What To Do Instead of Eating When Bored

Need some ideas on how to stop eating out of boredom? Here are some other things you can do instead.

Boredom eating is a thing. It’s when you eat simply because you’re bored. It’s something a lot of us have an issue with. I won’t go into the details of why here but just wanted to share some quick solutions. With some of my own ideas on what to do instead of eating when bored.

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The recent lockdown situation hasn’t made things easy, has it? Thankfully, things are opening back up again. Like a lot of other people, I’m looking to change some of the habits that have come to the fore during the past year or so.

One of which is my eating habit. Particularly the part where I eat just for entertainment. Not because I’m hungry but because I’m bored. A lot of us are bored. What else is there to do? It’s fun to eat right?

Well the result is that not only have we gained weight we now need to lose, we’ve also compromised our wellbeing.

Bored person lying on a couch
Photo by Adrian Swancar

Personally, it’s feels like I’ve become distant from myself. The only way I can describe it is that I feel like I’m living mindlessly.

The good news is that there are things that can be done to change this habit. Which I share here. I try as much as I can to practice these suggestions.

I don’t always stick to it, but I’m putting it out there. Not only as a reminder but as a part of my accountability and growth process.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve entered a new phase in life. A phase where I start living this life to the fullest because there’s a lot of fun to be had.

It’s time to take back control and start making the required changes. In all the areas necessary to live a happier, healthier and more meaningful life.

Here are some ideas on how to stop boredom eating.

What to do instead of eating when bored.

1. Catch up with a friend

A phone or video call to a friend is always a good way to break a boredom fest. Scheduling a time for a call or catch up is a way to give yourself something to look forward to.

There’s an uplifting that comes out of a chat with a good friend. Even after your time together is over, you still carry the high with you for a while.
To be honest, it’s not only boredom that causes us to eat for the sake of it. Sometimes it’s a lack of interest in things. But let’s face it, there’s always something to do. Seriously!
Instead of eating your feelings away, call up a friend and see how they’re doing. Take the focus off yourself and seek to add value to someone else.

A kind word or a nice gesture will make you both feel good. It’s a good distraction technique.

2. Exercise

This sounds cliche I know. But if you want to have a healthy mind and body, which I’m sure you do, then exercise is important. I’m not an exercise person at all.

I used to consider exercise as unnecessarily hard and boring. I still think of it as boring. But I also understand that you have to maintain a balanced relationship with exercise.

To overcome boredom and emotional eating. Wait, huh? I hear you ask. You’re also probably asking. If it’s boring, how can it stop boredom?
Well, not all exercises are boring. But most are – that’s my opinion anyway. But there’s no denying the positive effects of exercising.

Exercising isn’t only for weight loss. It helps you take your mind off things and make you feel good about yourself. It makes you feel more alive and confident. By exercising you’re making a conscious effort.

A decision to partake in something that will positively impact your mood and emotions. Stick with simple exercises that you can do, and you enjoy doing.

3. Go outdoors

Get some air. Interact with nature. Discover something new. If you’re outdoors, chances are you won’t be bored. If you’re not bored you won’t be eating for entertainment.

This one works for me all the time. The hardest part is actually stepping out of the house but when I’m out I’m happy and content. I don’t feel like I need to do anything else.

Even when left with my thoughts I don’t feel the need to grab something to eat. My son and I are currently learning French together. We sometimes have these walk and talk type sessions where we go for a walk and discuss what we’ve learned.

He’s a teenager and not always up for walks, but they’re fun. Even for him. There are many ways you can incorporate some outdoor time into your life.

If you can’t do it alone, take someone with you or join a local group.

4. Get into something

Find a passion. Whether that’s a hobby, a new skill, culture, interest, anything. A hobby will eliminate boredom from your life. Think about something you’ve been wanting to do for so long.

There are so many hobbies and skills you haven’t tried out. You can use this time to learn more about yourself or develop your skills. If you have skills of your own you can also share those with others.

Whatever it is, just do something. Whatever you do, try to make it a positive experience. Because the aim is to have a more positive life. Find your own interests. Forget what the latest trend is. Just do you.

One top tip is to avoid things that encourage eating. For example, watching a box set, reading, etc. These are activities that will encourage you to eat as part of the entertainment process.

So keep an eye on that when deciding on hobbies or interests to take up. Personally, I prefer things that put me in a different environment. Whether that’s outdoors or indoors, it just has to be a different location.

5. Stay away from social media

Social media is like a window through which we look at the lives of others. Or let me rephrase that. We look at what other people present to us as their lives.

We look at them and reason within ourselves that we’re missing out on something. We think that because we’re not engaging in the same activities as they are then we’re not doing anything.

We begin to feel inadequate and bored because there’s nothing exciting or social media-worthy to do.

If you have major FOMO you should definitely not be on social media. Here are some other things you can do instead of going on social media.

6. Practice self-care

Very important. Center yourself and block out all the noise, concerns, and general distractions. Focus on you. Your self-care activities should cover your physical and mental well-being.

Whether it’s getting a pedicure or a spa treatment, do the things you normally wouldn’t do. The goal is to do something that’s specifically for you. Like having a date with yourself.

Never hesitate to prioritize yourself. Incorporate things like meditation, affirmations, and mindfulness into your self-care routine.

Looking after your wellbeing in this manner gives you a stronger sense of responsibility towards yourself.

7. Try out a new recipe

I know this probably sounds a bit counterintuitive. Suggesting you try making food to stop eating. But the thing is, you’re trying to stop eating because you are bored. Not because you’re hungry.

When you’re planning, preparing, and making meals, the last thing you are is bored. Cooking is a task that can be very enjoyable.

Pre pandemic, I tried out a lot of new and exciting recipes that brought me a lot of joy. It’s something I’m returning to. I’ve already started collecting my next batch of recipes to try. I’ll be sure to share them on here.

When you make your own food, you get to control what ingredients go into it, and ultimately your body. Eating out of boredom puts you at risk of eating unhealthy and readily available foods.

8. Get weird

Be spontaneous. Do something out of your ordinary. Get out of your comfort zone. Bust out in a dance move, do a moon walk, anything to lift you and bring you joy.

Call a radio station and send a shout-out or answer a quiz question. Be the entertainment instead of waiting to be entertained.
Life is short. It really is.

There are so many experiences to be had. I speak for myself also in writing this. I realize that the more I let loose the less I feel bored or feel the need for comfort food.

You really can have fun in your own company. Just look inwards.