The weather outside is crappy, you have nothing planned and to say you are bored is kind of an understatement. You have plenty of healthy food in the house, you have a plan on what you are going to eat and you have been disciplined all weekend. So then why are you sitting on the couch eating off your plan while watching a Netflix movie in the middle of a Sunday afternoon? Because boredom is almost as hard to deal with as being too busy.
Do you ever have weekends or maybe evenings like that? You have a block of your day that isn’t planned out and you don’t know what to do with yourself so you lean into food? It’s not do to being hungry, doesn’t have to do with stress or even depression, you just lean into food because what else is there to do and the food might fill that void you have right now.
This definitely happens to me from time to time. I’m a relatively busy person who can sometimes get overwhelmed because I have a pretty full plate and I travel a lot as well. My down moments are you usually watching some TV while working on my computer. However, I have these weird moments that I just don’t know what to do with myself. I’m sitting there not wanting to work, not feeling like doing another workout and looking for something to keep me busy.
Nine times out of ten I reach for food in this moment. I usually lean into comfort foods and get some wicked cravings even though I’m really not physically hungry. My go to’s are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chips. These are for some reason my boredom foods and I couldn’t tell you why. I think when I was younger they were the easiest ones to find in the house.
This weekend it happened to me again. I had a few hours of unplanned time and I had no idea what to do. I didn’t feel like reading, it was rainy outside, I was a little burnout of doing work, and I had already worked out for the day. So I flipped through the TV and found a movie. Then commence the emotional triggers of being bored. It’s so amazing how our bodies and food cues are so attached to emotional triggers. After about 10 minutes in the movie I had to get up and make a PB sandwich. Then I was digging through the cupboards for comfort foods. Luckily I don’t have a lot of these foods in my house so it ended up being making some protein pancakes. During the whole movie I couldn’t get satisfied with food and just kept being overly consumed by it.
I know this happens for a lot of our clients. They eat out of boredom and emotional responses and that is so hard on the body. Taking in those extra mindless calories really add up over time. Going through this again this weekend made me think for a little bit about what I could do different to help prevent this. I personally haven’t tried these strategies yet but I think they would have changed how I felt a little bit.
- Called up a friend and got out of the house
- Being with people always helps reduce boredom. Now there are good influences on your heath and enablers, make sure you go spend time with those good influences.
- Picked a motivational movie that would have made me think hard about my choices. Like a documentary on food or the movie Free Solo.
- Have healthy food in the house so you don’t really have much of a bad choice to make
- This came in really handy for me this weekend
- Make sure you practice self-care during the week so you don’t feel exhausted and just “give” up
- Now this is something I struggled with this week, I didn’t do a good job and worked a ton extra
- Start to make plans for the obstacles I might see coming.
- I knew Sunday would be tough because my family isn’t close and I knew most people are busy. So I could have made plans to go into the city or go to Milwaukee to do something new.
- Did another workout
- Always could have just did another workout, usually these help get my mind right.
My main goal with this article was to bring some awareness to boredom. And how maybe we have it more often then we might like to admit. It’s ok to have it from time to time but make sure we don’t lean on food to make us not feel bored. Take some time to think about your week. How often do you think you were bored? Maybe just surfing on social media, vegging to TV or sitting at a kids sporting event with nothing else going on. Now think about how many times you ate something bad or mindlessly during these times. Imagine if you started to put a few things in place to help you conquer boredom and you could save on a bunch of calories each week, not to mention each year.