I’ve been talking to lots of clients lately about their body budget, a concept I learned from Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, one of the most cited researchers in the world. She writes:

“Your brain runs your body using something like a budget. A financial budget tracks money as it’s earned and spent. The budget for your body tracks resources like water, salt and glucose as you gain and lose them. Each action that spends resources, such as standing up, running, and learning, is like a withdrawal from your account. Actions that replenish your resources, such as eating and sleeping, are like deposits.

The scientific name for body budgeting is allostasis.”

Personally, when my body budget’s depleted, I’m more likely to snap at my kids and partner, feel irritable and only have access to either/or thinking. For others, a depleted body budget might look like feeling withdrawn, foggy, low energy and disconnected. What does it feel like when your body budget is low?

When your body budget’s replenished, you’re more likely to stay in what neuroscientist Dan Siegel calls the “window of tolerance.” This is where we do our best thinking and feel a sense of agency and choice. We’re also more likely to have the capacity to feed ourselves in a way that feels good physically and mentally.

Read the rest of my post on Yoga for Eating Disorders here for examples of what counts as deposits or withdrawals to your body budget!