T’is the hour for boredom eating… 8 o’clock at night (or 2pm in the afternoon, whatev’s).
There’s nothing on the TV. You’ve watched everything (EVERYthing) on Netflix. You don’t feel like reading an actual book (turning pages? Ugh. No). You’re bored of scrolling facebook and instagram.
In fact, you’re bored. Just bored.
Next thing you know… you’re in the pantry, scanning the shelves for something sweet or savoury to munch on.
Quick, easy, find it, pop it in your mouth and off you go. Somewhat happier.
Bored eating. It’s a thing. You do it, I do it, they do it. Lots of us do it.
Why do I eat out of boredom?
When we can’t find anything to do that gives us a sense of meaning, we feel bored.
Definition of bored: feeling weary and impatient because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity.
And we humans don’t like feeling bored. So in order to sop focusing on our bored feelings, we look for something to do to distract ourselves.
Food (bless its cotton socks), offers some excitement or stimulation to quickly and easily distract you from your bored self.
Or is it?
I’m guessing as you’re here now, reading this blog, you’re not a fan of your bored-eating habits, right?
Because, of course, eating for NON-hunger reasons is not helpful for your health.
You’re likely eating more energy than your body needs if you’re eating in the absence of hunger.
And bored eating (along with other forms of emotional eating) generally falls into the category of “eating in the absence of hunger”.
Have a good think about why YOU don’t want to eat out of boredom… because you’ll need this motivation to drive your change in habits.
What is the downside of eating out of boredom? What are the benefits of not eating out of boredom?
Convinced you need to stop doing it? Then check out the next section.
How do I stop eating out of boredom?
Basically you’re using food as a ‘fix’ for your boredom.
But you don’t want to use food as a fix for your boredom.
So the only possible option is to find other ways to deal with your boredom, right?
You need more tools in your emotional coping toolbox than just “eat some food.”
Fabulous psychologist, Julie Pelletier, shared with me some amazing tips for dealing with emotional eating. And I’m going to let you in on one of those now…
(FYI – The full lesson and journals and tips have been put together in an amazing Emotional Eating Mini-Course that’s included in my Zest programme when you sign up).
Anyway, Julie suggests creating a Bored List.
A Bored List, is a list of activities and things that you want or need to do, that you can refer to for inspiration when feeling bored.
Oftentimes we want to read an online article, or watch a new mini-series we heard about, or re-start a hobby like knitting or scrapbooking, or listen to a long podcast, but we’re usually busy and have deadlines and appointments and don’t quite get around to doing it.
And then in those moments when we’re actually bored – and looking for something to do – our fuzzed up brain can’t remember any of the things we wanted to do.
Having a list of ideas of things you’d like to do, is a great solution for those bored moments, rather than turning to food.
How do I create a ‘Bored List’ – 16 Ideas
The easiest method by far is to simply use the Memo function on your smartphone to create a document called a “Bored List”.
And because you probably have your phone with you most of the day, that makes it easy to note down ideas in your Bored List as they come up.
Otherwise, if you’re a paper gal or guy, grab a notebook and headline one of the pages with “Bored List.”
Then you could make a series of sub-headings such as the following to get you started on your ideas list, such as:
- Books to to read
- Podcasts to listen to
- TV shows to watch
- Hobbies to re-start
- Decluttering to do
- Activities with friends
- New skills to learn
How about adding a list of self-care suggestions too? Like these:
- Do a 5 minute meditation (download an app like Calm).
- Start a gratitude journal (download an app for this too, easy-peasy as it gives you a daily reminder).
- Paint your toenails
- Research a dream holiday destination
- Listen to music (create a faves playlist on Spotify)
- Run a bubble bath (does anyone actually do this?)
- Edit who you follow on social media (delete all those who make you feel bad about your body or eating food you enjoy, for starters)
- Go for a walk
- Go to bed (yes really, if you’re bored and it’s late at night, sleep might be the answer, right?)
The lists could go on and on. But I’ll leave it there for now.
The point is – create a list that YOU love. One with ideas that will inspire you when you’re feeling bored. Rather than you turning to the kitchen cupboard for entertainment.