Many of us have the same issue, we tend to eat when we are bored, mistaking that feeling for hunger. The problem with this is that a lot of the time the food we choose to eat is usually whatever is convenient and may be packed with sugar, fat and bad carbs. Before we know it we are absolutely stuffed to the brim and are absent-mindedly still grazing on food while we watch our favourite TV show episode (or season). If you are trying to stick to an eating plan like my HELP Guide, eating when bored can seriously derail your progress as you are consuming unnecessary calories that you don’t need. Here are my top tips on how to stop yourself eating when bored and not really hungry.
Watch Your Eating Patterns
If you feel like you could be eating too much when you're not even hungry, the first thing to do is figure out when and why you are eating. Is there a specific time of day where you usually indulge in a large packet of chips? If it usually happens around a certain time then you can figure out what causes you to eat that, other than actual hunger of course. If you find that it usually happens when you are bored or doing something like watching TV then you can recognise that is probably why you want to occupy yourself with a task like eating.
Identify Your Hunger Levels
Once you have figured out when and why you are eating, before you reach for that donut or fourth spoon of hummus ask yourself if you are really hungry. A lot of the time you're dehydrated and your mind mistakes that as a sign of hunger. Drink a glass of water if you are feeling “hungry” and see if that helps. If the answer is because I need to do something, it usually means you are just bored.
Find Something To Occupy You
This could mean calling up a girlfriend to catch up for a walk or just finding something else to occupy yourself with. I love working out and being outdoors so I would go play basketball or play with my puppies. Find anything that will keep you away from your pantry and requires you to be active. If you tend to snack on foods when watching TV find something to occupy your hands with such as giving yourself a manicure, doing homework or drawing.
Avoid Buying Junk Foods
If your weakness is peanut butter stuffed Oreos than avoid having them in your pantry. If there are certain foods you know you always snack on and can't seem to help yourself, the best thing to do is eliminate them from the process. Replace them with healthy snacks which you are less likely to go overboard on, and even if you do they won’t affect your progress as much.
Avoid Eating In Bedrooms
This is a great rule because it causes you to become aware of how much you are eating. Having snacks in bed or in front of the TV means you can easily go overboard and absent-mindedly eat more than you should. Reserve eating any meals for the dining table only. This will cause you to focus on your food and how much you are putting into your body. It can be hard to adjust to this rule at first, but you will slowly get used to it. Plus eating at the table is a great time to catch up with the family.
If you find yourself overeating at dinner or even eating two dinners, try to schedule in healthy snacks between meals. This keeps you from getting hungry to the point you feel starving and will also regulate your metabolism. If you don’t eat healthy snacks between meals you will feel hungrier and a lot of the time overeat with your main meals. It should also help to eliminate snacking when bored because your tummy shouldn't be rumbling.
I hope these tips have helped girls! Remember eating when bored has a lot to do with your mind, so instead of sitting there wishing you could eat that last Oreo go out and be proactive. Occupying your mind with something stimulating will get rid of the need to eat for no reason.