Eating more out of boredom? ...
“I'm bored with it all.” ― Winston Churchill
We are several months into lock-down and you may be starting to miss lots of the things that you usually do. Perhaps you miss going to the gym, seeing friends, going to the pub, dancing, even going to work... and as a result, you are BORED. Yet at home, with nothing other than the TV and your work to entertain you - you may be struggling for what to do with all of your time. So perhaps you have started turning to ... food or to alcohol for entertainment.
So many of my clients have reported to me that they are over-eating (and drinking more alcohol) right now due to boredom. They have now noticed that they are putting on weight and not feeling great because they seem to be turning to food to give them something to do. Other than having less to do, a few other reasons that that people are eating more out of boredom include:
- uncertainty: there is so much uncertainty right now and people are more focused on their short-term pleasure rather than their long-term goals, so we just want that biscuit for something to give us pleasure right now rather than thinking about our long-term health goals;
- convenience: our kitchens are just around the corner and we can just walk over to grab some food when we need a break from our laptops or screens;
-lack of accountability: a lot of people tend to over-eat when they are by themselves (or only around those that they feel really comfortable around) and with us all isolating alone or with close loved ones, we can be more likely to eat all throughout the day and at times we wouldn't usually eat.
So what can you do if you find that you are eating our of boredom?
1. Ask yourself what else you can do right now for entertainment. Yes there is less that we can do right now indoors but are there things that you can focus on during the day that will keep you engaged? Whether that is doing some yoga in the morning or reading more books... have a think about some things that you may look forward to doing.
2. Try and break some common associations. Often we associate watching TV with eating, or perhaps we associate taking a break from work with snacking. It can be helpful to try and break those associations by swapping food for something else. Initially this may be a healthier type of food, such as a piece of fruit, or it could be a cup of de-cafe tea or herbal tea. If you can switch up the associations you make with certain activities, this should help you to better manage your boredom-eating.
3. Instead of focusing on all of the things that you can't do right now, see this as a time for powerful personal reflection. So often we are so busy that we don't get the opportunity to stop and think about/reflect on our thoughts/feelings/behaviours. Can you use this time to self-reflect and to think about what type of life you want to build or aim towards after lock-down ends? What have you learnt about yourself during this time?
4. Start building some new subconscious patterns of behaviour. Often reaching for food in times of boredom is just a learnt behaviour or a habit. I have created a 12-week online programme to help you to stop binge-eating, over-eating and comfort-eating in times of boredom, stress and sadness. In this programme you can build new subconscious behaviours and habits around food. You can find out more information about the programme here: www.thefoodtherapyclinic.com/online-binge-eating-treatment.
If you have any questions on your boredom-eating or on your relationship with food, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Above all, please remember to be kind to yourself right now. Lots of people are dealing with these challenging times in the best way that they can and a lot of people are struggling with their relationship with food right now.
“Be kind to your body, gentle with your mind and patient with your heart. Stay true to your spirit, cherish your soul and never doubt yourself. You are still becoming, my love, and there is no one more deserving of the nurturing grace of your love.” ― Becca Lee