One of my favorite quotes is by Wayne Dyer. “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” It’s so true; mindset is everything. In this article, explore whether you have a scarcity or abundance mindset with food. Discover how an abundance mindset can transform your relationship with food.
Scarcity vs. Abundance Mindset with Food
A key component of intuitive eating is learning to give yourself unconditional permission to eat. These words “unconditional permission” closely align with abundance.
One definition of abundance is plentifulness of the good things of life. Other words associated with abundance include prosperity and thriving.
An abundance mindset with food means giving yourself plenty of options for nourishing your body so that you can thrive!
On the flipside, scarcity is associated with deficiency, inadequacy, and lack. A scarcity mindset with food means limiting yourself to fewer options for nourishing your body.
It’s important to note that even if food is physically available, you may still be mentally restricting yourself by categorizing certain foods as “bad” or “off-limits”.
Let’s look at some examples:
Scarcity Mindset Examples:
- You can’t have dessert unless you eat your veggies first.
- Limit snacks to 100 calories.
- You’re only allowed one serving of dinner; regardless of how hungry you are.
- Pack a snack for work, but only one!
- Stick to the salad when you go out for lunch; you shouldn’t get pasta.
- Don’t keep chips in the house or else you’ll eat them all.
Abundance Mindset Examples:
- I am allowed to eat dessert if I want it.
- I focus on feeling satisfied and energized vs. counting calories.
- When I feel hungry, I can eat again.
- I have a variety of snack options available for when I get hungry between meals.
- Both the pasta and salad sound good – I can enjoy a portion of both.
- I am learning to habituate to chips by keeping a bag of them in my pantry.
Notice the difference? Abundant mindset means that deep inside, you feel that you deserve to eat. You give yourself unconditional permission to eat and trust your body.
The Slippery Slope of Scarcity
As long as you have a scarcity mindset around food, you ride what I call the “slippery slope” of scarcity. You feel like you’re walking on eggshells around your “off-limit” foods. One bite of a cookie and you’ll eat the rest of the tray.
This is because scarcity creates urgency to eat the very food that is restricted.
Think about it for yourself. When you tell yourself “I can’t keep sweets in the house”, what happens when your roommate brings home a tray of baked goods? My guess is that you CAN’T STOP THINKING about the sweets now in your kitchen.
This isn’t your lack of willpower or mental strength. Your reaction is actually a normal consequence of lack of habituation.
Habituation illustrates how the more we are exposed to something, the less appealing it becomes. One long-term food habituation study revealed that an increased rate of habituation was associated with decreased energy intake (1).
In other words, keeping those foods in the house (increased exposure) may assist in healing your restrictions around that particular food.
3 Ways to Shift From Scarcity to Abundance Mindset with Food
To heal your relationship with food, apply these 3 strategies to shift from scarcity to an abundance mindset.
1 – Notice and reframe scarcity based thoughts.
When you pass the chips at the grocery store and immediately think: “I’m not allowed to get those; they’re bad” can you invite a gentle reframe?
Instead of “chips are bad; I can’t have them,” try:
- If I want this food, I am allowed to get it.
- Fun foods can be a part of a balanced diet.
- I can get chips AND carrots.
One of my clients illustrated this so well when she said:
“I think positively shaping my mindset around how I’m nourishing my body (whether that’s related to the food I’m eating, or the language I’m using when talking to myself) has been my greatest win.”
2 – Create your own abundance affirmations.
Make these reframed thoughts a part of a regular affirmations practice so that they stick. Repetition enhances your belief in them!
Affirmations are a form of positive self-talk that can help you overcome limiting beliefs that you have about yourself. They are written in the present tense, about yourself, as if they were happening now.
Set a goal now to write 1-5 abundance affirmations. Then, repeat them to yourself each day (bonus points if you repeat them out loud). You could also write them on a sticky note and put it somewhere you see each day, like your fridge or mirror.
Overtime, your affirmations will start to become your reality.
3 – Give yourself more options with food.
What foods do you love? Do you have those foods well-stocked in your fridge, freezer, and/or pantry?
A well-stocked kitchen is essential for honoring your hunger and adopting an abundance mindset around food. I understand that this is a privilege and not everyone has easy access to food. Consider what this could look like for you.
Maybe it’s keeping some non-perishable snacks in your purse so you have food options when you’re on-the-go. Perhaps it’s having ingredients to make a savory or a sweet option for breakfast, depending on what you are in the mood for that day. Or it could be having a mix of fresh foods and convenience foods in your kitchen.
You get the idea! Options = abundance.
Would you like more support with this?
At Everglow Nutrition, we understand that making peace with food after years of dieting or restricting is challenging. That’s why support in this process makes ALL the difference. Visit our nutrition coaching application to schedule a free call and learn more about our services.