A trip to the supermarket is a mundane task for most, a weekly necessity which takes up too much time and too much money. For those suffering from an eating disorder, the trip to the supermarket is an experience full of dread, obsession, fear and guilt. An obstacle to overcome. For anorexics and bulimics, money would not even be taken into consideration when fulfilling the task of the weekly shop. The only things which mattered, would be calories, fat percentage and the amount of guilt they would feel from consuming the product, but in the present day, when no one is escaping the wrath of the country’s recession, money has began to triumph all other issues.
Sufferers have another barrier to beat, a one which will relentlessly battle it out with those voices in your head.No matter what your state of mind or relationship with food, what you can afford will ultimately prevail over everything else. Hours can be spent trawling through the aisles, manically counting calories and painfully pouring over food packets, but if your budget doesn’t allow for those low calorie, 0 per cent fat, organic rye crackers, then it simply doesn’t and there’s not great deal you can do about it.
The financial climate has become such a huge counter part in our daily lives that it has even become a tool used in the recovery of Anorexia and Bulimia. Speaking to a dietician recently I was told, quite light-heartedly “When food shopping, a lot of people in recovery have found it helpful to look at the bargain bins and offers, rather than at the masses of products in the aisles.” Initially I was shocked and unconvinced by this, certainly not thinking that such a basic factor in everyday life, as money, could overcome those screaming voices of guilt, failure and self hatred which arise all too easily when faced with such a thing as the supermarket.
I was aware, of course, that money does have an impact, but I had never quite been able to counteract those voices and not being much of a budgeter, I had always focused on the product, rather than the price. However on a recent food shop, with my bank balance looking more miserable than I had ever seen it, I found myself gravitating towards the ‘savers’ brand, frantically checking and re-counting the total price instead of calories.
The hard fact is, eating disorders cost money. Generally speaking, they make a huge indent in the budgets of both the care system and the sufferer, leaving society and the many individuals with one more reason that they must be overcome. When financial times are hard, sufferers are left with a choice. Let anorexia take another part of their life from them, or use it to their advantage, and see the silver lining, an aid on the way to recovery.