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One of the hobbies most of us do when bored is eating. From time to time, boredom eating can be completely normal and nothing to worry about. But it becomes a problem when eating snacks in excess as it can be unhealthy and the habit can be difficult to break. 

Everybody is guilty of it although it is a natural thing to do. I hate to admit it, but I am guilty of it too. I will be sitting in my room doing nothing and all of a sudden, I use to search for food and just start eating. Why can food make us feel satisfied during hunger? It is not whatever type of food, but the food that we carve during such times. 

Let us find out why we eat during boredom, boredom eating disorders, and how to stop boredom eating. 

Why do we eat during boredom? 

boredom eating habit

Whenever we feel bored, we use to open the fridge to find out what we can eat. It is purely because we can’t find anything better. Maybe when your work has started to drag or your daily routine might have got dull, you find eating during boredom as a way to find some fulfillment.

Boredom eating is a form of emotional eating. When we are stressed or anxious, we would feel something that we do not actually want to feel. So at such times, food makes us feel good. Emotional eating is not bad and it is a very normal thing.  

Due to stress, happiness, or boredom, you think you are hungry which is actually different from true hunger, because when true hunger starts, any type of food will satisfy the hunger and you will stop once you have satisfied and you will not feel guilty afterward. 

But in emotional hunger, one does not have the willpower to stop, and instead, until they feel so guilty about themselves they will continue eating. The main problem with boredom eating is a lack of eating awareness where we use to eat without thinking. We don’t consider how much we eat, why we ate, and why we feel like eating. 

Most people can recall meals that were planned but they would fail to remember the snacks they ate while they were watching tv or working on the laptop. In regards to food, in order to develop and maintain good habits, good eating awareness is important. If you are serious about making better food choices and improving your health, but struggle to do it, then read on to find out how you can do them. 

How to stop boredom in eating? 

Notice when you’re eating due to boredom

eating when bored

The first thing to do to stop boredom in eating is to eating awareness. Realize that you are not actually hungry but only eating because you are bored. You are eating because you are idle and have nothing else to do. 

Notice when you are eating due to boredom and become familiar with the times or the situations you are more likely to experience boredom. Find out when you get bored. Is it often during the day or late at night? Is it during working, or watching the tv? Identify them. If you find out about them, you can prevent that from happening by doing something else. You could schedule some other work during that moment. 

Try more about finding alternatives to eating. It is important to expand your options and keep busy. 

Make a meal plan

If you plan your meals, it will help you to avoid emotional eating, bingeing, and making unhealthy dietary choices. If you plan your meals and snacks healthily, you can be healthy and fulfilled throughout the day, making you less likely to eat through boredom.

Eating nutrient-dense whole foods helps a person stay full and avoid eating unhealthy snacks when they feel bored. With a planned meal, You will know that you plan to eat a meal or snack in the next few hours which could hold you back from eating until then.

Eat throughout the day

You mostly would have a less regular meal schedule like thrice a day or twice a day. If you are in the habit of boredom eating, then is better to eat throughout the day by spreading the calorie intake through a regular meal and snack schedule as it may keep you full and less hungry. 

If you feel satisfied with your food choices, you might not feel like eating snacks when you are bored. The same meal schedule doesn’t work for everyone where Some people like to have three meals and a few snacks each day while others prefer to have more or less. 

Find a routine that works for you and stick with it. 

Do not restrict your favorite foods

fix a place to eat food

When you are bored, you tend to reach or crave certain foods. And in order to get rid of boredom eating you might feel like completely stopping eating those foods to remove the temptation.

But if you do that by depriving yourself of such foods, it might make you crave more in a short term. So do not eliminate the foods you crave, instead, try eating them regularly but in moderation. This might help reduce your urge to snack on those foods when you’re bored.

Brush your teeth or chew gum

After every meal, give your teeth a good brush. This will help to maintain healthy teeth and gums, also the peppermint taste that is left in your mouth is actually a suppressant of your appetite for other tastes. 

Brushing your teeth immediately after eating will help to take the desire to eat other foods in the hours after and will make you less likely to snack. 

Chewing gum has the same effect where the taste of it helps to suppress the appetite. If you need something to chew without adding to your waistline, try sugar-free mint gum. 

Find other ways to get rid of boredom

Make a list of all the activities you enjoy. It can be your hobbies, outlets, intellectual pursuits, and other activities. The next time you are feeling bored, decide which ones you want to try. 

