Sometimes our biggest obstacle is ourselves, standing in the way of our own successes and goals. When we are trying to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, our own old habits and tendencies can present the biggest challenges. We often fall into old routines and habits when things get hectic and busy and, sometimes, even when things slow down. In fact, boredom eating can be a slippery slope. It feels harmless and we tell ourselves it won’t do any damage. However, if we get into the habit of eating when we’re bored, it can be hard to break. We’ve put together a helpful list of some things that you can turn to when you start reaching for that unnecessary snack out of boredom!
Here are eight easy tips to stop eating when you’re bored:
1. Take a walk.
One surefire way to keep yourself out of the kitchen? Get out of the house! Going for a leisurely walk has so many benefits. It can clear your mind while providing a much-needed breath of fresh air. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Studies from around the world agree that a little walking can go a long way toward keeping you healthy.” In a Harvard study conducted with nearly 40,000 women, results showed that walking for just one hour every week decreased the risk of heart attack by 50%! So rather than reaching for some extra calories, grab some headphones or simply lace up some shoes and go for a stroll around the block.
2. Drink water.
Sometimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re just dehydrated! Instead of reaching for extra caloric snacks throughout the day, save yourself some of those numbers by reaching for water instead. According to Medical News Today, drinking water lubricates our joints, carries oxygen throughout the body, regulates our digestive system and may even improve weight loss. So, grab that water bottle and drink up!
Having trouble getting in your H2O? Add some flavor to your water with these 14 infused water recipes! >
3. Make some tea.
Daily tea time is a great way to boost your hydration. According to Healthline, it can “satisfy the need to do something,” keeping you occupied and distracted from cravings. It may also provide some health benefits. “Numerous studies have shown that a variety of teas may boost your immune system, fight off inflammation, and even ward off cancer and heart disease,” says Penn Medicine. This makes it a great activity to engage in and a healthy drink to consume when bored.
4. Make a phone call or FaceTime a friend.
When we reach for food out of boredom, it’s likely we just need an activity to consume our attention. Picking up your phone and making a call rather than mindlessly scrolling or rattling off texts can be just that activity! Psychology Today discusses the benefits of friendships and how older people without close friends have an increased risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes. Keep those relationships alive and pick up that phone!
5. Do some yoga, meditate or stretch.
You do not have to be a professional or practicing yogi to reap the benefits of any of these three practices. Aside from physical benefits, yoga and meditation are also extremely beneficial to a person’s mental well-being, as stated by the American Osteopathic Association. Rather than cluttering your insides with unnecessary calories, try clearing your mind instead!
6. Read a book.
Nothing assuages boredom quite like reading! It can take you to new places, transport you to new realities and create new worlds. Healthline credits reading with strengthening the brain, increasing empathy, decreasing stress and staving off cognitive decline. “Reading books benefits both your physical and mental health, and those benefits can last a lifetime,” says Healthline.
7. Organize or clean.
Again, when we eat out of boredom, the biggest solution is simply finding something to do. Rather than going on a shopping spree and spending money that you should probably be saving (or doing some other not-so-good activity that you’ll regret later), why not do something productive? Clean out your fridge, organize your pantry or go through your closet. Now is the time to finish up all of those household chores you’ve been putting off! Psychology Today credits organization with having a positive physical and mental impact! Plus, you will feel so much better once you’ve tidied up all of those things you’ve been promising yourself.
8. Start a new hobby.
We see things on social media all the time that we save and catalog and tell ourselves we’ll do someday. So…why not today? Why not start that new hobby or try that new activity now? Hobbies, according to Psychology Today, help to provide structure and may even decrease stress. They force us to be present in the moment, requiring our attention and focus. Hobbies can distract us from that bored eating and improve our social connections all in one.
This list is certainly not comprehensive and there are many more things you can do instead of reaching for a snack that you don’t necessarily need. So, get yourself up and moving, nestled with a book or your newfound knitting or puzzling hobby. Engage your mind and body so that boredom eating doesn’t set you back!