Mindless or Boredom Eating
By Erin Bradley-Petersen, CSW
Do you often find yourself “picking” or “grazing” throughout the day? Sometimes picking or grazing isn’t even a conscious decision. It usually happens when you’re attention is focused on another activity such as TV, reading, preparing a meal, talking on the phone, working on the computer. Mindless or boredom eating can cause weight gain. Not only can the calories add up quickly but more than likely the food choices are typically loaded with carbohydrates, sugar and/or a high fat content.
Tips on how to stop mindless or boredom eating:
- Become more conscious of when you are eating. This can be accomplished by using a food/mood journal.
- Plan and structured mealtimes. Eat three healthy meals per day which include protein. It’s important to remember to not to skip meals. Skipping meals will make you very hungry leading to a tendency to overeat at the next meal.
- Stay hydrated! Most people mistake hunger pangs for thirst pangs.
- Remove unhealthy snacks from your home, office or car. Have healthier snacks available such as vegetables, no sugar Greek yogurt, protein shakes, and cheese sticks.
- Avoid the temptation in the office. Avoid the common area which usually is full of carbohydrates and sweet treats.
- Don’t talk on the phone or watch TV in the kitchen.
- Take up a hobby to replace boredom eating. Start knitting, crocheting, reading, take a walk, write in a journal, listen to music, start a puzzle, complete a crossword puzzle, engage in relaxation strategies.
- Replace the urge to boredom eat with a hot cup of tea.
- Replace the urge to boredom eat with stationary movements such as arm raises, lunges, squats, jumping jacks, jogging in place. You can do this at home or in the office.
- Ask for help!