If you're someone who eats when you're bored, you're not alone. On average, about 25% of Americans snack on food when they can't find something to do. When our brains lack stimulation, our dopamine levels drop. In order to bring those levels back up, we eat.
This can be frustrating, especially for those who are trying to watch their weight, have certain health implications, or are simply trying to eat healthier. There is good news - there are ways that you can prevent yourself from eating when you're bored. It just takes a little time and effort.
Read on to learn about some tips you can try for yourself.
Planning your meals can help you stay in control of your food choices and your appetite. It can also help you to understand how much you're actually eating and what types of food you're eating, allowing you to make more health-conscious decisions.
Planning out your meals isn't just about planning breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's also about planning out snacks throughout the day. You want to ensure that your snacks are healthy and well-timed. If you start to feel hungry or bored, check to see if it's time for your next snack. If it's not, try to keep your mind occupied by doing something else, like reading or watching TV.
If your goal is to stop boredom eating because you're trying to eat healthier, this may sound counterintuitive. But it's important, especially if you find you're more susceptible to food cravings.
Completely avoiding your favorite foods can often make you more tempted to eat them. Instead of eliminating them entirely, eat them in moderation by implementing them into one of your scheduled meals or snacks.
If you find yourself feeling bored, think of something you’d like to spend more time doing and do it.
Get yourself outside to avoid the temptation to go and grab something to eat. Not only will this help you stop boredom eating, but it will also get you exercising.
If you just need something to chew, sugar-free mint gum can do the trick. Chewing minty gum can also decrease your appetite for other snacks because of the taste it leaves in your mouth.
No one wants to drink orange juice after chewing minty gum (gross).
Drinking water can also help keep you satisfied and hydrated. Dehydration can often times make you more hungry or thirsty, so carrying a water bottle around with you can help reduce your snacking.
If you do sneak a snack because you're bored, don't worry. Changing your eating habits is a lot of hard work, and they won't change over night. Don't think of it as a failure, but rather as a learning experience. The important thing is to not give up on trying to break the habit of boredom eating. Keep pushing forward!