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Sarah Thompson, founder of Resilient Fat Goddess, writes about body positivity, body liberation, and fat liberation at the intersections of gender, sexuality, and eating disorders. 

Financial Instability, Food Insecurity, Medication, and Intuitive Eating

Let’s talk about how financial instability, food insecurity, and medication can complicate the fuck out of intuitive eating.

Photo by Freddie Collins on Unsplash

Photo by Freddie Collins on Unsplash

Let’s talk about Intuitive Eating.

Let’s talk about how financial instability, budgets, and medication can complicate the fuck out of intuitive eating.

In the book, Intuitive Eating, an intuitive eater is described as generally eating because of biological hunger and making food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma. Intuitive eaters honor hunger, respect fullness, and enjoy the pleasure of eating.

So, what happens when you’re so limited on money that:
-you can’t buy the food that sounds good to you
-you can’t buy enough food to eat until you’re full
-your food stamps do not cover the amount of groceries you need
-you can’t afford more nutrient dense foods that you enjoy
-you have to shop at stores that remind of you food insecurity as a child
-you hate to cook and cannot afford to eat out anymore
-you have to choose between gas for your car, paying your phone bill, or buying food with the money you have beyond food stamps

How do you navigate honoring your hunger or respecting your fullness, when you can’t afford to buy enough food?

How do you enjoy the pleasure of eating, when you can’t buy food that sounds good to you?

How do you enjoy the pleasure of eating, when you are worried about if you will be evicted from your home?

How do you eat intuitively when you don’t have enough money and you are consistently unsatisfied and hungry?

Related, but different.

What happens when you’re on a medication that:
-takes away your typical internal cues for hunger
-takes away your typical internal cues for satiety
-takes away your appetite for foods you typically like
-makes you feel incredibly disembodied

What happens when the benefits of the medication outweigh these side effects?

What happens when you are in either of these situations AND in recovery from an eating disorder?

What happens when your anxiety is heightened at the possibility of restriction, and you’re dealing with restriction that isn’t self-imposed?

These are real questions. They tend to be topics that aren’t typically discussed. If they are discussed, they are glossed over and not dealt with in depth.

The majority of people who have access to learning about IE have enough money to be educated about it and are not currently financially insecure or food insecure. This means that most teachers, therapists, dietitians and coaches don’t have experience practicing IE when financially or food insecure.

Some may have experience with taking medication and dealing with side effects. But the way that most providers are taught is to be an impartial blank slate. Most providers wouldn’t tell their clients that they have tried a specific medication where the client might know what it is being prescribed for or talk about finances and food insecurity. If they do, they are rare.

Another big reason I think that it doesn’t get talked about is that IS so challenging to talk about.

So, how does experience with these issues get discussed? How do we help people feel less alone? How do we reduce the shame and stigma that surrounds these issues?

Financial instability, food insecurity, and side effects of medication affect our relationship with food and body. Sometimes in really profound ways. If we don’t talk about it, it feeds the shame and stigma.

Let’s talk about it.


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