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I Eat Because I am Bored.
We all know the drill. You’re sitting down in the living room watching a television program or surfing the web when your mind suddenly drifts to food. So, you get up from your chair and head off in the direction of the kitchen to meet the immediate need.
This is a very typical pattern for a lot of us. One of the most common excuses for being overweight is – I eat because I am bored. Initially, this excuse sounds plausible until you consider the myriad of activities you can engage in when bored.
- Go for a walk.
- Call, text or tweet a friend.
- Read a book.
- Clean something.
- Organize something.
- Research an upcoming vacation.
- Paint your nails.
- Wash the car.
- Paint or draw a picture.
- Give yourself a facial.
- Look through your closet for new wardrobe combinations.
Ok, you get the point. I just listed 10 activities that do not involve food in any way. The reason why people who have weight problems gravitate immediately to thoughts of food when they are bored is because they have trained themselves to look to food as the answer to their every whim.
This goes back to the entertainment vs. fuel dilemma. Basically, bored eaters look to food as their primary source of entertainment. Consequently, when they feel even the slightest twinge of dissatisfaction with an activity or when they allow their mind to wander, it immediately goes to food. Why, because food is seen only in terms of its entertainment value, rather than a necessary source of fuel for the body.
Solutions To Break The Bored-Eating Cycle And Move On To Lose Weight For Good.
Short Circuit The Immediate Eat Response
You have to initiate a weight loss mindset and a pattern of mindful eating. First, institute a pause and question time between the thought and the response. When the thought of food comes to mind, ask yourself a series of questions.
- Am I really hungry or just bored?
- When is the last time I ate?
- Am I experiencing any physical sensations of hunger (stomach growling, head ache)?
If your first answer is boredom, you need to predetermine some activities that you can engage in when you feel the temptation to eat; particularly those that keep you away from the kitchen.
It is also important to consider when you ate last. It is reasonable to feel some hunger if you have not eaten for 3 or more hours, especially when you are first weaning yourself from the bored-eat response.
If it has been several hours, then you can allow yourself to have a nutritious, measured snack. Remember, experiencing intense physical sensations of hunger is counterproductive for establishing a new positive mindset and healthy patterns with food.
Stop Looking To Food As A Source Of Entertainment
Yes, there are times when food is and should be a wonderful source of entertainment and community, but it should not be every time you put something in your mouth. Most likely, when you eat out of boredom, you gravitate immediately to junk foods or sweets because they appeal to the pleasure centers in the brain. In other words, you are looking for something to stimulate you.
Here is where it is extremely helpful to find some activity that distracts you and captivates your attention away from thoughts of food. Can you think of an activity that interests you? It takes a while to wean yourself from the emotional hunger response and it helps immensely to have something else to devote your energy to besides food.
If you devote yourself to this activity for a prolonged period of several weeks, every time you feel the boredom coming on, you will find that the emotional hunger response will become less and less intense as you slowly train your body.
Drink A Full Glass Of Water
Finally, keep a large glass on your kitchen counter. Anytime you feel bored, go into the kitchen, fill the glass with water and drink it all. Sometimes, you are experiencing a physiological need, but it is often thirst, rather than actual hunger.
Remember when you were little and you would look up at your mom and say , “I’m bored.” What would she say in response? My mother would always say, “You better go find something to do or I’ll give you something to keep you busy.” So, now we’re all adults, but it doesn’t mean we have learned that lesson.
Even if you go into the kitchen to eat an entire bag of chips, if you were really bored before, you’ll be just as bored when you return to your previous activity.
Now, it’s time to find something to keep you busy and stimulated without adding food to the equation.
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