Boredom and Stress Eating
Have you ever gotten home from a long day at work and found yourself down a whole bag of chips or a sleeve of cookies? Maybe after your long day with the kids you sit down and relax with a little mindless binge on Netflix and automatically turn into a bottomless pit that eats through the pantry like the Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar? Raise your hand, because we have all been there!
In general, if you’re not hungry, you’re emotionally eating! According to research, a high boredom task increases the desire to snack and it was proposed that increases in eating may be used as an attempt to distract from an experience, in this case being bored or stressed! We often see this while sitting in front of the TV or computer, when feeling stressed about an upcoming deadline, or simply needing a mental break from certain tasks like writing emails. What situations do you find yourself snacking more even though you aren’t hungry? Did you take the time to check in with yourself first?
Just because boredom or stress eating is common, it does NOT mean we have to keep doing it! Here are 5 strategies to help you overcome this habit:
- Fix your mindset
This is KEY! Instead of thinking thoughts associated with a negative emotion, try turning it positive. Instead of “this is boring” or “this is awful, I hate answering emails all day”, try asking yourself “how can I make this more enjoyable” or thinking, “Everyone has to do some tasks they don’t want to do in life, this is just one of those for me!” While this may seem small, changing negative emotions to positive just by mindset will make a world of difference!
- Closet clean-out
Out of sight, out of mind! Don’t allow your junk food to be so easily available. Choose to get rid of them, place them in high cabinets, or even the freezer!
- Change up your routine
Winding down with TV at the end of the day? Decide how many episodes you are going to watch and think about setting an alarm. Rather than snacking, bring a water or seltzer to keep your hand busy. Getting more bored? Move to a different, more stimulating task.
- Learn your hunger & fullness cues
Take the time to check in with yourself and evaluate if you are truly hungry or just bored! Don’t eat until you’re full and SLOW DOWN! It takes time for your brain to get the signal from your stomach that you’ve had enough.
- Practice mindful stress management
This is as easy as remembering “STOP”! Slow down, Take a breath, Observe how you are feeling/thinking and why, Proceed while considering multiple possibilities.
Stress and boredom eating can create a cycle of continued negative self-talk, thoughts, and feelings. Keep these 5 strategies in mind the next time you feel overwhelmed or sit down to unwind in front of the TV. If you are looking for more guidance to create a better mindset and healthy habits, schedule a time to speak with our nutrition coach to help you find the path to success!