Do You Have a Poverty Mindset?

Photo by Grant Porter on Unsplash

“Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction you have placed on yourself is cut loose….At its core is a feeling of deprivation, scarcity, and a feeling you can never get enough.”

-Geneen Roth

Whether it’s starving, bingeing, or somewhere in-between, a driving belief behind disordered eating behaviors often has to do with a fear that you need to make sure you get enough of something.

Maybe you’re afraid you won’t get enough love unless you restrict your calories or macros to get the “perfect” body that will make people want you and desire you.

Maybe you feel hungry for love in your family, friendships, or romantic relationship (or lack thereof), and food is the one thing that seems to fill that gnawing sense of love-hunger.

Maybe you grew up in a large family where you stuffed down your food as fast as possible at meals, in order to make sure that there were still seconds left for you.

Maybe you grew up in a family that had a hard time making ends meet, and you never knew exactly when your next meal would be, so when there was food, you tended to gorge on it.

Maybe your parents forced you to finish your plate when you weren’t hungry, because of “starving kids in other countries,” and now when you eat, you feel shame or guilt if you don’t eat all the food in front of you.

Or maybe you were in a family where no one talked about emotions and deep hurts, and you felt like you had to learn to cope and survive without someone to talk to.

Maybe you are someone who eats super “healthy” or “clean,” but if you eat something not on your list of “okay” foods to eat, then you go into an all-out binge. Either you are functioning from a place of scarcity (“I am not allowed to eat this food, but since I started, I might as well keep going, and I’ll do a reset or cleanse afterward”), or your body has been starving for enough calories, and it overrides your sense of self-control to gorge on what it needs: calories.

Last but not least, do you ever not allow yourself to have breaks while working, doing homework, taking care of your family, etc., except if it’s to eat or have snacks? Do you long for much-needed rest and recharge, but the only way you allow yourself to have that is through food?

Do any of these scenarios resonate with you?


Breaking free from deeply ingrained beliefs is a battle. Even just recognizing, and having the courage to explore what mindsets have been influencing you underneath the surface of your life is challenging enough.


How can you begin to win more victory in this area?


Sitting down and journaling your memories and feelings about times you’ve felt like you’ve had to make sure you got enough, is a great place to start.


I really recommend praying and asking God to show you your blindspots in this area, and to give you the strength to wade through the deep places in your soul that you may feel afraid to face.


Talking with a counselor or a close friend is another helpful way to process through your thoughts.


Don’t stop there!


Writing down those feelings is important, but you also need to replace them with the truth. One way you can do this is to write down the beliefs you have had regarding a poverty mindset, and then next to each thought, write out the real truth next to that statement.

I encourage you to pray and ask God what truth to put next to the lie, because he is the Word of Life, and he is Truth. Finally, ask him to help you renew your mind and your beliefs with the new truths that you write down.

Here’s an example of what this could look like:

Poverty Mindset:

realize that when I let myself eat a cookie at work parties, and then I binge on all the desserts, it’s because I feel like this is my last chance to ever eat these kinds of sweets again, since I am supposed to eat clean.


I don’t have to eat perfectly all the time. In fact, this mindset has been more damaging than good for me, because it just leads me to be constantly thinking about food. It is ok for me to have a cookie. I can have a cookie anytime I want, and because of that, I am also ok not eating cookies or desserts at a party if it won’t make me feel good, because I know I can have desserts anytime I choose. There is always another opportunity to have dessert, and I can even make my own baked goods at home, or get some from the store. God has given me a spirit of  self-control, so that food doesn’t rule my life. I am free to enjoy desserts, and I am also free to choose to abstain, since I know I can always enjoy a cookie another day.


If you get stuck on knowing what to write in your truth categories, and you are having trouble praying about it, it never hurts to ask a friend or counselor to help you. It’s great to allow yourself to rely on and learn from healthy community, and let them come alongside you to fight with you in your battles.

Changing ingrained beliefs is an ongoing process, and can take a lot of time. It’s easy to get discouraged, but don’t give up.




I pray that whoever is reading this who may be on a journey of taking back their freedom, their identity, and their sense of sanity, would experience incredible peace as they go down overgrown paths in their lives that they have tried to forget and ignore. Bring healing to the deepest places in their heart, mind and emotions. Be their guide and their comforter. Strengthen them with your joy, and show them the fullness of life they have in you. Show them your faithfulness, your trustworthiness, and your unfailing love. Show them how to fight and not give up hope. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.




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