Eating when you’re bored – rather than when you’re actually hungry – is a sure fire way to gain weight. But you probably already knew that. After all, it’s really easy to munch your way through rather more food than you planned if all you’re doing is staving off your boredom.
So, what can you do to cut out – or at least reduce – boredom eating?
Recognize your triggers
There will be certain things that cause you to become bored and then, in turn, cause you to eat to relieve the state of boredom.
It could be the time of day, it could be times when you’re alone. The reason doesn’t particularly matter, just the fact that more often than not it happens.
Whatever the trigger, make a note of it. Then decide whether you can avoid it happening altogether or whether you just need to take steps to reduce its importance in causing you to wolf down lots of (probably unhealthy) food.
Do a hunger check
Ask yourself whether or not you’re feeling hungry.
This may sound stupid but remember that we’re not dealing with a rational process here. Which means that since your boredom eating habit is irrational then there’s a good chance that it will react positively to other irrational methods.
If the answer is no, put yourself out of temptations way for a while. This will depend on where you are when your boredom hunger attack strikes. Maybe you need to go out for a brief walk. Maybe you need to do that revision or preparation work. Feel free to experiment to see what works best to take your mind off not really feeling hungry but eating anyway.
Get another hobby
Hobbies are great for taking our mind off other things.
Of course, the hobby should be one that doesn’t let your mind drift back to food too often.
An online game may not be the best idea, otherwise you run the risk of surrounding yourself with empty soft drink cans and pizza boxes as you change into someone who must be permanently glued to their computer screen.
But a more “normal” hobby would work fine and will help to keep you out of the fridge or that giant bag of potato chips or whatever else it is that you home in on for your binge boredom eating sessions.
Drink more water
Water is filling. Aim to drink at least a glass of water around 30 minutes before a meal as a matter of course. And slurp down another glass when you feel the boredom eating sneaking up on you.
Don’t be tempted to drink a diet soda. They’re more trouble than they’re worth and set off all sorts of reactions within our bodies that aren’t fully in synch with the “it’s good for you” theme of the adverts. If you really want to be scared by diet drinks, read on the side effects of Aspartame and the other delights that are commonly added to these drinks. But leave them at that stage – don’t let an artificially sweetened diet drink pass your lips! Ever!