If you struggle with emotional eating, you probably think boredom is the biggest trigger. Without fail, any time I ask a new client about their triggers for eating, boredom is in the top three. This might sound weird, but I do not believe boredom is a real emotion, much less, a trigger for emotional eating. Wait. What? We live in a culture that is constantly overstimulated. There is no lack of access to an abundance of brain numbing entertainment through tv, the internet and video games. I believe that bored feeling is just the absence of distraction. As soon as you are no longer distracted, you can’t avoid your thoughts. That is why we spend so much time online and in front of tv, right? We do not want to know what we are thinking. If you peel back the boredom, my guess is that you feel lonely and/or anxious. I could be wrong, but I have not missed the mark with one client on this yet. It is so uncomfortable to feel the loneliness and anxiety that we feel more comfortable labeling it boredom. How does this play into emotional eating? With an absence of what we perceive the need to do something, food becomes a quick and easy fix. The reality with loneliness and anxiety is that it does temporarily soothe our emotions. If we are lonely, food provides faux connection. It is like a warm hug from the inside. If we are feeling anxious, food provides a different feeling in our stomach and distracts us from the problem creating the anxiety. Incidentally, the connection described in loneliness also provides temporary relief from anxiety. So, the next time you feel “bored” and find yourself reaching for food, ask yourself what you are really feeling. If you can honestly say you are bored, find something non-food related to do. If you are lonely or anxious, allow yourself to feel the feelings and find real solutions. If it feels so confusing that you don’t know where or how to start, give us a call!
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