Eating out of boredom can be one of the easiest ways to eat more calories than you need. It's important to listen to your body and hunger signals. This post is all about how to stop eating when you are bored, and all things that have helped me.
Eating out of boredom is something that has happened to us all at some point and if you let it take over your life, then it can be easy to give in to it all the time and you will find yourself eating a less than balance diet. As a general rule, if you are eating a balanced diet and eating enough, your cravings for more food should not be out of control.
But sometimes, no matter how well we are eating, we still get that niggling feeling that we want even more food - this is when you need to work out if you are genuinely hungry again, or you are just bored. We can often find ourselves in a habit of eating for the sake of it.
Some days, our body needs more food and if it is actual hunger, then eat more - don't starve yourself. But if you find yourself sitting down on the sofa in front of the TV every night and eating a pack of biscuits, then that is a habit you have formed, and you could just be eating out of boredom.
How To Stop Eating When Bored
Here is a list of some of the things I do to stop myself from over eating and take my mind off it:
- Drink a large glass of water: Chances are, your food craving is actually not a food craving, but you are dehydrated. Have a glass of water and if you are still hungry in half an hour, then have something to eat. This is nothing wrong with eating if you are hungry.
- Do some exercise: this is my favourite way to take my mind off food cravings. Not only do I avoid over eating, but I get a mini workout in as well. You don’t have to do a full hour of cardio, just do a few squats, or run up the stairs a couple of times - anything to get your heart pumping and your mind somewhere else but the fridge.
- Take a look at your favourite website: We all know how it is, there are those websites that you “just check” and then 2 hours later, you wonder where your time has gone. One of my favourite websites to waste time on is Map Crunch. The website shows you random Google street views. I feel a little bit more well-travelled having seen as those different places.
- Go outside and get some fresh air: Not only will you get a little bit of exercise from the walk, but the change of scenery will take your mind off craving junk food.
- Read: Make time to read a chapter of your favourite book, or pick up a magazine.
- Watch an episode of your favourite TV show: Again, this is a sure-fire way of taking your mind off those cravings (unless you are watching Man vs Food, or a cooking show). A classic episode of Friends always helps me. Even better, do some exercise whilst watching the show. We have just started watching The Good Wife and we are obsessed with it. We are watching about 4 episodes a night at the moment.
- Play an instrument: If you are musical, then pick up your instrument and play it for a little while. Not only will it take your mind off that food craving, but it is good to be creative. I have just started teaching Dave to play guitar.
- Paint your nails or have a shave: Anything that makes you feel better about yourself will keep you on track and make you realise that you are stronger than a craving.
- Spend time looking at motivational pictures: There are loads of these kinds of motivational quote pictures on Pinterest (although there are lots of food photos there too). Maybe a picture of your family, who motivate you to stay healthy.
- Phone or email a friend: Just spending time talking to someone, whether about your health goals or not, will keep your mind occupied and you might even get some inspiration/encouragement from them.
If you are physically hungry, then eat. Physical hunger is a natural and healthy body signal telling you that you need food, and shouldn't be ignored. But, if you know it's just boredom, try doing something else instead first!
Do you have any tips on how to stop eating out of boredom? Leave a comment below.