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How to Beat Bored Eating

Christina is a Writer and Business Professional with multiple degrees and working and personal experience in the diet and health industry.

The Struggle of Dieting

Starting a new diet can be a daunting task. I do not like the term diet as much as I like "healthy lifestyle." Diets are like promises that always get broken. Only when you decide to change your life for the better, make plans, and stick with them will you actually accomplish your goals.

In the past, my attempts at dieting have failed for many reasons. I could not resist temptation. I am a stubborn person, and if anybody tells me I cannot do something, that thing becomes the object of my desire. Therefore, any diet that limits what type of food I am allowed to eat is automatically a failure before I even begin it.

Another reason my diets have failed is because of my lack of time to exercise. I have a full-time job and two young children who are involved in several activities. I have zero time to exercise. If you can't get up and move around, then you will see very little change in your body or on the scale. It is extremely demotivating.

The biggest issue for me, however, is eating when I am bored. For as long as I can remember, way back to my childhood years, I have conquered boredom with eating. When you are bored, you want a quick fix to the solution. Unfortunately, the quickest fix is usually the most unhealthy.

I can't even count how many times I grabbed a bag of potato chips and sat in front of the TV eating the entire bag just because I was bored. This eventually became a seriously unhealthy habit for me as I started to associate boredom, watching TV, and finding comfort with eating.

Healthy Diet and Exercise

There are so many different diet plans available. I am not a fan of any fad diets or get-thin-quick schemes. Your body needs certain nutrients to function, and many of the fad diets do not provide all of the nutrients that you need.

For the best outcome, talk to your doctor about a diet you are thinking about before starting it. If you are impatient like me and want to get started right away, I suggest downloading an app like Noom for help. Noom will give you a free trial which provides you with a course to follow and a coach. This information and help is fantastic if you are just getting started.

Once your trial is over, it can get pricey; however, you can still use the free portion of the app to track your daily food intake, weight, and exercise.

What I like about Noom is that it shows your daily calorie allowance and helps you track your calories. It also gives you three categories of food, green, yellow, and red. Noom will tell you how many calories in each category you should consume each day and track if you have gone over in each category. While Noom does not forbid any food, it teaches you which foods are more beneficial to eat and which are more dangerous.

Noom also teaches you how exercise and activity affect your daily calorie intake. For instance, if I want to eat something that will put me over my calories for the day, I can add 20 minutes of bike riding to make up for those extra calories! Pretty awesome!

I am not here to promote Noom; it is just a tool that I have found extremely useful and inspiring in my own dieting. I highly recommend the trial and then at least using the free version to track exercise, weight, and calories.

Boredom and Healthy Snacking

Whether you want to call it an instinct or a habit, eating is eating. When you are bored, eating can quickly turn into over-eating. So, what can we do that will help us get through that bored eating without overindulging? Well, first be sure to ask yourself if you truly are hungry! If so, plan ahead for these moments, and make sure you have a healthy option available.

Healthy snacks are a great option. I often get bored at work, and in order to stop myself from raiding the vending machines, I try to pack some healthy snacks to get me from breakfast to lunch or lunch to the end of the day. Snacks can come in a variety of healthy options depending on your likes and dislikes as well as what is convenient to take to your job. I use my Noom app often to help determine if a snack I want to bring to work is even worth it for me. I tend to opt for fruits, veggies, yogurt, or cheese sticks when planning my snacks.

*Helpful hint: Noom will plan for you to have a snack in between every meal and one after dinner so you can plan for something healthy and not feel bad about snacking. Having a healthy snack in between meals will help you feel full and avoid eating unhealthy foods.

Just Plain Boredom

As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to being bored, it is important to first ask yourself if you are really hungry or if you are just bored hungry.

Sometimes I will get bored hungry while I am at work and I will eat whatever healthy snack I brought in. If I don't stop and think about it then I just won't stop. Before I know it, all the food I brought for the day is gone, and it's not even 11 am yet! That is when I end up running out for fast food or raiding the vending machines.

