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5/21/14 1:35 P

I have a huge problem with this, in relation to work. I'm not terribly fond of my job, but it does pay the bills while I am working on other things I would be interested in. So I find, I can do good while I am there, but as soon as I come home, its like all my stress and boredom just overwhelms me and I feel the urge to snack.
This week I've been trying to combat that by taking my frustation out in more healthy ways, like a super tiring exercise dvd. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.
I find I get super snacky when I'm bored or lonely. Those seem to be my two emotions that I struggle with the most.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
5/21/14 1:19 P

Get a hobby. Change habits. Hard to raid the fridge, if you are halfway through a 20 mile bike ride.

Fill up your day with stuff to do, and what will be left is 2-3 hours to accomplish your chores. I tended to finish those chores at 2-3 hours, and find myself with 3-4 hours till dinner/ TV time, so I would think about eating, then plan what I would do IF I was to cheat, then cheat. Sounds simplistic, but boredom is caused by a lack of imagination. Find something to do in that period of the day, where you have nothing. Most of us are so bored we eat to alleviate it, and then when asked why we don't go to the gym, we say " I'm too busy! "

Plan your day, like you plan your menu. You wake and go to work, and maybe get home at 4, but prime time is 8 p.m., so why not use those 4 hours. Finish up the chores in an hour or so, and go to gym, walk dog,take a class at the local college, take a bike ride, walk somewhere. If you have a DVR, you can even tape your shows, and have 5 hours to do chores/ hobbies/exercise. When you watch them later, you can FF through the commercials, and watch an hour show in 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, you got exercise/did a hobby, while cutting TV time down, and not eating an extra meal ( which also takes time ). Eventually, if you are taking classes, exercising. doing hobbies, maybe volunteering.. you are struggling to find time to do your chores. That extra time will come in handy to get things done, but there will be NO extra time to sit around thinking about food.

MARNIMALMSEY SparkPoints: (1,202)
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Posts: 6
5/21/14 1:06 P

I think something that gets very overlooked is how food can very much be an addiction for a lot of people. People can become addicted to carbs, for others it's habitual when bored, depressed, celebrating, or triggered. Addiction to eating when triggering thoughts happen is how a lot of people become over wight or develop eating disorders. This was the hardest for me personally. I think much like any addiction, whether its drug or alcohol, one has to get help for it. For me it was OA and it helped a lot. Just my two sense. I tend to think if someone has spend an entire lifetime eating habitually in a way that is bad for them, they probably need help physiologically. I think that's what upsets me (sometimes) about gastric bypass, you can force someone to eat less, but if the person has not sought help for compulsions and bad habitual eating patterns, they will probably gain it back or stay emotionally static.

KMS3333 SparkPoints: (30,487)
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Posts: 52
5/20/14 4:49 P

I also had the same problem. No matter how much I lost I would always fall back to old habits. This time around I have gotten an accountability partner and am using the Sparkpeople Coaching program. Then at night I log the rest of the day on Spark people so I know where I am at with food and exercise. Setting goals and creating a visualization board with those goals and accomplishments and placing them in plain sight where I can see them. My goal for this year is to get healthy enough to ski down a mountain with my teenage son. As another thing that helped was to take photos and actually see what I look like. Since January I am down 38 pounds and I have to remind myself with a before and after photo to see how far I have come in my journey. It is still a struggle but I am winning. You just need to keep working on you and remember you are worth it. emoticon Hope some of these help if not find what works for you. But never give up.

OPERAROCKSTAR SparkPoints: (8,450)
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5/20/14 4:38 P

I tend to eat toward the low end of my daily allowance, so that if I am actually hungry, I can allow myself a snack. Often, if I'm hungry and I have calories left, I'll play some Wii Bowling with my husband, to see if I just need distraction or if I'm actually hungry. Since Wii Bowling is up, off the couch and being active, if I am truly hungry, I at least burn some energy before I snack!

