Apr 18, 2023
Do you ever find yourself reaching for some exciting food
because you're bored? Eating is quick-fix way to conquer boredom,
but often leads to regret. In this post I want to talk about ten
strategies to help you stop boredom eating. Let's begin by asking
the question, "Why am I eating when bored?"
Why am I eating when bored?
For those of us who crave excitement, we want anything that will
take us out of our mundane life and into a little bit of fun and
excitement. And of course the most easily available option is the
refrigerator. So of course we'll eat when we're bored if we enjoy
food! It gives us that quick fix of fun and excitement to ease just
a tad bit of our boredom. A better question to ask may be, "Why am
I bored to begin with?" Let's take a look at that because if we can
stop being bored, we can stop boredom eating.
Why am I bored?
Have you ever heard a friend say, "I'm never bored" or "Boredom
is a choice"? I have. And each time I hear it, I think to myself
(or more likely out loud), "I'm often bored!" In fact some days I
feel like I'm going out of my mind with boredom!! So why are
we bored, when our friend is never bored? I can think of
- We like being busy and get bored when we're
not. I listed this reason first because even people who
are almost never bored sometimes struggle with boredom during
evenings and weekends. If your life is filled with work during the
day—and you're a person who enjoys being busy—then you may be bored
at night or on weekends.
- We're fun-loving people who crave excitement.
When I think of my friends who aren't bored, they usually fall into
three camps: they love accomplishment, they love stability, or they
love hobbies. When you think about it, all three of those types of
people can be satisfied in everyday life. The ones who love
accomplishment can make a list no matter what's happening in their
lives and work on accomplishment. The ones who love stability don't
care if they have excitement because excitement by its very nature
is a bit unstable. And the ones who love hobbies can usually find a
hobby or two to fill up their free time. It's only people who crave
excitement that have a hard time meeting those needs because
regular life by its very nature isn't all that exciting because
it's .... regular life!
- We're procrastinators and the thought of all that
horrible work we should be doing is making us feel bored.
I don't know how many times I feel bored just because I have too
much on my plate and all of it sounds very boring to do. That makes
me want to avoid work and go get something fun to eat.
- Our regular life doesn't fit our
personalities. My dream job is to be a counselor at a
Christian backpacking camp. Unfortunately, that's not a possibility
for me right now, not to mention the fact that most Christian youth
camps aren't looking for a 63-year-old married woman to be their
camp counselor! We live in a culture that tells us to follow our
passions and go for that dream job, but let's face it, the dream
job isn't always practical, nor is it always what God wants us to
be doing. That said, living a life that's different than our dream
life can still lead to boredom. This leads to the fourth reason for
- We have unrealistic expectations for life.
When we believe the hype that we need to be living our best life
and our passion, we start having unrealistic expectations for life.
We might think all of life should be just as fun and exciting as
the summer we spent as a backpacking camp counselor, when there is
no way the rest of our lives will be that fun on a consistent
basis. Our unrealistic expectations for life make us feel bored
because we're focusing on what we don't have rather than on what we
- We expect ourselves to work too much without
reward. When I was working full-time before I had kids, I
rarely got bored. This was because my days were filled with work.
And since I worked at a bank, my days were also filled with people.
I enjoyed my work and also enjoyed all the visiting. Work in and of
itself was a reward. But when I started working at home, first as a
stay-at-home mom, then a homeschool mom, and finally as a writer, I
often got bored (and still often get bored). I'm beginning to
realize that one of the reasons I get bored is because I'm doing a
job that doesn't energize me without taking enough "reward" breaks.
This is a recipe for continued boredom, not to mention
procrastination. Which leads us to the next reason for boredom
- We don't manage our work well. For those of us
who spend the majority of our days at home, one of our biggest
problems is that we have too much time on our hands. That doesn't
mean we don't have a lot to do. It just means we have to manage our
time ourselves and that can lead to long blocks of time with
nothing to do (because either we don't have that much to do or
we're procrastinating). And those long blocks of time can lead to
- We don't have enough on our plate. Another
possible reason for being bored is that we don't have enough to
fill our time. Many people reported boredom during the pandemic
because they were out of work and weren't used to being out of
work. Or you may be in a season of life such as retirement where
you haven't figured out how to fill up your time and that leaves
you with a lot of boredom on your hands.
- We've trained ourselves to need constant
excitement. Educators say that it's hard to teach kids
today because kids have been trained to expect constant excitement
through playing video games, watching TV, and doing other forms of
electronic entertainment. Kids aren't the only ones with this
struggle. We also struggle because we have the same temptation to
constantly jump on our phones whenever we're bored.
- We're making life about "having fun and excitement" and
not about God. Whenever we try to fill ourselves up with
something other than God, we never get enough to satisfy us. So if
I'm trying to fill myself up with fun and excitement—and feel like
I need that fun and excitement to live a great life—I'll never get
enough to satisfy me and I'll live in boredom.
We'll take a look at ten strategies for how to stop boredom
eating by learning not to be bored in a minute, but before we do
that, let's look at three practical tips to stop boredom
3 Practical Tips to Stop Boredom Eating
- Hide or remove exciting food from your house.
