Turning Scarcity Thinking into Abundant Thoughts

Scarcity it’s when we binge on a plate of cookies because we don’t think we will ever have them again?

It is eating past the point of satiation because we don’t want to see the food go to waste? ​​

Our Scarcity Mindset

The scarcity mindset, the feeling that there will not be enough, effects many in different contexts of their lives. During the Great Depression a majority of people did not have enough food, which made them develop a scarcity mindset.

For many of us now, we are fortunate in that we don’t have to worry about having enough food. But the diet industry wants us, to believe that in order to be thin we must deprive ourselves of food. This leads us to develop a self-inflicted scarcity mindset around food all over again.

For many this scarcity mindset grabs hold of us leading to unhealthy, or even disordered thinking around food. A famous study at the University of Minnesota put a group of men on a restricted calorie diet to understand how food restriction effects humans.

While on the restricted diet, the participants experienced obsessive thinking about food, and developed food hoarding behaviors.  Once the men were off their restricted diet, they ate more than was necessary to sustain their bodies months after the study was completed.

Similar, if not exact, thoughts and behaviors surface for those of us on restricted diets as well. When we go on calorie restricted diets, our bodies do not believe there is enough food to sustain us. Overeating after being hungry for a suspended period of time is instinctual.

Dieters are plagued by this instinct and think that it is a lack of willpower.

But this mentality will happen to most anyone because of our body’s main purpose. . .  to survive. These obsessive thoughts and behaviors are instinctual, protecting us against starvation.

It seems that the scarcity mindset can stay with us well after the starvation has past.

This mindset has plagued me as well.

It started when I developed Anorexia Nervosa in middle school.

My scarcity mindset was a result of my body believing I was in a famine. She wanted to get as much food as possible to keep me alive, so I started having obsessive thoughts and binging behaviors when I could not deal with the hunger any longer. Even after I gained weight and was deemed “healthy” by my doctor, I still had the scarcity mindset left over.

This was a pattern in my brain that I had been practicing for years.

We got really good at thinking this way.

But learning that I was in control of my thoughts and my scarcity mindset was the game changer for me and my body.

This could be life changing for you as well.

Having a scarcity mindset is a choice.

Knowing our thoughts are our choice, gives us our power back.

This mindset effects our thoughts and feelings and results in negative behaviors, like overeating. Many of us have this mentality, especially when we know we are going on a diet, because we believe we will NEVER have these “bad” foods again.

This is no way to live, it perpetuates this negative relationship with us and our bodies and feeds this scarcity mindset.

There is enough for everyone.

The good news is that the abundant mindset is scarcity’s opposite and is available to us now. The abundant mindset results in a peaceful mind that is giving and kind towards itself and towards others.

This abundant mindset is the key to a positive and peaceful relationship between you and your body, because you both deserve better.


I want to give you a few ideas to help you move towards an abundant mindset around food:

  1. Sit down at the table with a full plate of food, each time you take a bite, put down your fork, or spoon and really enjoy.
    1. Think about the food:
      1. How does it taste?
      2. How will it fuel your body for the next few hours?
  2. Think about how this food will make you feel after you are finished eating it.
  3. Practice eating only half of what is on your plate and put the rest of the food away.
  4. Practice putting it in the fridge, but know that you will be able to eat again, whenever you are hungry again.

Try these tips and tell me how it goes in the comments section!

Abundantly yours,

Megan P^2  

Keys, A., Brozek, J., Henshel, A., Mickelson, O., & Taylor, H.L. (1950). The biology of human starvation, (Vols. 1–2). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.


  1. Julie

    One of the hardest things for me is actually recognizing my body’s signals. I have never been very good at receiving messages from my body in terms of hunger, satiation, etc. I only knew that I wanted food (mind wanted it), or I was stuffed (physically uncomfortable). Taking time to really focus on my body (being mindful), and not reacting impulsively to an emotion, situation, time of day, or whatever else I have used to tell myself it is time to eat, or that I have had enough is still not natural to me, but is well worth it in the whole scheme of things!

Comments are closed.