What Is Your Disordered Eating Costing You?

In her most recent guest blog post, Terri Barger wrote about how seductive dieting can be and referred to the fact that is has become a billion dollar industry (that continues to grow).

That got me thinking about how much dieting and disordered eating cost us, not just in dollars (though they’re significant), but also in time, mental energy, and most of all enjoyment! Here’s the list I came up with:

Money spent on:

  • Diet books
  • Diet foods
  • Dieting apps
  • Dieting memberships
  • Supplements to reduce appetite or “speed up” metabolism
  • Unused exercise DVDs
  • Unused gym memberships
  • Juice cleanses

Time expended on:

  • Combing the internet for diet tricks, tips, and recipes
  • Fretting over what to eat, when to eat it, and whether it’s good or bad
  • Discussing your diet, food, weight lost, weight gained in lieu of other topics
  • Exercising to “earn your calories” or to “do penance” for food already eaten
  • Hovering over a menu deciding what’s safe to order while everyone waits
  • Standing in supermarket aisles determining which foods to allow yourself and which to avoid
  • Planning and executing a binge when the restricting becomes too much to take
  • Obsessing over what you just ate

Mental energy and anguish spent:

  • Feeling anxious over which foods might be “dangerous” for you
  • Feeling guilty for indulging in foods you’ve labeled as bad
  • Briefly feeling virtuous for avoiding restricted foods
  • Thinking about the food you really want but don’t let yourself eat
  • Feeling remorseful and physically uncomfortable after overeating
  • Feeling out of control with food
  • Eating to deal with strong emotions
  • Fantasizing about how life would be different if you were thinner
  • Briefly feeling elated when thinking about or starting a new diet
  • Feeling confused and disappointed when another diet fails
  • Comparing yourself with others (including yourself 10 years ago) and despairing at how you fall short

Enjoyment lost:

  • Of your favorite foods
  • Of the time spent with your loved ones
  • Of your day-to-day experience
  • Of having a peaceful and loving relationship with yourself and your body!

You don’t have to go broke (financially or emotionally) to enjoy health, wellness, and peace. And the solution is often closer and simpler than you imagine (though not necessarily easy).

We’ve been confused to think that fighting with our bodies will get us where we want to go. But it’s gentleness, compassion, and awareness that ultimately helps us find what we’re looking for!

What has disordered eating cost you? What would you add to this list? I want to hear from you! Just comment below and share your thoughts.

4 comments on “What Is Your Disordered Eating Costing You?

  1. This is a great list, and I would add one other thing: the time wasted waiting to be thin or fit “enough” to do the things I love – whether that is buying a dress or dancing or traveling. I wasted so much time waiting until some future moment when I would be able to do the things I wanted. I am so much happier doing them now – and working toward those goals rather than toward losing weight.

  2. Thank you, Terri! You are so right. This is a huge cost of dieting and disordered eating.

  3. Great article, Jenna. I think in the “money” column, I’d also add “maintaining a wardrobe in three different sizes” – all those clothes get expensive! (Plus, keeping hold of them all takes up a lot of space in your closets – and life – that could probably be MUCH better used for other things!)



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