How Not to Eat When You’re Bored

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How Not to Eat When You’re Bored

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One of the positive aspects of working at a job is that you’re busy and, in theory, you don’t have time to overeat. Okay – the office candy dish or lunch out with associates may be negative factors, but generally when we are working, it’s a little easier to diet.

The more challenging diet times are often our down times. Weeknight evenings in front of the television; weekends with no firm commitments. There are also those unique at home times when you are unable to get out because of inclement weather or even recovering from an illness (but feeling well enough to forage the kitchen for food).

How does one stick to a diet when a long day or long evening lays before you and the only way to offset potential boredom is eat a dish (or two) of ice cream or dig in the pantry for a bag of cookies?

I have a few suggestions on home dieting based on the fact that I work at home (15 steps to my kitchen – yes, I’ve counted) and have had to deal with my own “I’m bored; I need food” demons.

Obvious solution #1: Keep your house clean of junk food. Definitely easier said than done if you have a family to feed and that family expects chips and cookies and so on. If you MUST have junk food in the house (really!?), be sure to have a supply of healthy foods (with a Hands Off sign on them).

Make your home life as busy as your work life. I know, at home we rest from our daily toils. But that doesn’t mean vegetating in front of a television set with a bowl of candy. I’m a list maker and always have a “To Do” list. That list may range from heavy work (vacuuming) to organizing (clean a bureau drawer) to staying connected (writing or calling) friends to reading a book or doing a craft. Anything you do that keeps the mind and hands busy beats sitting like a statue in front of a TV (with a bowl of peanuts beside you).

Have between meal diet foods in the house. I’m an early riser so have breakfast by 7:00 AM. By 10:00, I’m hungry again. So I have a second breakfast! I often make an eggbeater omelet with veggies or I’ll make a single slice peanut butter sandwich (light on the peanut butter). When I have that omelet, I do not have bread with it; just the eggs and filling. A lot of diets recommend having fruit between meals. And that works as well, although – for me – having an orange does not really stave off the hungry horrors the way something with a bit of protein will do.

Drink, drink, drink. I always have a cup of coffee or tea close at hand (decaf for me). And, of course, all diets push the importance of drinking lots of water.

I make myself go out. Short of a blizzard or recovering from foot surgery, I will always either go to the gym or walk a mall or large grocery store (big box stores are great for racking up steps on a pedometer). No – you do not need to buy anything when you walk a store.

And finally, the most important advice of all. Draw on your willpower. That’s what dieting is all about: Having the inner strength to resist temptations. No matter what your dieting challenge (the work candy dish or a long day at home) it’s all about making choices. It’s the balance between being committed to your diet and pretending to diet. You can try every diet program out there, but they are all useless unless you get your head – and your act – together.


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