Both boredom eating and stress eating are extremely common for many people. If you catch yourself eating out of boredom, don’t get upset. You’re not alone! Although it might seem like a difficult problem to tackle, there are some tips and tricks as to how to stop boredom eating.
Whenever we feel like there’s nothing else to do, a lot of us resort to eating just to pass time. According to research, millennials are considered “emotional snackers”, which means that we tend to eat when we’re sad or emotional or simply bored.
However, eating when we have nothing else to do might not only negatively influence your weight, but also your overall health. It can lead to diabetes, obesity, heart problems and other serious complications.
Here is what happens to your body when you know how to stop boredom eating:
- Your blood sugar stabilizes. You might not know that your blood sugar is also responsible for how you feel – stabilizing your blood sugar levels improves your general mood, makes you more energized, improves your heart health, has a positive effect on your brain function, reduces fatigue.
- You don’t feel as bloated.
- Your calorie intake is decreased. If you avoid snacking out of boredom, your overall calorie intake goes down, which in turn contributes to weight loss.
- You gain better control of your body and, in turn, your health.
- You don’t experience sugar crashing. After snacking out of boredom (especially on unhealthy snacks) your body rapidly produces insulin, which causes blood glucose to decrease and as a result – you experience a sudden decrease in your energy levels aka a sugar crash.
- Your taste buds will improve. When you quit snacking out of boredom, you will start to notice that the meals that you eat have a better taste. When our taste buds aren’t constantly oversaturated with food, we’re able to enjoy and appreciate our regular meals significantly more.
Here’s our best tips on how to stop boredom eating:
1. Plan your meals
One of the main ways how to stop boredom eating is planning your meals. Try to plan your meals in advance and try to avoid any food in between your planned meals. For example, you can plan your daily meals a week in advance, and plan every single meal of the day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
2. Drink more water
One of the most important rules here is staying constantly hydrated. Not only will it have a positive impact on your health, but it will also drastically decrease your urge to eat out of boredom. When we are hydrated, we don’t feel constantly hungry, so try to carry around a water bottle at all times and keep your water balance healthy.
3. Find a different “boredom activity”
A different approach to tackling this issue could simply be finding a different “boredom activity”, as opposed to eating. Try giving your hands something to do – something other than eating! When your hands are busy, you simply can’t snack because we can only use our hands for one thing at a time!
Consider buying a rubik’s cube, a fidget spinner, a tangle toy, a putty, a squishy toy, magnetic balls or a fidget spinner ring! Alternatively, you could try coloring books, painting, crosswords, crocheting, puzzles, hand lettering, etc.
4. Keep your snacks out of reach
The best strategy in this case is to, of course, stop buying any snacks at all. However, this can be challenging and, let’s face it, even miserable. Even if you can’t help but buy snacks, try to keep them out of your reach and out of your sight. For example, you could put them in the top cabinets of your kitchen, or you could hide them somewhere you couldn’t easily reach.
5. Learn to distinguish between “real” hunger and “boredom” hunger
Sometimes, we feel hunger when in reality we aren’t really hungry. Our body often sends us the wrong signals and it is crucial to be able to distinguish when you are actually hungry and when your body is just playing tricks on you. Thankfully, there is a way to check this. Next time you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water or a cup of tea. In most cases, your “hunger” will disappear.
6. Chew some gum!
If you still feel the need to eat something when you’re bored, you could always replace it with chewing gum! This option is less in calories, low in sugar and it will gradually decrease your appetite.
7. Don’t skip breakfast
You have probably heard it over and over again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And while it might not be entirely true, it is proven that people who enjoy a filling breakfast in the morning feel less urges to snack during the day.
8. Brush your teeth
Another easy hack as to how to stop boredom eating is brushing your teeth immediately after every one of your meals. The aftertaste of toothpaste will decrease your appetite and make the idea of having a snack significantly less appealing. In addition, you will feel more inclined not to eat after you’ve taken care of your teeth health. For a better effect, add some mouthwash to the mix!
9. Try to cook for yourself
In general, people tend to eat more when they have a lot of ready food around them. So in that case, try ditching store-bought food and restaurant takeout, and try cooking for yourself. If you have to cook a snack instead of having one readily available, chances are you’ll rethink if you needed that boredom snack in the first place 🙂
10. Opt for food that keeps you full longer
When you do eat, try focusing on foods that will digest longer and give you more energy. Such foods are usually rich in fiber or protein. For example, try to incorporate oatmeal, quinoa, eggs, nuts, avocado in your diet and you will stay feeling full for longer. Other foods you could use are leafy greens, yogurt, berries and lentils.
11. Keep a food diary
When you are trying to take control over your eating, it can be very helpful to keep a food diary. It can be a notebook or a planner, where you track all the food you have eaten during the day and all the calories that you have consumed. You could also use this food diary to plan your future meals, which will help you in maintaining a healthy weight.
12. Have a drink instead
More often than not, feeling hungry can be deceiving. Oftentimes your “hunger” can be satisfied with a glass of water instead. Next time you feel hungry, try having a glass of water and chances are, you will not feel hungry immediately after. So whenever you get an urge for boredom eating, try drinking instead and opt for something low in calories and healthy – sparkling water, tea, infused water, etc.
13. Get a hobby!
Overeating for no reason or out of boredom can be just “stress-eating” in disguise. Sometimes, when we feel bored we also feel upset, which leads us to eating uncontrollably. In order to improve your overall mood, which will lead to ditching stress-eating, it can be very helpful to get a hobby!
Now is the time to try out things you’ve always wanted to dig into – painting, singing, dancing, decorating, cooking, writing, reading, etc. A hobby will not only make you a happier person, but it will also give you less time for stress eating.
14. Eat slower and try to savor your food
Another lesser known hack about eating less is enjoying your food. If you’re eating in front of the TV, you’re less likely to enjoy the food that you’re consuming and you’re more likely to eat it too fast and eat too much. Instead, try setting up an “eating routine”. Eat at a dining table, with no distractions, and try to savor your food as much as possible.
If you eat too fast, chances are you will still be hungry after you finish because it takes about 15 minutes for the human body to feel full. However, if you stretch it and eat as slowly as possible, you will quickly notice that you feel full before even finishing your meal.
15. Change your mindset
Instead of being upset about the new “restrictions” that you’re placing on yourself, try to be positive. Focus on how the newly established changes are the best possible choice for you and know that they will yield an amazing result. It is important to know how to stop boredom eating, but it is even more important to stay positive about it.