We’ve all said it at one time or another: I’m bored.
Boredom is emotional purgatory. It qualifies as neither a good or bad mood. It’s just…well… blah. Boredom can be one of the greatest challenges on the road to weight loss…not to mention on the road of life.
You know the feeling when it’s 8pm, you have finished all the tasks for the day, you are half paying attention to what in on TV and all of a sudden you find yourself in front of the fridge even though you’ve already had dinner…
Out of all reasons we eat, boredom must be the least helpful. And it usually happens when we’re actually not in a physiological need of food.
For a lot of people, boredom triggers behaviours for which there is a strong immediate biological basis for pleasure. The obvious one is eating. Others include alcohol, cigarettes, drugs,and sex These all have in common their ability to instantly and powerfully light up the pleasure centres of our brains.
There have been some speculations that eating out of boredom could be linked to a neurotransmitter called “dopamine” Dopamine is a chemical messenger responsible for experiencing motivation and drive.
Falling head-over-heels in love and longing to be in the presence of your object of affection? Developing a cocaine addiction and craving your next hit? About to prove your online gaming friends you can get through the final round of the game you’ve been playing for past weeks? Whatever your latest obsession may be, you can be sure, that dopamine neurons are firing, getting your brain ready to take direct action and achieve whatever you’re after.
What does this all have to do with boredom eating?
Well it’s possible that when we’re in that “blah” mood, so are our dopamine neurons. When we boredom-eat what we’re really doing is trying to wake them up so we can feel excited and thrilled again. And food seems like an effective and easy option to do that.
So what can we do to escape boredom eating and don’t give in to those temptations?
It is very important to introduce more variety into everyday life. Remove monotony, make every day tasks/activities more exciting so we don’t let our brains feel numb and depleted of joy.
For example, if you exercise, find a new, exciting place for a workout. Go outdoor, to the beach, or a park. Instead of having dinner or lunch at home, take it outside, make a picnic. Listen to your new book on your Ipad while ironing big pile of laundry. Reduce junk food in your diet. Fatty or high sugary foods give us that high and happy feeling for a little while, but then we crash harder and feel even worse. Eat wholesome diet with lots of variety of different foods which helps to sustain your energy levels more stable throughout the day. Meditate – look after your mind, it will help to deal with stress and make you feel calmer and at ease. And also – ask yourself if you are really physically hungry when you open fridge at 9 o’clock at night. Take a breath and think about it for a minute before you open that box of leftovers or a jar of cookies. Or try and drink a glass of water when you get a sudden urge to eat and see if you’re still hungry after that.
Good luck! J