It’s a Sunday night and nearing 9 p.m. You’ve responded to emails, zoned out on Facebook and caught up with the latest episode of Parks and Recreation on your DVR.
You stare at your pile of laundry and weekly to-do list with a look of procrastination in your eyes. Mindlessly wandering in to the kitchen, you open the refrigerator and stare.
We’re all guilty of it. But before you reach for those leftovers or that bag of chips on the counter, have you thought about why you are even there? Sometimes it is boredom rather than hunger pains that are driving you to grab an unnecessary snack.
So how do you cope with the boredom munchies and avoid unnecessary calories? The Weight-Control Information Network says you should try to stay busy.
Try these six ways to stop eating out of boredom:
1. Get physically active
Whether you take a quick walk around the block, do some housecleaning or yoga, choose an activity that makes it difficult to eat at the same time.
2. Find a hobby
Choose something that preoccupies your mind. Curl up with a new novel, Sudoku book or puzzle that you can dedicate your evening hours to. This will help you avoid giving attention to the bottomless pit: your stomach.
3. Stay busy
Find an activity or household project that occupies your hands. Organize your closet or deep clean your bathroom. Chances are, if your hands are full your mind will also be busy focusing on the task at hand.
4. Keep hydrated
Sipping plenty of fluids throughout the day and in to the evening hours will help keep boredom hunger cravings to a minimum. If you’re feeling extra snacky, the Weight-control Information Network recommends sipping on herbal tea (no sugar).
Mental and physical distractions are the best way to avoid unnecessary eating. Call up an old friend and chat if you’re seeking a quick diversion.
6. Wait it out
Give yourself 20 minutes to decide whether you’re really hungry or whether the desire for food is being driven by boredom. Most likely, your craving will dissipate shortly. If you feel hungry after waiting it out, choose a low-calorie and healthy alternative to what you may be craving.
If you still find yourself wandering to the kitchen out of boredom, you may want to invest in a padlock.