Published on 01 Feb 2024

How to Stop Eating When You’re Bored

Boredom is a sneaky emotion. When you’re happy, sad, excited or anxious, you usually know why. But boredom just kind of shows up when your energy is low and there are no pressing demands on your attention. Bored eating is similar. You’re not feeling hungry, but you start eating because there’s nothing else you need or want to do.

If you find yourself eating out of boredom, you may be more prone to consuming excess calories, fats and sugars, as indicated by a study published in Frontiers of Psychology. The researchers discovered that boredom can lead to a preference for less healthy foods, which can hinder your weight loss journey.

According to a study published in Health Psychology, boredom emerged as the primary trigger for emotional eating. Participants reported a higher frequency of eating in response to boredom compared to other emotions. This finding highlights the significant role of boredom in influencing eating behaviors.

To avoid overeating when bored, here are some effective strategies to consider.

Ask Yourself: Are You Really Hungry?

When you feel the urge to eat outside of your regular meal or snack time, take a pause to reflect on the reason behind it. Are you genuinely hungry, indicated by a growling stomach or depleted energy from your last meal? Or is it simply a desire to occupy yourself or succumb to the temptation of readily available food you enjoy?

Stay mindful of your hunger cues and make conscious choices. If you determine that you really are hungry, choose a healthy snack. If you’re just bored, try one of these other tactics.

Have a Drink

Peppermint-Fennel Green Tea

Thirst and hunger can often be confused, but there are ways to differentiate between the two. If you experience a growling stomach or low energy levels, it could indicate a need for food or drink.

To determine if it’s hunger, try having a glass of water and waiting for 15 minutes. Mint tea, whether hot or iced, is a great option as it contains no calories. Moreover, its refreshing minty flavor can help satisfy cravings for something sweet. Give it a try!

Get Off Your Phone

person on smart phone

These days, many of us resort to social media for entertainment when we’re bored. However, our feeds often bombard us with mouthwatering images and stories of our friends’ delightful meals. It’s no surprise that such visuals can trigger unnecessary eating even when we’re not hungry.

To combat this, try logging off your social media and taking a brief 10-minute walk. This will help distract you and gradually reduce the urge to eat. If you find yourself bored and inclined to watch TV instead of scrolling through social media, steer clear of popular cooking and baking shows. These shows tend to intensify your desire to eat even when you’re not hungry.

Meal Prep

two separate meal prepped lunches in two containers

One of the most effective strategies for weight loss is to plan and prepare healthy meals in advance. When you’re feeling bored, start a list of your favorite dishes that align with your healthy eating plan. Choose one or two recipes, create a grocery list, and stock up on the necessary ingredients.

When you have extra time and energy, consider preparing multiple servings of a specific meal and freezing them for later enjoyment. If you’re seeking ideas and recipes for healthy Flex meals, explore the inspiring suggestions available on The Leaf. Discover a wide range of nutritious meal options to support your weight loss journey.


Dance rhythms for a better workout

Any kind of physical activity you enjoy can help you switch off boredom while you burn calories. One of the most surefire ways to get rid of the doldrums is to dance, according to a study from UCLA Health.

The researchers found that 98 percent of the study’s participants, which included people over the age of 70, reported improvements in their mood from dancing. The study focused on “free” dancing, but any style that suits you will work.

Listening to music and dancing cause your body to produce hormones that reduce your stress and help you feel happy and relaxed. Get family and friends to join you and spread the joy.

Call a Friend

happy woman on the phone

Boredom tends to set in when we’re alone. These days, many of us are working at home, chatting via text, attending virtual worship services, streaming movies and shopping online, so we’re spending more time alone than ever.

When you’re thinking about eating even though you’re not hungry, call a friend or family member to catch up. Even better, reach out to someone else you know who is often alone and lift up their day. That’s a win-win for both of you.

Eat Some Veggies

Fresh vegetables green salad, peppers, mushrooms and eggplant on the kitchen table

If you’re feeling bored and need something to chew on without derailing your weight loss progress, we have the perfect solution for you. Non-starchy vegetables like carrots, peppers, and cucumbers are not only incredibly nutritious, but also incredibly filling.

You can enjoy veggies in abundance without worrying about the calories. Slice them up and munch away to your heart’s content!

Try Something New

woman knitting

Stay busy and engaged with a new hobby that not only keeps your mind and hands occupied but also brings joy and fulfillment to your daily routine.

Knitting, with its intricate patterns and cozy creations, allows you to unleash your creativity while creating beautiful and functional pieces. Reading, on the other hand, immerses you in captivating stories and expands your knowledge across various genres.

And if you’re feeling particularly artistic, painting offers a wonderful outlet for self-expression, enabling you to bring your imagination to life on canvas. No matter what you choose, embrace the opportunity to explore new interests and indulge in meaningful activities that add vibrancy to your life.

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