Ask Best Health: How can I beat boredom eating?

Beat boredom eating by trying these easy distractions to keep you occupied and out of the kitchen cupboards

Ask Best Health: How can I beat boredom eating?

Source: Web exclusive, August 2011

Sometimes I eat to the point of feeling sick and bloated and gross. It’s usually when I am bored and have extra time on my hands, not because I am hungry. In my case it’s mainly psychological, and I usually feast on junk, of course. It leaves me feeling really depressed and out of control. Has anyone else experienced this? Any advice on how to stop doing it?

You’re not alone. Many of us tend to reach for food when we’re feeling bored, depressed or lonely. I like all of the ideas that have been shared so far by our readers, especially the tips for mindful eating and brushing your teeth instead of eating. I have a few more suggestions that you may like to try:

‘ Write in a journal

When boredom hits, start jotting down your thoughts and feelings. Not only will this distract you from reaching for “junk,” but it may also help clear your head and relieve some stress.

‘ Get active

Hit the gym, go for a run or take a power walk. Enjoy the fresh air to take your mind off eating and remove yourself from the temptations in the kitchen. Just think’you’re burning calories instead of consuming them!

‘ Call a girlfriend or your mom

It’s always comforting to have a good shoulder to lean on. Avoid snacking when you’re on the phone.

‘ Keep healthy snacks in the house

It may take a while for habits to change. If you’re still eating out of boredom, at least you’ll be nibbling on nutritious foods. Try a handful of dried cranberries with almonds, fresh fruit or fresh veggie sticks with a low-fat dip. The more you have to chew the food, the better because it will create a feeling of fullness.

‘ Paint your nails

This is my personal favourite! The smell of the nail polish immediately turns me off from eating. Plus, there’s no way you can eat anything for at least half an hour while your nails are drying. By that time, you just might be feeling better and not need to poke through the pantry after all.

Sue Mah, the Best Health Challenge Eat Well expert, is a dietitian and daughter of a chef, and has a passion for good, wholesome food. She has appeared in over 100 media impressions across Canada, and is owner of Nutrition Solutions in Toronto.

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