You had a bad day, so you head to the freezer, grab ice cream, move to the couch and dig right in. You don’t feel physically hungry, but eating ice cream is comforting. This is referred to as emotional eating or stress eating. These terms are often used interchangeably, and both refer to turning to food to cope with emotions. How to stop stress eating or eating when you’re bored? Read more to find out. 

There are many different reasons we eat:

  • Physically hungry—you may feel your stomach growl, have a headache or feel shaky
  • Stress/emotional eating—turning to food to cope with emotions
  • Boredom eating—turning to food when bored
  • Mindless eating—eating without awareness of what, where or how much you’re eating
  • Craving—eating because you are craving something specific
Stress eating – google image 

None of these is wrong. The most important thing is to stop and ask yourself, “Why am I eating right now?” and then decide the best course of action depending on that answer.

Why do we eat when stressed or bored?

Cortisol increases appetite and can lead to weight gain – google image 

Biology and environment both play a role. “At the surface, stress eating and eating when you’re bored appear very similar. They are both reactions to our environment but the main difference is how they affect your body. When you’re stressed your body releases large amounts of the hormone cortisol

Cortisol increases appetite and can lead to weight gain. Stress also raises ghrelin, the “hunger hormone,” which stimulates appetite too. Food is comforting and pleasurable—especially refined carbohydrates like pasta, bread and desserts.

Meanwhile, insufficient sleep is also linked to a reduction in satiety hormones and an increase in hunger hormones. An important strategy to help manage stress and boredom eating is to make sure you prioritize sleep. Aim for your seven to eight hours a night, and you may find it easier to limit your emotional and boredom snacking

  1. How to stop stress eating or eating when you’re bored
  2. Choose filling, nutritious foods 

Stocking your kitchen with filling, nutrient-dense foods can not only help improve your overall health but also combat the tendency to stress eat highly palatable foods.

For example, filling your fridge and pantry with foods that can help fill you up in a healthful way — rather than foods rich in empty calories like candy, chips, and soda — is a smart way to prevent the chances of noshing on unhealthy choices.

Filling foods are ones that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, avocados, beans, and eggs are just some examples of nutritious, satisfying choices that can help fill you up and prevent overeating. 


Focus on deep breathing for two to three minutes or step outside for fresh air, allowing the outdoor light to hit your face. Your stress won’t disappear, but this can help create a buffer between the urge coming on and the act of eating and buy you time in deciding the best way to react.

Prevent boredom 

When you suddenly find yourself with a lot of extra free time, boredom can quickly set in once you have tackled your to-do list for the day.

However, boredom can be prevented by making good use of your spare time. Everyone has hobbies that they have always wanted to try or projects that have been put off due to busy schedules.

Now is the perfect time to learn a new skill, tackle a home improvement project, organize your living spaces, take an educational course, or start a new hobby.

Learning something new or starting a project can not only prevent boredom but also likely make you feel more accomplished and less stressed.

Be present 

If you’re used to dining while parked in front of your television, smartphone, or computer, try eating in a less distracting environment – google image 

Modern-day life is full of distractions. From smartphones to televisions to social media, you’re surrounded by technology meant to distract you from your daily life.

Though catching up on a favorite TV show can help take your mind off of stressful events, it’s important to minimize distractions when eating a meal or snack, especially if you find yourself frequently overeating.

If you’re used to dining while parked in front of your television, smartphone, or computer, try eating in a less distracting environment. Attempt to concentrate only on your food, paying special attention to feelings of hunger and fullness.

Being more present while you eat may help prevent overeating and can help you become more aware of your eating patterns and food intake.

Mindful eating is an excellent tool that can be used to bring more awareness to your eating habits.

Now you have the answers for “ How to stop stress eating or eating when you’re bored?”. I hope these tips will be useful for you. 

Source: Eatingwell, Healthline 


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