For you to leave the boredom of eating behind, find other ways that help you re-center and satisfy yourself. You can go for a walk, do some stretches, or dance if you are interested. Give yourself some for yourself to read a book or watch your favorite show or work on fun projects. 

Do whatever you like, activities that give you happiness and pleasure to avoid reaching for food to get those endorphins. But if you still feel like wanting to eat even with those activities, there is nothing to worry about. 

Just remember the more you use an activity, it connects to your brain’s pleasure center. So be constant in doing the activity. 

Make sure to eat properly 

Many people struggle with excessive snacking. And all they do is blame it on boredom eating but in reality, it is really due to the fact that they have been too restrictive throughout the day and by the afternoon they’re actually really hungry.

Ensure that your main meals are large enough and full of nutrient-rich, whole foods. When you are full and satisfied with healthy foods, it is much easier to say no to a sneaky afternoon chocolate.

Keep a drink bottle with you

get a water bottle to get rid of boredom eating

If you really struggle with the behavior of hand-to-mouth, carrying a water bottle with you and sipping on it regularly will really help you. 

It can really help satisfy the need to snack on food and will also ensure you stay well hydrated and helps to keep you better in control of your appetite. This is effective because dehydration is one of the reasons that will make you more hungry and thirsty and more likely to eat or drink something high in energy even if you don’t need it.

Therefore drinking water can be a substitute for periodic snacking and also helps avoid drinking with high-calorie content.

Restock the refrigerator

Snacks and various types of foods would be available in the refrigerator and that is why when a person opens it, they might feel like eating them. But if it is going to be unhealthy foods, then it can be a problem. 

But if you restock the refrigerator in the kitchen and pantry with healthy food and snacks can make eating through boredom less harmful and less tempting. There are many healthy snacks that consist of veggies and highly nutritious foods. So keeping such foods can be a great benefit. 

Learn to be okay with being bored

get rid of boredom eating

We live a life with many schedules and busy routines. Also, we have a lot of things to do with the advancement of technology. But also, there are times when we get bored. But you need to learn to be okay with being bored. 

There is no necessity to do something every minute of every day. Every once in a while, you do not have to be doing something every minute of every day. Embrace being disconnected and have some time to relax and be able to do nothing but just enjoy the present. These moments can come to be valuable sometimes. 

Have a place to eat

Having a specific place to eat, is better than eating anywhere in the house. Eating in front of the TV or computer when bored will make you overeat or eat unhealthy foods. Sometimes you may eat while traveling or while walking, which causes overeating and makes unhealthy food choices.

It doesn’t mean that you need to have a table to sit at. Just find some dedicated space for eating where there are no screens or other distractions so that it can help a person become more aware of what they eat and when. This trick may also help them eat mindfully and can regulate appetite hormones.

Boredom eating disorder

Is boredom eating a disorder? 

It is sometimes called compulsive overeating. Many people who have eating disorder gain weight and have problems related to being obese. People with these eating disorders often also have depression, anxiety, or other emotional problems.

But it is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. Also, it is not something you can overcome with just willpower. There are many people who struggle with these complex, long-term conditions and need treatment to get better. 

When we are bored, we want stimulation. And Dopamine is that stimulation. On top of that, when we’re stressed or anxious, certain foods serve as a comfort, releasing those feel-good chemicals.

eating when bored

If you have gone through most of your life using food for comfort or as a mechanism to come out from stress, your brain may be conditioned to reach for food when hit with a stressor or anxious feeling.

Each time you are stressed, the more often you use the food, the stronger that neural pathway becomes, and then we start doing it automatically. When the stress trigger hits and boom, you would be halfway through a gallon of ice cream and you don’t even realize it. 

Being out of routine may have you feeling scattered and ungrounded. Food can serve as a temporary feeling of safety and calm during these times of uncertainty.

If you are going through excessive eating, then treatment can prevent health problems, help you feel better about yourself, and improve the quality of your life.

Final thoughts

When it comes to getting rid of boredom eating, the goal is not to eat when bored again. But it is to avoid using it as a solution to come out of boredom. It is a natural way to turn things and bring joy when we have less emotion like boredom. 

But if boredom eating is affecting your mental or physical health with side effects like weight gain and anxiety, you may be looking for a way to stop.

The main thing is to assess how you are eating when bored and to find a balance that allows you to feel good both mentally & physically.

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