AV_MOM2 Posts: 53
5/20/14 4:03 P

I have this issue at work. I have learned that I can not bring in things that I can eat "more than one" of because I lack self control. So like keeping a drawer of granola bars, I will just eat them until they are all gone. So I now I just bring in what I need to eat for the day. Learning to meal plan helped huge with this. I am not perfect at it but it does help. At home I have learned that I eat mindlessly when I am bored or my kids are driving me nuts, so this weekend I threw out all the junk food at home as well. And I pack up the left overs as soon as everyone is done eating.

MZ_SEAMED Posts: 1
5/2/14 8:23 A

I have the same problem and I am so glad you had posted this question because I think the suggestions are going to be really helpful to me, too! One of my most difficult times of the day is bedtime - I have massive difficulty falling asleep and when I am laying there, very tired so my "willpower" (or more like my ability to think logically) is down to almost nothing it seems like the food in kitchen calls to me. And I can come up with such good excuses for getting something "maybe some carbs will help me fall asleep" (sometimes it does, or at least it seems to). I think the suggestion about tracking the food before I eat it is good. I do track my planned meals and snacks in advance during the day in order to help me plan and make adjustments as I go, instead of getting to suppertime and realizing I don't have enough calories left to eat what we cooked and having to eat a salad with no dressing while smelling something yummy that everyone else is eating. So this would just be applying a habit I already have to a different time/situation. I can do that!

Edited by: MZ_SEAMED at: 5/2/2014 (08:24)
4/30/14 8:35 A

I have started having a chewable probiotic with fiber tablet when I start searching for something when I am really not hungry. I really don't care for the coconut taste and the taste stays with me for quite some time--long enough for the desire to eat mindlessly to abate.

STDWYNWEN SparkPoints: (11,748)
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4/30/14 8:33 A


When it comes to boredom eating, like others have said, it all comes down to breaking the cycle.
You can always start by making a list. "Things to do when I'm bored."
clean something, play a game with the family (or solitary games like crossword/wordsearch), do something active like play music and dance around, give any pets some love, start a re-cycling area in your home. The list can be composed of things you need to do, you'd like to do or you've always wanted to do. There are a mountain of positive things to occupy your time other than eat. You just need to identify them ahead of time so you're not stuck.

A good example is, just yesterday, I was bored and instead of going to the kitchen I went to my list and picked "clean my bookshelves". Turned up the radio, took all the books off, dusted then reorganized. I took my time and didn't rush anything. It stopped me from eating and I got something done I'd been meaning to do.

I think things like this help with making a person feel good - like you've done something positive for yourself.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,195
4/30/14 6:56 A

You've gotten some good suggestions, they are all things that I've done, myself. When you find yourself playing those old, "children are starving in India (or Somalia or wherever)" tapes in your head.... it helps me to remember that my eating the last of whatever is on my plate (even though I'm already full), is not going to make a bit of difference to them. My being overfull and/or fat never helped a single starving child anywhere. I don't know why people even say that kind of stuff to kids anyway... it really makes no sense whatsoever.

If there's enough left on my plate, I'll pack it up to eat the next day at lunch. I've been known to take a couple tablespoons of this, that, and something else, for my lunch-- augmenting it with whatever nutrients (carbs/fat/protein) it needs, to make a meal. If there's less than a couple bites left, I'll just throw it away. Yes, Americans waste a lot of food. But I personally think that applies more to buying a load of stuff thinking we'll cook more at home-- and then being too lazy or uninspired to actually do it, and throwing all that food away because it goes bad. Or saving leftovers to eat later in the week, and then forgetting about them and they go bad. A little bit of that vegetable soup, left in my bowl.... I can throw it away with a clear conscience.

Or I might cover the plate, put it in the fridge, and finish it off for snack later.

LULUBELLE65 SparkPoints: (35,343)
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4/30/14 6:08 A

I save enough calories for the evening, so that I can always have a snack, and I track it before I eat it. If I have to type into Spark that I am about to eat two cups of ice cream, and the tracker says that I am over for the day, then 95% of the time I rethink what I am about to eat.

I always have some snacks in the house that I know will fill me up for a couple hundred calories-apple and peanut butter, babybel cheese and crackers, frozen bananas to make banana soft-serve.

