Saying that “I like to eat” would be a huge understatement. I love food! If there was a way to get paid for eating all day and every day, I would be one of the richest people in the world. Like most people though, I tend to find myself eating when I have nothing better to do. This is known as “boredom eating.” It’s a form of emotional eating in which we aren’t being fulfilled or satisfied by what we are doing, so we fill the void with food. Have you ever been watching a TV show that you’re only half interested in and found yourself reaching for a bag of chips? You’ve experienced boredom eating.
Boredom eating wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t lead to unwanted pounds. When we boredom eat, we tend to eat the unhealthy snacks and that adds up when it comes to your weight. How can we stop overeating this way? The solution is simple: Relieve your boredom. Of course, this is easier said than done. Here are a few activities that can help get you away from boredom snacking.
Occupy your Hands
One of the easiest ways to avoid boredom eating is to put your hands to work. If you have something else to focus on, then you won’t be itching to grab the nearby bag of chips. I’ve found that some of the best activities for me include little sewing projects, coloring or doodling, playing with putty, or doing hand games like rubik’s cubes. These are great because you can continue watching TV or talking to people while still relieving boredom. When you have something in your hands then you can’t fill them with unhealthy treats. Remember that not everyone has the same interests, so don’t stick to my list of hand occupations – do something that you enjoy!
Do the Little Projects
You know, I really would love to clean my oven sometime but I never seem to get it done. Why not do this instead of boredom eating?! We all have little projects that we would like to do but they are so far down our list of priorities that they never get done. I don’t know about you, but I tend to grab something to snack on when I’m waiting for someone. If it’s waiting for my family to get off work or waiting for a friend to call, I get antsy and start searching cupboards.
These are the perfect moments to clean the oven or dust the furniture or whatever. You can accomplish so many things in the 5-10 minutes that you usually check the fridge a bunch of times (oh, there’s still food in there!). Added bonus: cleaning things can make your house feel more inviting and it can even burn a few extra calories.
Do Something Out of the Ordinary
When I was little, I would complain about “being bored” and my dad would always say “There’s no such thing as boredom, just boring people.” If you are a boredom eater, chances are that you aren’t satisfied with your life at that moment. Try something new! If you find meaning in your life again, then you won’t have time to be bored. My freshman year of college I watched a lot of TV and consequently ate a lot of junk food. I didn’t have purpose in my life and so I just kinda sat around and let television suck away the hours. The next year, I decided that that needed to change. When I got more involved in campus clubs and activities, then I didn’t have time to be bored! Try new things, find what you love, and you can overcome any boring situation. Do things that make you a more interesting person and then you won’t have dull moments! Some things that I think are cool in this category:
• pogo sticking
• learning an instrument
• going for hikes
• throwing neighborhood parties
There isn’t a cut and dry solution to boredom eating, so find what works for you. There are so many interesting activities in the world, so why not learn about them? Why not master a new skill? Get away from the pantry, get out of the kitchen, and find a way to entertain yourself. You’re body and mind will thank you for the new experiences, trust me.
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