Let's face it, more often than not, if it's there to eat, we'll eat
it! To solve that problem, try not to have exciting foods in the
house--or if you can't do that, ask someone in your house to hide
them from you!
- Make it harder to buy exciting foods when you're out on
the town. If you have a tendency to stop and get exciting
food when you're out driving, find a way to make it harder to get
that food. You could change your driving route, put your wallet in
the far corner of the back seat so you can't reach it when you go
through the drive through, or renew your mind before you make that
drive so you don't want the exciting treats. If you're within
walking distance of exciting treats, consider leaving your billfold
at home so you won't be tempted to get them.
- Eliminate exciting foods from your diet.
Sometimes it's easier to have none than one. At different phases of
my life I've given up sugar. Was my life boring in the food
department? Yes!! But did it help me give up boredom eating? Again,
yes!! This is a drastic move, but it can actually make life better
if you're constantly craving sweets or chips or something like that
and then giving into your cravings whenever you're bored.
Okay, now that we have the practical tips out of the way, let's
look at the bigger picture. And in some ways this bigger picture is
about how to stop boredom itself--because if we learn how to stop
being bored, we'll learn how to stop boredom eating.
How to Stop Boredom Eating (By Learning How to Stop Being
Bored!) - 10 Strategies
- Let go of unrealistic expectations for this phase of
your life. While we might expect life to be constantly
exciting if we're backpacking counselors at a Christian camp, we
can't expect life to be constantly exciting with most stages of
life! Take a minute and think about your current life phase. On a
scale of 1 to 10 how exciting should you expect your days to be?
Based on your answer, give up your unrealistic expectations and
then move onto the next step.
- Embrace regular life. Think of this way. What
if you lived in a war-torn country and all of a sudden the war
stopped. Life wasn't fun and exciting but at least there wouldn't
be a war going on. Would you be thankful for regular life or would
you be craving excitement! I think we'd all be thankful for regular
life. The more we can embrace life as-is and tell ourselves that
this regular life is great, the less bored we'll be.
- Make life about God. I still remember years
ago complaining to a friend about how boring my life was. My
friend, said, Barb, what is excitement from a biblical perspective?
I thought about that for a minute and replied that excitement from
a biblical perspective would be growing closer to God and serving
Him and even doing things like helping others break free from
strongholds. From a biblical perspective my life (and work) was
exciting. But I wasn't seeing that because I was wanting some
traditional cultural excitement.
- Learn how to manage your work or day-to-day
life. If you spend your days at home, learn to manage your
work and time well. I talk a bit about this in my book, Freedom
from Procrastination, and I am learning more about this as I go
along. This is something that will be different for each of us, and
it's a project in and of itself.
- Work on overcoming procrastination. The
less we procrastinate, the less time we'll spend being bored. Not
only will we have less down time (because we'll actually be getting
those things done), but we'll also be less bored because we won't
have that dreaded job hanging over our heads. That said, it's
incredibly difficult to overcome procrastination. If you need help
with it, check out my Bible study and workbook, Freedom from
- Plan rewards for work or find ways to make work
fun. If you're a person who is more fun-focused rather
than accomplishment focused, you'll be far happier if you find a
way to make work fun or at the very least plan some rewards for
- Get more on your plate. If you don't have
enough to fill your days, think of new ways to fill it. God never
meant for us to spend our days watching Netflix all day! Find ways
to serve others and love others well. The more we focus on others,
the less we focus on ourselves and how bored we are.
- Find non-addictive ways to fit excitement into your
day. There is nothing wrong with trying to make life more
exciting, as long as God would approve of the type of excitement
we're adding to our lives! If you're in a season of life where you
don't naturally have a lot of fun and excitement in your life, try
to plan for it. For example, when I'm planning coaching calls,
podcast interviews, or appointments, I try to space them out
through the week so I have at least one of those a day since I'm
energized by being with people. I also usually talk to one friend
or family member by phone each day. These are non-addictive ways I
can add fun and excitement to my life. You may be different than
me, so you'll have to ask, "What energizes me?" and try to add some
of that to your life each day if possible.
- Put limits on your phone, Netflix, or other
entertainment sources. We spoke earlier about how we train
ourselves to need constant excitement. We do the same things with
food. When we eat exciting food too often, we train ourselves to
need exciting food all the time. It seems counterintuitive, but the
more we reign in our desires for constant excitement and learn to
have it as treats rather than regular life, the less bored we'll
- Make a plan for downtime. If you regularly
experience boredom in the evenings, late afternoons, or weekends,
make an actual schedule for how you'll spend your time during those
periods. It can be a schedule with time slots (7:00-8:00 board game
with kids, 8:00-8:30 read, etc.) or it could just be an order of
events: certain things you'll do in a certain order each
day during that downtime but without a time tied to them (do
dishes, fold clothes, go on a walk, renew my mind, read,
I also wanted to add that I have another helpful post about
dealing with boredom, it's called:
Use These Verses When You're Bored Instead of Eating! Check it
out if you need additional support with overcoming boredom eating
in your life.
Resources Mentioned on the Podcast
Say Goodbye to Emotional
Deserve a Donut Weight Loss App
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