One of my major issues before I lost weight was boredom eating. You know the drill: you have dinner, maybe even a little desert, but as soon as you sit in front of the TV you get that ‘snacky’ feeling. You trot off to the kitchen and start rustling through the cupboards in search of food. Then you plonk yourself down on the sofa, eat the snacks, and more often than not, you pop back off for more. Cue food baby and feeling of guilt for mindlessly snacking. Sound familiar to anyone?
Before I get into how to start overcoming that, I do think it’s important to highlight that sometimes it’s ok to really enjoy lying on the sofa watching a movie eating snacks. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing that sometimes. However, when you find it’s happening on weekday evenings while watching the evening news, then maybe it’s time to keep it in check.
What I have discovered about myself is that I can’t just sit in front of the TV and watch it. For some reason I have to be doing something else and that is why snacking is such an attractive habit! Here’s a few tips for stopping evening boredom snacking…
Figure out what the core cause is
Often emotional eating and boredom eating can get caught up in one another, as can self sabotaging and sugar cravings. Check in with yourself to see what’s really behind that snacking, and yes, my Mindset Makeover Course would help you with that!
It can also be helpful to identify the situation or the habit of when the snacking is taking place, as changing it can help. For example, I used to snack like crazy on a Saturday night, usually when James was out with his friends and I was home alone. When that happens now, I make specific plans to do something, either out or at home, that does not involve being sat in front of a screen so that I don’t slip into that bored state and go back to snacking.
Mentally and physically close up the kitchen for the evening
Do the dishes, wipe down the counter tops, make a cuppa (see next tip) and then close the door, kitchen is closed! I find that the act of tidying up the kitchen and closing up shop really helps me avoid trotting in and out for food all evening!
Try drinking sweet herbal tea
Make sure you’re eating enough during the day
This was something that used to really affect me, I’d eat very little during the day so come the evening I’d be starving, even after dinner! Make sure you’re eating enough spaced well throughout the day.
Keep your hands busy
If it’s a boredom thing why not try a hobby like cross stitch or knitting that keeps your hands busy and still lets you watch TV? I used to love cross stitching modern designs to keep myself from snacking. Journalling is also a great activity to try and has the handy added benefit of encouraging you to write about your feelings, helping you to understand what might be the root cause of the evening snacking.
Distract yourself for 5 minutes
Find something else to occupy yourself with for 5 minutes, it could be phoning a friend or your Mum, doing a guided meditation, playing a game – anything for at least 5 minutes. If you’re still hungry after that then it could be that you’re actually physically hungry, so eat! Usually 5 minutes is enough to knock a craving for food that comes from boredom on the head.
Go to bed
I’m not kidding! Most of us could do with more sleep, get yourself off for an early night. That extra sleep will support more stable blood sugar levels and balanced hormones, all having an impact on hunger levels.
If you do snack…
If you’re actually hungry and do end up snacking, instead of eating biscuits or crisps try and go for something rich in protein and low in sugar. A bowl of yoghurt with berries and a drizzle of maple syrup or one of my creamy low sugar chocolates would be a good option as they shouldn’t leave you feeling bloated or disrupt your sleep.
Do you struggle with evening snacking? What has helped you deal with it?