It’s not unusual to have a snack when there’s nothing to do, even if you’re not hungry. Eating out of boredom from time to time can be completely normal, and you have nothing to worry about. However, it can sometimes have health consequences, including weight gain. Here are 12 tips to stop overeating because of boredom.
Tips To Avoid Overeating
Here is how you can avoid overeating out of boredom.
1. Eat Regularly Throughout The Day
Try to distribute your calorie intake within your regular eating and snacking schedule. That can make you fuller and less hungry than consuming the same calories on a less regular meal schedule. It is clear that when you make the right meal choices, there will be fewer chances of grabbing snacks when you feel bored.
Besides, if you plan your next meal, it will be motivation to avoid eating until then. The same meal schedule may not work for everyone. Some people may prefer three meals a day, while others may prefer more or less. Finding and adhering to a routine that works for you seems to matter more than the exact number of meals and snacks you eat each day.
2. Know Your Triggers
External factors often trigger the urge to eat, especially when it comes to psychological types of hunger such as boredom. Identifying the triggers in your life that make you want to eat when you’re bored is the key to breaking the habit. Common triggers to be aware of are; stress, alcohol consumption, food availability, and food imaging.
Take notes in your food diary about what you are eating and drinking to know what triggers you to eat more than needed. People who consume alcohol excessively or are addicted to it usually eat more than others. That is because alcoholics’ minds switch to a starvation mode which increases their appetite.
Thus, alcoholics overeat when they have nothing else to do. When you identify the trigger, you must let go of it. For example, if alcohol is the problem, you must find professional help to quit it. There are several rehab centers available to cure alcohol and binge eating disorders, so seek help from them.
3. Choose Nutritious & Hearty Snacks
When you’ve just finished eating or having a snack, you’re less likely to associate boredom with the urge to eat. Some foods are more satisfying than others. Incredibly satisfying foods include:
- Proteins: Eggs, fish, meat, yogurt, and cottage cheese
- Fiber-rich foods: Oatmeal, quinoa, whole grains, legumes, and popcorn
- Foods with high water content: fruits, vegetables, and soups
4. Eat From A Plate
Sometimes it’s hard to control hunger from boredom. To avoid overeating or to let boredom get the better of your appetite at times like this, place your snacks on a plate rather than eating them straight out of a bag or container. Visual cues like the size of the dish you’re eating from can influence how much you eat.
5. Eat Mindfully
Eating consciously means being aware of your mental and physical state associated with food. This mindfulness is especially beneficial because it helps people cut back on their food intake in response to emotions like boredom.
Mindful eating helps distinguish between boredom and hunger. It emphasizes the need to pay close attention to your desires, as well as the signals of hunger and satiety.
6. Know Your Signs Of Hunger
Perceiving your specific signs of hunger and satiety can be one of the most effective ways to determine if you are hungry or bored. When the body is physically hungry and needs calories for energy, you may notice signs such as a rumbling stomach, headache, and feeling weak or tired. On the other hand, when you are hungry from boredom, you may be craving a particular food without any traditional signs of physical hunger.
7. Accept Your Boredom
Too much boredom can have detrimental health effects in certain situations, such as increasing depression and changing eating habits. However, a little boredom from time to time is expected. Moreover, boredom can have certain benefits. For example, it can encourage you to get creative.
8. Relax Yourself
Remember that sometimes you can have a snack out of boredom. When this happens, don’t take it as a defeat. Instead, use it as a learning experience and an opportunity to treat yourself with kindness and compassion. There is nothing to stress about it, so relax.
9. Avoid Eating In Front Of The Screen
Eating in front of the screen when you feel bored can make you overeat even when you’re not hungry. People tend to eat more when distracted or in front of a TV screen or computer monitor. Eliminate any associations you may have between food and screen time.
So eat at the table, not in front of the TV, and put your phone away during dinner. Consider replacing food while watching the screen with another activity, such as drawing or playing with a toy to keep your hands occupied while you watch TV.
10. Change Your Place
Sometimes all it takes to distract yourself from eating when you feel bored is a slight change of scenery. When you’re bored and struggling with the urge to eat, getting up and moving to a new place – even just from one room to another – can be enough to distract you from eating until the boredom ends.
11. Take A Walk
When you feel bored, going for a walk not only distracts from any urge to eat but also physically relieves you of temptation. Sometimes a 10–20 minute walk is all it takes to re-focus and forget about the craving for boredom. If you can’t go anywhere, you may find it helpful to spend a few minutes stretching or doing breathing exercises
12. Develop New Habits
One of the benefits of boredom is that it can encourage you to try new things. The next time you get bored, think about how you would really like to spend that time. Do you have a new hobby or an old book that you have wanted to read for a long time? It is the right time to grab that book.
By doing so, you will get distracted and can prevent overeating.
We mentioned some excellent yet practical tips that can really help if you overeat when bored. Following these tips can help you stay fit and also prevent overeating.