Many people find in food a way of entertainment, a company in loneliness, a distraction. In those times, it is highly probable that appetite is not the driving force for taking a bite, so even if we are conscious of it… why do we do it? (or keep on doing it…)
I have researched quite deeply on this topic before daring to write these lines. Basically, food triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, which is a chemical responsible for the feeling of satisfaction and motivation. Happiness, in other words. By stimulating our senses and eating, we do feel better at least for a short while. Distinguishing whether we are truly hungry during those moments can be tricky, though. The issue relies on the fact that we may overeat in those moments because we are driven by the feeling of boredom and not actual hunger or appetite. We eat in a kind of automatic pilot without paying attention to what we are chewing.
Eating out of boredom is neither a balanced nor healthy habit as it can lead to poor weight management and trigger emotionally negative sensations.
Are you finding it difficult to deal with boredom? I have some suggestions for you…
Go for a walk, a jog or a bike ride. Distract your mind by including an easy or chill activity, which at the same time will contribute to your overall health. Even going (ethically/sustainably) window-shopping is a good alternative, yet risky for your wallet.
Read or write something. These activities demand concentration and improve imagination, which in turns stimulates creativity, motivates and encourages relaxation.
Chase after an activity that you have been procrastinating. For instance, try cleaning your wardrobe, cooking for incoming days, tidy up every nook and cranny, plan holidays, make a list of places you would like to visit or things you would like to do, repair that forgotten stuff…
Watch a movie or documentary while drinking a warm infusion (it will make you feel full...) If possible, put the audio in a language you do not manage well so you are forced to read the subtitles. This action will drive your attention away from food.
Look at old pictures and (plan to) call those old friends who you have not seen or visit for a long time
Healthy snacking: If you can’t sidestep eating, try raw vegetables, like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, or any other. Chewing will calm your anxiety whilst fueling low energy dense food.
In conclusion, look for activities that keep you busy and make you forget about eating out of boredom. Managing and controlling your brain is the one task on the road of living in harmony and peace with ourselves.
*Picture from Pixabay.com