8 Dietitians’ Tips to Stop Eating When Bored!
Boredom eating is common in our modern, western world. So, if you find yourself eating when you’re bored, you’re not alone.
The occasional bout of boredom eating is unlikely to cause any significant issues.
But, if you’re finding yourself constantly peering in the fridge or reaching for the Oreos or junk food when you’ve nothing to do, you might need to teach yourself how to stop boredom eating.
Is boredom eating a disorder?
Boredom eating can become incredibly frustrating, especially when the scales show unintended weight gain. However, there are coping mechanisms for you to learn how to stop eating when bored. Mindful eating and understanding your triggers are just two methods.
We’ll go into this more a little later, but for now, being aware of when your midless eating seems to be getting out of your control is key.
Eating out of boredom can indicate a sign of disordered eating. If this sounds familiar, you should seek help and advice from a healthcare professional.
The National Eating Disorders Association is full of excellent resources.
What causes eating when bored?
Most of us have or will experience boredom eating at some point, but what makes us overeat when we’re bored?
Some research suggests that people eat when they are bored to break the monotony; they find themselves, as opposed to eating because they’re actually hungry.
Eating when you’re bored gives you something to do when your mind or body is unoccupied.
We’re all different, and everyone will overeat for different reasons. However, some studies suggest that boredom eating is one of the biggest triggers for overeating, contrary to popular belief that emotional eating is often the cause.
How do I stop eating when I’m bored?
Of course, negative food habits can take time to break. But there are ways to overcome this eating disorder. Dietitians will always prefer that you reach out to your doctor or dietitian if you have any concerns about your eating habits.
They can help you figure out how to stop boredom eating or develop better habits. Dietitians will also be instrumental when overeating is potentially part of a health condition.
But be gentle with yourself when making dietary changes about your food intake. Take things one day at a time to build a realistic habit. You want to avoid fad diets and dramatic trends.
8 Tips to stop eating when bored!
It’s entirely possible to stop eating when you’re bored; all you need is a little guidance and some ideas that can help you know how to stop eating when that feeling of boredom strikes.
Follow these eight tips to stop boredom eating for good.
1. Know your triggers
Knowing how to stop eating when bored lies in being self-aware. You need to know your triggers.
A psychological trigger affects your emotional state by distressing or overwhelming you. These triggers then lead to a specific thought pattern or changes in behavior. In this instance, that behavior would be overeating.
External factors such as food availability, food images, tiredness, and stress can trigger the urge to eat when bored, so identifying these triggers is vital.
Keeping a food journal can be handy to identify your boredom eating triggers.
2. Eat mindfully
Being mindful allows you to focus on the present moment, to be fully conscious and aware of what you’re doing.
Research has suggested that eating mindfully can help reduce boredom eating because it can help you differentiate between real hunger cravings and boredom eating.
This method lets you then be aware of your mental and physical state concerning food.
3. Eat regularly
When it comes to weight loss, people often skip meals. But think about it for a second; this technique is super ineffective for stopping boredom eating.
Skipping meals is notorious for leading to binge eating and weight gain.
Conflicting research suggests eating three balanced, nutritious meals per day, while others recommend eating smaller, more frequent meals.
Others also suggest never skipping breakfast. Try out the meal plan that works best for you; I’m sure one of them will stop you from eating when bored.
4. Axe the stress
In our ever stress-inducing western world, stress can be a significant factor in overeating, eating when bored, and obesity.
Hormone levels are raised to promote physical hunger when the body needs to replace lost energy, a common factor after a stressful event. Suffering from chronic stress can lead to unrelenting hunger and continually raiding kitchen cupboards.
If you want to know how to stop boredom eating, learn to reduce your stress. You can do this by;
- Relax with yoga or meditation
- Getting regular exercise (especially outdoors)
- Indulge in a hobby you’ve always wanted to try
- Limit your to-do list by only focussing on immediate priorities
- Don’t forget personal connections; stay connected with friends and family
5. Brush your teeth
Ok, this tip might sound trivial, but brushing your teeth or gargling with mouthwash when at risk of boredom eating can get you away from the kitchen.
When you brush your teeth, it also can send signals that let your brain know it’s time to stop eating.
Usually, we do this at the end of the day when you’re ready to go to bed, so it’s easy to see why this might help.
6. Get more sleep
Getting sufficient sleep is essential for the body and mind for so many reasons. You can’t stay healthy without adequate sleep.
Your brain and body need proper sleep for proper function and reduced risk of chronic illness.
But, also essential in maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep helps regulate the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin, which can help control appetite when bored.
Try to get a total of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
7. Eat lots of fiber and protein
Eating high protein and high fiber foods can have hunger-reducing capacities, allowing you to consume fewer calories per day and ditch that bag of chips you like so much.
For example, you can help yourself feel fuller for longer by eating both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps stop overeating.
You can also eat fewer calories by consuming more protein, as it has hunger-reducing properties. Protein increases the hormone’s fullness signals and decreases the hormones that stimulate appetite.
So, why not try a healthy snack such as oatmeal for breakfast or chickpea or chicken salad for lunch?
Also, don’t forget that drinking water will help in feeling fuller once you’ve done with your meal.
8. Uproot yourself
Changing your scenery can be all that’s needed to stop boredom eating. When you’re feeling bored, changing your view can be all you need to take your mind off food.
When boredom has you reaching for those unhealthy food choices, move to another room, visit a friend or family member, or go for a walk until the boredom eating risks have passed.