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Eating While Bored? Here’s How to Kick the Habit

Eating habits can be driven by many factors, including stress,
boredom, and real hunger. Snacking outside of your true hunger cues
can cause you to take in extra calories, and will likely have you
reaching for “comfort foods” with little nutritional value.
Here’s what you can do to adopt more mindful eating habits.

The Cause of Boredom-Based Eating

Eating during periods of boredom is actually a type of emotional
eating. While physical hunger drives a need for sustenance,
emotional eating prompts a specific craving. Moreover, with
emotional eating, it can take longer to feel satisfied (sometimes,
up to 20 minutes). Physical hunger, on the other hand, can
typically be quelled quickly. While physical hunger may begin with
a rumbling in your stomach, emotional hunger is triggered by the
brain.

You might also find yourself eating while stressed. Like eating
while bored, eating while stressed acts as a distraction. Cravings
are driven by dopamine, the feel-good hormones which are released
when you eat something delicious. Boredom or stress can prompt us
to go looking for a pick-me-up, or dopamine release, and
oftentimes, snacking is the quickest fix.

How to Stop Eating While Bored

Fortunately, there are ways to stop using emotional eating as a
coping mechanism for stress, boredom, or other challenges. First,
you must start by identifying whether you are indeed an emotional
eater. Consider creating a food diary to track your eating habits.
Don’t just write down what you ate and when, however. Also write
down how you felt: On a scale of 1-10, how physically hungry did
you feel at the time? How long had it been since your last meal or
snack? Were you experiencing listlessness or any type of stress?
Perhaps you had just had an argument with a loved one — keep
track of all this information to look for patterns in your eating
habits.

If you suspect that you are an emotional eater, the next step is
to start practicing mindful eating. This is simply the process of
recognizing your emotions and physical state. By bringing awareness
to these factors, you can begin asking yourself whether you’re
really hungry, or if you’re experiencing boredom or emotional
turmoil instead. If you are indeed hungry, pause and observe your
body’s natural cues. Legitimate hunger can be satisfied with
healthy choices, and especially protein-rich foods such as eggs,
nut butter, beans, and lean protein. Round out your meal or snack
with a healthy carbohydrate, like whole grain toast, apple slices,
or wheat pasta.

As you’re eating, try to take it slowly, savoring every bite.
Limit distractions; for instance, try to avoid eating while
watching TV or scrolling through social media. Eat until your
hunger is satisfied and you feel full.

In addition, you can get out of the habit of eating while bored
by planning your meals out in advance. Have ingredients for healthy
dishes on hand and prep food early enough so that you’re not
feeling famished by the time your next meal is ready. You can also
prepare nutritious breakfasts and lunches in advance, such as
smoothies, overnight oats, and delicious salads.

Also, make sure you’re staying hydrated. Sometimes, thirst can
be confused for hunger. Dehydration can produce signals similar to
those of hunger, so drink a glass of water if you’re feeling
hungry despite having eaten fairly recently.

Finally, you can also try going for a walk, doing a quick yoga
routine, or finding another healthy distraction if you’re really
struggling to stay away from the fridge. While these tactics may
just seem like other distractions from boredom or stress, they can
also help to clear your mind in a healthy way. Learning to practice
mindful eating isn’t something that happens overnight. Yet, with
patience and reflection, you can become more in tune with your body
and its true needs.

For more helpful Health Awareness articles, please visit
www.stemedix.com/blog.

The post
Eating While Bored? Here’s How to Kick the Habit
appeared
first on Stemedix.

Eating habits can be driven by many factors, including stress,
boredom, and real hunger. Snacking outside of your true hunger cues
can cause you to take in extra calories, and will likely have you
reaching for “comfort foods” with little nutritional value.
Here’s what you can do to adopt more mindful eating habits.

The Cause of Boredom-Based Eating

Eating during periods of boredom is actually a type of emotional
eating. While physical hunger drives a need for sustenance,
emotional eating prompts a specific craving. Moreover, with
emotional eating, it can take longer to feel satisfied (sometimes,
up to 20 minutes). Physical hunger, on the other hand, can
typically be quelled quickly. While physical hunger may begin with
a rumbling in your stomach, emotional hunger is triggered by the
brain.

You might also find yourself eating while stressed. Like eating
while bored, eating while stressed acts as a distraction. Cravings
are driven by dopamine, the feel-good hormones which are released
when you eat something delicious. Boredom or stress can prompt us
to go looking for a pick-me-up, or dopamine release, and
oftentimes, snacking is the quickest fix.

How to Stop Eating While Bored

Fortunately, there are ways to stop using emotional eating as a
coping mechanism for stress, boredom, or other challenges. First,
you must start by identifying whether you are indeed an emotional
eater. Consider creating a food diary to track your eating habits.
Don’t just write down what you ate and when, however. Also write
down how you felt: On a scale of 1-10, how physically hungry did
you feel at the time? How long had it been since your last meal or
snack? Were you experiencing listlessness or any type of stress?
Perhaps you had just had an argument with a loved one — keep
track of all this information to look for patterns in your eating
habits.

If you suspect that you are an emotional eater, the next step is
to start practicing mindful eating. This is simply the process of
recognizing your emotions and physical state. By bringing awareness
to these factors, you can begin asking yourself whether you’re
really hungry, or if you’re experiencing boredom or emotional
turmoil instead. If you are indeed hungry, pause and observe your
body’s natural cues. Legitimate hunger can be satisfied with
healthy choices, and especially protein-rich foods such as eggs,
nut butter, beans, and lean protein. Round out your meal or snack
with a healthy carbohydrate, like whole grain toast, apple slices,
or wheat pasta.

As you’re eating, try to take it slowly, savoring every bite.
Limit distractions; for instance, try to avoid eating while
watching TV or scrolling through social media. Eat until your
hunger is satisfied and you feel full.

In addition, you can get out of the habit of eating while bored
by planning your meals out in advance. Have ingredients for healthy
dishes on hand and prep food early enough so that you’re not
feeling famished by the time your next meal is ready. You can also
prepare nutritious breakfasts and lunches in advance, such as
smoothies, overnight oats, and delicious salads.

Also, make sure you’re staying hydrated. Sometimes, thirst can
be confused for hunger. Dehydration can produce signals similar to
those of hunger, so drink a glass of water if you’re feeling
hungry despite having eaten fairly recently.

Finally, you can also try going for a walk, doing a quick yoga
routine, or finding another healthy distraction if you’re really
struggling to stay away from the fridge. While these tactics may
just seem like other distractions from boredom or stress, they can
also help to clear your mind in a healthy way. Learning to practice
mindful eating isn’t something that happens overnight. Yet, with
patience and reflection, you can become more in tune with your body
and its true needs.

For more helpful Health Awareness articles, please visit
www.stemedix.com/blog.

The post
Eating While Bored? Here’s How to Kick the Habit
appeared
first on Stemedix.

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