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What's The Connection Between Financial Stress & Disordered Eating?

Eating disorders can have a significant impact on an individual's finances, as they often involve disordered spending on food, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Research has shown that people with eating disorders often prioritize spending money on foods that align with their restrictive eating patterns, even if these foods are less nourishing or more expensive (Favaro, Caregaro, & Santonastaso, 2013).

It is important to recognize that spending money on food is a normal part of life and that investing in nourishing yourself, both physically and mentally, is essential for long-term well-being. However, for people struggling with eating disorders, it can be difficult to strike a balance between these priorities. If you are struggling with this, you might find our strategies below helpful!

Seek Professional Help One way to better manage finances while also addressing an eating disorder is to seek out professional help from a registered psychotherapist. Treatment for eating disorders often includes therapy and counselling, which can help individuals develop healthier relationships with food and money, and manage the physical and emotional symptoms of their disorder. Additionally, many therapy programs include nutrition education, which can help individuals make more informed decisions about the foods they buy and eat.

A registered psychotherapist can also work with clients to identify the underlying causes of their disordered spending habits, addressing any co-occurring mental health issues such as anxiety or depression that may be driving the disordered behaviour. They can also provide support, guidance and tools to help clients achieve realistic financial goals and make a plan to regain control over their finances.

Set a Budget

Another way to help manage eating disorders and finances is to establish a budget. Setting financial goals and tracking expenses can help individuals make more conscious decisions about how they spend their money. It can also be helpful to set aside a specific amount of money each month for nourishing activities, such as exercise classes or meditation, which can support overall well-being.

Remember that financial stress is something that many individuals, regardless of age, gender, or income level, experience. You are not alone in this struggle and it should not make you feel any less capable. Mastering competency is a matter of practice and self-awareness. Dealing with an eating disorder while navigating the financial challenges of society can be challenging, but it is something that can be learned with help and practice

In summary, eating disorders can have a significant impact on an individual's finances. It is normal to spend money on food, but for people struggling with eating disorders, it can be difficult to balance these expenses with the need to invest in their physical, mental and emotional well-being. Seeking professional help from a registered psychotherapist and setting a budget can be helpful ways to manage both eating disorders and finances. If you are interested in working with a therapist, contact us today!


Favaro, A., Caregaro, L., & Santonastaso, P. (2013). The relationship between eating disorders and finances. Journal of Eating Disorders, 1(1), 21. Hudson, J. I., Hiripi, E., Pope, H. G., & Kessler

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