Eating really is fun, isn’t it? It is probably the most agreed upon expression of culture and community around the world. No matter where you go or what you celebrate, food is almost always the center peg around which everything else revolves.
It’s not surprising that we immediately gravitate to thoughts of food when we’re bored. After all, food is where the party is! But there’s a problem with running to food every time you have a lag in activity…food has calories and typically “fun” foods have even more calories. And unfortunately, our bodies just can’t process an overabundance of calories without turning them into fat storage.
So, it’s time to come up with a plan B for those times when our brain tries to tell us that food is the answer to our boredom. Here are some suggestions of things you can do instead of eating when boredom strikes.
Remove yourself from temptation and flee from the fridge. It’s time to get the blood pumping a little bit. Walking helps to clear your head and it stimulates your other senses as well. Plus, walking actually provides a fitness benefit, so you are essentially killing two birds with one stone.
Your mind drifts to food because you want stimulation, so you need to search elsewhere than the kitchen. Use your food cravings as a reminder to reach out to others. A good conversation can do wonders for redirecting your attention.
It’s funny how quickly our mind turns to food and how slowly it considers cleaning the kitchen floor ;)!
Consider that stack of old pictures, the pile of shoes in your closet or jumble of plastic containers in your kitchen cabinets. Taking the time to organize something bring order into your life in some small way.
Actually, an increased sense of order can also spill over into your own thinking. Some people turn to food because they can’t take the messiness or chaos of things around them. By taking control of some aspect of your life, even if it is only matching the proper lid to its corresponding container, you gain a sense of accomplishment that eating a bag of chips can’t supply.
Find something else to get excited about that doesn’t involve food. Start researching for an upcoming vacation. Look for hotel deals, attraction discounts and tourist reviews.
Painting your own nails takes time and concentration. Not only that, but you can save a good bit of money by doing them yourself. You can use the money you save to go on that vacation you’re planning!
The internet are full of natural concoctions for various facial scrubs, moisturizers and masks. Instead of going to the kitchen for a snack, round up some food options and do a DIY facial.
For women, clothes are one of the few things that can run a close second to food and may even inch it out from time to time. Look through your closet for new wardrobe combinations. Mix and match different separates that you have never tried before. You can also look at your favorite blogs or Pinterest boards for inspiration. Find inspiration outfits and then try to copy them with items you already own.
All of these are great ways to get your mind off food, but first you have to short circuit the immediate eat response. The time to come up with alternative activities to eating is BEFORE you put any food in your mouth. Snacking is often an unconscious activity. You grab a bag of chips and before you know it half the bag is gone and you can’t hardly remember it going in.
The good news is this…once you have trained yourself to recognize your tendency to eat when you’re bored, you can actually develop a habit of listening to your stomach for cues of when to eat.
(This post first published in October, 2015)