The Truth About Boredom Eating
When I was a dieter, I would frequently "crack" and succumb to boredom eating.
I would make cookies, and eat them, or sit on the couch with an enormous bag of popcorn.
1. I thought the food was making my evening more enjoyable, for example, by making watching TV better.
2. I thought all that crunching on popcorn was relieving stress.
3. I thought that by making and then eating cookies, I would be able to forgo sweets for the following two or three weeks while I dieted. Again.
And since I was surrounded by dieters: my mother, my step mother, my mother-in-law, and my step-mother-in-law, and they all did the same kind of boredom eating, I thought that it was normal.
My goal was just to try not to do it too much, but not to eliminate the behavior.
But when I began understanding the impact of this kind of eating, and why my tiny grandmother never "boredom ate," I realized that this seemingly harmless behavior was more damaging than I had ever realized.
And the behavior gave me none of the payoffs that I wanted.
1. It didn't make the TV show any better, or the night more enjoyable because I knew I was eating out of boredom and that made me feel worse, not better.
2. The stress I felt from eating a bunch of food and "breaking" my diet was not alleviated with all that chewing. I almost ate, "angrily." Like, "Okay, here I go. I am just going to sit here and eat this huge bowl of popcorn." Popcorn was my go-to boredom-eating-food, and boy, I would eat it fast. I think in part I ate so fast and efficiently so it would be over with sooner. Because even though I told myself it was fun, it wasn't. It was a guilt ridden.
3. Me shoving down extra food out of boredom, cookies for example, did nothing to help me not eat sweets later. Instead, it made me unable to enjoy smaller, reasonable sizes of desserts because when I boredom ate, I ate so much.
I realized that while dieters, like me, engage in boredom eating, we are already trying to figure out how we will make up for it in the next week.
"I will finish this and just fast tomorrow."
"I will finish this and work out everyday this week, and do 5K extra steps."
"I will finish this and skip that party next week so it doesn't matter that I gained weight."
I want to reiterate here that I am speaking to you, my fellow chronic dieters.
I believe that dieters fall into boredom eating not because we are bored, so much, as that we just want to relax and enjoy some food without worry.
We just can't fight anymore. We are tired and hungry and on a deeper level we know that the way we are eating, dieting one week and overeating the next, is depressing.
So we claim "being bored" as reason to eat and eat.
Friends, this I know:
When you stop dieting, just like binge eating, boredom eating GOES AWAY.
The thought of eating food for any reason other than hunger becomes weird.
And that doesn't mean you won't cook when you are bored, or go out to a restaurant if you are bored at home or do a lot of food related behavior, but you won't actually eat unless you do feel hunger.
Because you aren't fighting anymore. Things have fallen back into balance. You don't eat when you are bored because YOU AREN'T HUNGRY.
I know that many of you will read this and not think this is possible.
Friends, it is.
I was where you are.
Stop bullying your body, and it will stop bullying you.
Calm. Peace. Am I hungry? That is all that matters.