Life is made of good days and bad days, exciting moments and episodes of boredom, and most, if not all, people go through these ups and downs. More often than not, when boredom hits, the tendency is to check the fridge or unhealthy snack shelf for something that could serve as a pastime, yet there are many things to do instead of eating.
Overcoming boredom eating is hard but not impossible. Consuming foods when your body doesn’t actually need them just because you are bored will have a word to say regarding your health and will impact even the way you look if you indulge in such habits for too long.
Being bored is not unusual or wrong. In today’s world and culture, being used to getting constant entertainment has become dominant, and we can easily fall prey to boredom if our sources of entertainment go off. Learning how to deal with these days and accept them without jumping to unhealthy solutions is, therefore, the thing to do.
We often resort to food when we need some fulfillment or fix. While eating due to boredom once in a while is not the end of the world, doing so regularly can have unwanted consequences. If you frequently find yourself eating as a result of boredom and want to overcome this habit, the following strategies and activities might be of interest.
Know your boredom cues
Before trying to solve the boredom eating issue, you will have to learn and identify your boredom cues. Once you’ve done so, it will be easier for you to pick one of the options highlighted below to overcome it and stay on track.
However, it might not always be that easy to tell true hunger cues from boredom eating ones. If that’s your case and you find it difficult to distinguish between these two types of cues, it is best to work with a professional. A dietitian or physician can help you with that, and you can thus learn more techniques and strategies to achieve your wellness, weight, and health goals.
Fill the fridge with healthy foods
When we get bored, we tend to crave foods rich in sugar and fats, and there is an explanation for that. Some theories say that we get bored when the dopamine levels drop, and hence the need for such foods.
However, having foods with high levels of sugar and fats frequently can lead to all sorts of unwanted health issues. That’s why it is best to pay attention to what gets into your fridge or snack shelves.
It is thus highly important to choose wisely and embrace a healthy diet. By doing so, even when it feels like eating out of boredom, you know that at least you will provide your body with essential nutrients instead of unhealthy sugary and fatty foods.
Plan your meals
Besides making healthy food choices when shopping so that you ensure that anything you want to grab out of your fridge when boredom strikes is healthy, planning your meals is also essential.
Dividing the food you are going to have into several meals and snacks per day and sticking to that plan will help you avoid eating when it’s not time to eat, but you feel like doing so due to boredom.
If you get hungry, but you’ve followed the eating plan, and it’s not the time for your meal or snack, and it’s the way boredom manifests, then you might want to try one of the things we will mention below. If you’re hungry, and it’s also time to eat according to your plan, then go ahead and enjoy it.
Set daily achievable goals or get a new hobby
Boredom is often associated with a state caused by nothing to do. Doing nothing at times is actually not wrong. Our body needs such moments to slow down and recharge, yet some people can do nothing without feeling bored, while other people get bored doing nothing.
Therefore, it is essential to learn to be OK with your moments of boredom and accept them as a natural part of being. It is highly important to remain still and calm when bored and accept that you can’t be fully entertained all the time.
Eating due to boredom is the way our body and mind call for fulfillment, but overcoming boredom with food every time it strikes, is not the way to go. Instead, you can plan achievable tasks or embrace new hobbies to get this sense of fulfillment and thus avoid boredom altogether.
One way to do so is to create a to-do list at the start of the day and try to do as many things as possible. You will thus cater to your various needs, learn something new, and get that sense of fulfillment.
However, we can’t engage in physical or mental activities 24 hours a day, so make sure you don’t exhaust yourself in an attempt to avoid boredom. Keep the to-do list reasonable and opt for light things that will keep you entertained without draining your energy and that you find interesting. Doing things just for the sake of doing them can actually get you bored after a while!
You can also have such a list ready for boredom moments and engage in one of the activities included. Plus, since boredom can happen not only at home, it is a good idea to choose activities that you can do anywhere.
Also, hobbies that involve the use of your hands will not only help you take your mind off eating but will also keep your hands busy. Watching TV, surfing the web, and even reading can leave one of your hands free, and you might thus feel more tempted to eat.
As long as performed properly, sports activities can benefit your body and mind in many ways. If you don’t have a condition that limits your movements, then you can also consider exercising whenever boredom hits you. It doesn’t have to be a full high-intensity interval training. A walk or short yoga session can also help.
The human body is built to be in motion, and being active only respects our nature. Jogging, walking, and even dancing and gardening will help you break the routine, which is often enough to overcome boredom.
Plus, if you choose to have a walk in the park, a change of scenery and nature’s beauty should also help you feel better about yourself, and it doesn’t even cost you a thing.
Stick a to-do list to your fridge
Even with so many options to feel better when boredom strikes, some of us might still feel tempted to visit the fridge. Take one step even further and stick that to-do list we were talking about to your fridge. It will thus remind you that there are other solutions than eating. It can even be a note to yourself to remind you of what overeating leads to.
Keep a bottle of water close instead
If you’ve learned to identify your boredom-eating cues and notice them conquering dominion, you can also try to have some water instead. Make sure you always have a bottle of water with you so that you can easily and rapidly resort to it when the need to snack on unhealthy food arises.
Moreover, you can thus ensure that you stay hydrated since dehydration triggers a series of unpleasant effects. When you’re dehydrated, you’ll feel more hungry and thirsty and thus more tempted to have foods and drinks that will provide you with energy fast. Unfortunately, the foods many of us go for in such cases aren’t the healthy ones.
Other things to consider
Being bored is not unusual. We all have moments of empty time when there is no outside entertainment and nothing to do. Take long trips or plane rides, for example. You might not have books or music available, so learning how to be comfortable with such moments is key.
If you get bored at work and that is not just a now-and-then issue but rather a constant state of mind, then considering a new job might be the right approach. In case boredom accompanies you both at home and work quite often, asking for professional help and counseling is best.
While all of us experience episodes of boredom, if you feel like they occur too often in your case, it is best to identify the causes and embrace the solutions starting from what led to the chronic sense of boredom in the first place.
Last but not least, experts also recommend getting enough sleep in order to function well, and this piece of advice applies to boredom issues as well. When you have a good night’s sleep, it is easier to find and focus on the interesting aspects of a certain activity or situation, even one that you think might be boring. The lack of sleep will interfere with your capacity to concentrate and engage fully in various activities.