorexic mindset in my counseling sessions for about a month, but as of right now, I am not sure what the next concrete steps will entail. My therapist closed out our most recent session with advice just to let all this ruminate in my head for a while. The work to release deprivation and control is uncharted terrain for me, so I should not feel pressure to rewire that anorexic mindset in the blink of an eye, she said. As with any other facet of healing, this process will be incremental. But I accept the challenge—and for today, that is enough.  

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2023, January 5). An Anorexic Mindset Can Impact Many Other Areas of Life, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 14 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

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