With everyone at home these days, boredom eating seems to be peaking. And there is nothing better than a chocolate chip cookie to solve that problem. How do you stop boredom eating?
In my quest to cure my own emotional eating habits, I have been trying to think of positive thoughts that I cannot resist. And to get there, I had to dig deep this week. If you are a boredom eater, you likely will, too.
Why Do We Eat Out of Boredom?
Boredom eating usually stems from one of three sources:
- Mindless Boredom Eating – Eating in front of the TV, while working on the computer, or talking on the phone. This is the type of eating in which you finish off a bag of potato chips and then wonder, “Did I really eat all of those? Surely the baby stole a few while me head was turned.”
- Habitual Boredom Eating – A drink before bed or a snack after work fit in this category. The amount doesn’t matter as much as the little feel-good you get for continuing this habit. And you look forward to it because you don’t have anything better to do with those 30 seconds. You know if you had something better to do, the habit wouldn’t stick but this is your next best option.
- Cravings while you are Bored – Chocolate chip cookies. If I’m bored and they are in the house, they are gone. Period.
Which brings me to the most important part of boredom eating – my favorite quote from the Mayo Clinic Conference on Nutrition and Wellness:
“If it’s in the house, it’s in the mouth”
Whether you are eating mindlessly, out of habit, or just have an insane craving and nothing better to do, if it is a weakness and easily available you will head straight for those cravings over and over again. If you can’t resist a food and don’t need it for nutrition purposes, just have it as a treat OUTSIDE the house. Don’t bring it home.
That’s key to preventing boredom eating. After all, when was the last time you ate way too much broccoli out of boredom? Or a whole onion in one sitting just because?
Once the temptations are out of the house, you will be more prepared to focus on the mindset that got you to boredom eating in the first place. That will ALMOST cure boredom eating from cravings. Those tempting foods just aren’t there to gorge on. And I bet your mind will go somewhere else quickly – unless you really do want to eat that onion.
How to Use Questions to Beat Mindless Boredom Eating
Mindless eating is inherently that, mindless. In order to prevent mindless eating caused by boredom, we must first become MINDFUL. That is a mindset.
Simply stopping yourself before grabbing that bag of chips and asking yourself “Why am I doing this?” is a great place to start. You won’t beat mindlessness without starting there. Becoming mindful during these key times will give you a starting place to change your internal conversations.
Good follow-up questions to ask if you struggle with ongoing mindless boredom eating include:
- Does consuming this food change my feeling of boredom?
- Does consuming this food make me feel better?
- How long does this pick-me-up last?
- How does boredom eating improve my life and health?
- What impact does boredom eating have on my life?
How to Use Questions to Beat Habitual Boredom Eating
If you eat out of boredom as a habit, you have a great place to start for healthier eating. Start by thinking through those habit times and ask yourself again, “Why am I doing this?”
It may help to look at yourself from the outside and be inquisitive, not judgmental about these habits. They are ingrained and likely subconscious. Beating yourself up about them will just trigger the self-defeating eating and we don’t need more of that.
Good questions to ask yourself for boredom eating as a habit would include:
- Am I setting myself up for failure?
- How can I set myself up for success?
- How did this boredom eating practice become a habit?
- Is this habit contributing to my happiness?
- Am I ready to change this habit?
How to use Questions to Beat Boredom Eating
Likely the answer to your first question will be, “I’m bored.” And we all know that food does not cure boredom. If it did, we would have a lot less food options in the world. A bite of celery and my boredom is gone for the day? Sign me up.
Food just gives us a quick feel-good second in the monotony of your day. We know logically that there are SO many better ways to do that. Food is just an easy go-to, especially when easily accessible.
How to Use Positive Thoughts to Beat Boredom Eating
For me, the easiest positive thoughts to change boredom eating have been simple really :
- I choose to eat MINDFULLY.
- Food fulfills me physically not mentally.
- Food will not cure my boredom, passion will.
It sounds simple but works for me.
For me, surprisingly INTERMITTENT FASTING has made a huge difference in my boredom snacking. When I started sitting writing blog posts on the computer for hours, boredom snacking snuck in and was becoming a BIG problem.
Fasting 3 days a week has been a huge win. I just know that I am not eating until dinner those days. I get myself a cup of coffee or cucumber-flavored water and get to work. Surprisingly, those are the easiest days for me from a snacking standpoint. I don’t negotiate with myself over snacks all day – I just don’t eat. That action has changed my boredom eating altogether.
Simple Solution: If you struggle with boredom eating, start by asking yourself: “Why am I doing this?” Try out some positive thoughts to replace the negative and see which works best for you. And set yourself up for success by not having tempting foods in the house.
For more Blog Posts on the Psychology of Weight loss, check out: https://doctormome.com/post/lets-talk-about-obesity/
For more tips on Mindful Eating, check out: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/8-steps-to-mindful-eating