When I am having meals, I put everything I am going to eat on one plate, so I can tell how much I am really eating, and then I tell myself that the kitchen is closed until whatever time I am planning to have my snack. If you make food that is single portion, it is harder to mindlessly eat it, so instead of having chicken cut up into some sort of stew, have whole breasts or thighs, that way you cannot pick at it, you either have to eat another piece (and track it) or not.

Finally, as others have said, find something else to do with your time. I like to read Spark articles when I am feeling unmotivated, as they remind me of my long-term goal. Making an inspiration board or starting a Pinterest page of cute clothes or fitness quotations may help you as well.

KOALA_BEAR SparkPoints: (18,475)
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4/30/14 1:08 A

Brush your teeth right after dinner or your last planned snack or dessert.

And that too is key. If you like to eat in the evening & are getting enough protein early & thruout the day, then allow some calories for that snack. Why fight your own proclivities?

When a craving hits you, try to figure out what's really going on. Take a nice bath and journal while your soaking and de-stressing. Listen to quiet music, light a scented candle and indulge yourself. You might find that food is what you are using to avoid something else. Accept that you need to get in touch with what's inside you - don't cover it up.

Afterward, if you still really want something, try eating drained green beans from a can with just seasoned vinegar on them. It's low calorie, has some fiber & is a veggie. If you are truly hungry, then any food will do. If it's a craving, then the slightly sweet vinegar may do the trick but more likely you'll find that a false hunger leads you to worse choices - like ice cream, cookies or candy.

For habits like TV watching, commit to doing 2 minutes of an exercise during every commercial break - stretches, jumping jacks, life weights, stationary bike, etc. emoticon Plan something you can have like 2 cups plain popcorn or a rice cake. Then brush your teeth & polish your nails so you can't eat anything else.

Good luck.

SLIMMERKIWI Posts: 26,156
4/29/14 8:37 P

Find something to do that will keep your mind occupied - hands, too! I found by getting onto SparkPeople and reading the articles on Nutrition and Motivation, I would often get past my normal meal time without even being aware. My mind was on other things.

Where it comes to your meals, put a realistic amount on your plate (and when you are preparing your meal in the first place), and don't over-load it. Then you won't be tempted to eat when you are full 'cause it won't be there.


MARTHA324 SparkPoints: (171,630)
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Posts: 5,138
4/29/14 3:38 P

One thing that helped me is to track how hungry I am when I think about eating - using a ) as not hungry at all and a 5 as stuffed, if I'm at 0-2 I'm reminded not to eat. When I finish eating what I think it a good portion I will wait for 15 - 20 minutes and then write down how full I am. I've learned that even though I might feel hungry after eating within 20 minutes I am full. Has helped me to scale back my portions and/or or not go back for seconds.

WALNUTT1961 SparkPoints: (139,647)
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Posts: 1,686
4/29/14 3:22 P

I am learning to knit to keep my hands busy or reading. I try to have healthy snacks in the house so when I do have that urge to eat something, it is something healthy. I will take a short walk, make hot tea, or see what needs to be done around the house. I like the idea of brushing your teeth after meals!

PJJJSAGE Posts: 104
4/29/14 3:14 P

Reading, any hobby you enjoy. After your last meal, brush your teeth. It reinforces the idea you're done eating, and everything tastes a little funky for a while anyway.

CAPTATHLETICA SparkPoints: (3,771)
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Posts: 266
4/29/14 1:31 P

I have lost a lot of weight and am keeping it off, but I still find myself grabbing something to eat when I'm not even hungry. Or I find myself continuing to finish my plate of food even if I feel full. I know this is out of habit from growing up. "You can't leave the table until you finish your plate. Finish your food, people are starving!" When I'm out with friends (which is rare) I can eat a small amount just to where I'm satisfied and then feel fine for the rest of the day/night. If I'm at home, I can eat 2 plate fulls, then a couple hours later I find myself making more food before bed. I have realized they're just cravings and not actual hunger because if I wait long enough, they do go away. It's like I know there is food in the kitchen and sometimes it's all I can think about and it won't get out of my head until I eat some of it. How can I keep myself from mindless eating?

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