Struggling with boredom eating? Here are our top tips for how to stop it and deal with situations differently.
Do you notice yourself eating out of boredom rather than true hunger?
While that’s nothing to be concerned about when it happens occasionally, it can become a bad habit and lead to overeating.
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These days, we are surrounded by delicious food 24/7, so no wonder we reach for that chocolate or bag of chips to feel better!
If you deal with straight-up binge eating, please seek out professional help.
Why do we eat when we’re bored?
Performing repetitive tasks, having to wait, or wanting time to pass more quickly, there are many situations in which we get bored and find it hard to experience.
But what does this have to do with eating?
When we’re in this state of boredom and want to eat, what we’re really doing is trying to feel excited again and have some kind of stimulation.
After all, our dopamine system evolved with the very purpose of making adaptive things like eating feel more rewarding so that we wouldn’t forget to do them and just vanish!
Let’s discover how to enjoy food without eating mindlessly.
How to stop eating when bored
1. Look for emotional triggers
Recognize how boredom feels and the dissatisfaction that comes when we can’t engage with ourselves or our environment.
You may find that you’re not bored but actually stressed, irritated, or nervous — either way, you’re dealing with discomfort.
2. Recognize eating is not the answer
Tense feelings need to be released somehow by getting some form of a dopamine rush.
Mindful eating is one way to stop boredom eating or other forms of emotional eating.
3. Engage with your environment
Good solutions would be to engage with your environment, connect with a friend, talk to someone or take a break and lie down if possible.
This will distract you from wanting to eat out of boredom and help you feel more fulfilled and accomplished!
4. Change old habits
Always reaching for that bag of chips in front of the TV or in the car?
If you’re certain that you’re not hungry and just want to eat out of habit, chew gun instead!
5. Evaluate your hunger
Pause before you start eating and ask yourself if you’re really hungry.
Check for cues such as a rumbling stomach, feeling dizzy, or even weak. If you fall into that category, great! If not, go back to step 1 and check for emotional triggers.
Chart your hunger on a scale from 1 to 10 and check in with yourself every 2-3 hours. This helps you recognize low blood sugar or feeling hungry before you’re completely famished!
When hunger is starting to get above 6 or 7, then eat something – preferably filling, fibrous foods like fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, or whole grains.
They are rich in nutrients and water, which will keep you satisfied and energetic for a long time.
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6. Have healthy food on hand
When you’re out and about, pack some snacks, so you aren’t tempted by vending machines.
Also, put the snacks out of your sight; even having to get up and leaving the room will decrease the likelihood of you snacking.
Ask yourself whether you are procrastinating, maybe even out of fear you won’t be successful, and use food as a way to distract yourself and be busy.
7. Keep a food diary
The best way to evaluate your behavior and patterns is by keeping a food diary and writing down everything you eat: portions, time, and situation.
This can be a great tool in helping to review your actions, to see if you’re eating because you’re stressed, or as a coping mechanism.
8. Make sure you eat enough
A good way of evaluating how much you eat is by using tools like cronometer (affiliate link) and checking to see if you’ve hit at least 1800-2400 calories (depending on your weight, height, gender, and activity).
If you’re not getting enough food throughout the day, you feel the constant need to snack!
9. Drink enough water
It’s easy to confuse hunger with thirst, so get this possibility out of the way by drinking around 2 liters of water daily.
This also helps with the hand-to-mouth action! Carry a water bottle with you through the day and sip on it regularly.
10. Slow down when eating
Slowing down while eating gives your brain the time to tell your body that you’ve had enough food — this may take around 20 minutes. Plus, if you savor your food, you feel a lot more satisfied!
Especially during stressful times, we sometimes forget to eat regularly and start skipping meals.
This can be a huge downfall because it leads us right down the road of cravings and wanting to stuff our faces with high-calorie food later in the day, making it almost impossible to resist.
11. Plan your meals
Eating regularly is much easier if you plan your meals and snacks ahead of time! Better yet, if you get into meal prep, you always have healthy and delicious food on hand.
This helps you to be more structured around food and find out what kind of eating type you are — do you prefer more and smaller meals throughout the day, or do you want to eat until full during three large meals?
Check out our resources below for more tips.
12. Stay occupied
Look into why you’re bored in the first place. Find an activity or hobby that occupies your mind and your hands!
This will get rid of boredom and give you something else to do, meaning you cannot eat.
Common activities include playing an instrument, drawing, painting, typing, or cross-stitching.
Start doing some research on the topics that are really interesting to you and practice it regularly. This will get you into a certain flow, like you’re losing track of the world and time by fully emerging yourself into something you love!
13. Take a walk
For a quick and fun activity, get out and walk through nature! It releases endorphins (the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals) and will distract you very quickly.
Plus, it’s much better for your health compared to eating just because you’re bored!
14. Brush your teeth
Our final tip is a quick and easy one: brush your teeth with toothpaste. Not only will this help with dental hygiene, but you also won’t feel much of an appetite thanks to the minty taste left in your mouth.
Have you been struggling with boredom eating and found our tips helpful? Let us know in the comments below and Pin this article here!