Luckily, I have plenty of tips to try when you are bored hungry, but not really hungry!

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Trick Your Brain With Water

Water is a fantastic way to help your stomach feel more full and trick your brain to feel like you are eating. Also, water is extremely healthy for you!

I try to take tiny sips of water all day long. I have never been able to gulp or chug a drink without choking. However, some people have found that quickly drinking 8 ounces of water when they think they might be hungry is all it takes to satisfy that hunger.

Another helpful dieting tip is not to drink while you are eating. When you choose to not drink during a meal, you will end up taking smaller bites, chewing your food more times and feeling full much faster. I personally have a very hard time eating anything without drinking, but this really does work. Your own saliva from chewing is all you need to help get that food down your throat; you just have to stop, chew, and enjoy rather than inhale your food.

Also, drinking carbonated beverages such as soda can be extremely terrible for you, especially before or while eating. The carbonation expands your stomach, and it takes longer for you to feel full.

Occupy Your Hands

Typically, if my hands are idle, they will find some food. If I am doing an activity that causes me to sit still such as reading or watching TV, I will often feel as if I should also be snacking on some junk food. My favorite way to overcome this is to multi-task! If I need to catch up on my binge watching but don't want to add calories to my day, I try to make sure I have a craft that I can do while I watch. I love to wood burn, so I will often sketch while I watch TV. My mother likes to crochet while she watches TV. Pick something you love and multi-task it!

Another option is to stop what you are doing and write about how you feel, or write anything. It is pretty difficult to eat while you are writing. You could even start a journal talking about your feelings and what you will do to overcome your hunger this time. Before you know it, you will be writing an article just like this one!

Puzzles are another great choice! Sometimes when my children are watching something, and I want to spend time with them but whatever they are watching is boring to me, I will pull out a puzzle and start working on it. My kids will, of course, want to join in and help me, so that also stops them for bored snacking.

The office is a little bit more difficult because I can't exactly bust out a puzzle when I get bored at work. I just try to keep myself as busy as possible, if I have down time, I use it to write, I drink water, or I take a break and go for a short walk.

If all else fails, fold socks!

Fight Boredom With Exercise

As I mentioned, at work I will often get up and go for a walk when I am feeling tired or bored, or that snacking is essential. This works at home as well. Exercise burns those extra calories, is great for your body, and keeps you from eating. Unless, of course, you can eat a pizza while on the treadmill!

I have even found that when I have a good work out, I am more eager to eat only healthy food for the rest of the day. It also inspires me to continue getting exercise the following day.

Even a short walk can help. Sometimes if I am sitting around watching TV with my kids and my thoughts keep drifting to food, I will ask my children if they would like to walk to the park. They are always willing to go to the park. An hour or two later we come home, and I feel great because I was moving my body instead of sitting around eating.

Beat Bored Eating With Healthy Cooking

If you are that bored, why not meal plan?

When I am hungry and bored, I sometimes look online for healthy recipes I can plan on preparing. Let's face it, when you think you are hungry, anything looks good so you are willing to try something you might normally pass over.

Taking the time to plan and prepare a delicious and healthy meal or snack not only fights boredom and keeps you from snacking on something unhealthy, but it also teaches you about healthy food. I've learned more about preparing healthy food just from cooking different things myself. I often come up with my own recipes now just to see how delicious I can make something that is also healthy!

Make Love, Not Snacks!

I once had a weight loss counselor that would say, "Grab your mate, not your plate!" I was a teenager then, so it wasn't really good advice for me at the time; however, adults can definitely see the potential in this, right?

Burn calories, forget food, and fight boredom all while getting some sweet lovin'!

Hey, if your partner truly supports you, they should be happy to help!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Cristina Cakes


Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 30, 2019:

Great advice! Thanks for sharing these practical tips on wholesome eating practices. There should be some fun in occupying one's hands.

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