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Bored = Hungry

July 12, 2011

I know I’m not alone in this, but one of my worst habits is (and always has been) eating when I’m bored.

I still don’t understand why this is such a problem for me or for so many other people; why is food the first thing I reach for when I have nothing better to do?


I have gotten better at tempering this over the years. I’ll make myself a cup of tea, or I’ll chew a piece of gum if the urge to eat hits when I’m not actually hungry. Generally these tricks work, but I still slip up from time to time.

I only just started giving this some thought over the past week, in between curriculum writing and taking my full-day graduate course. Since school got out, both of these activities have kept me in a room (mostly sitting in the same chair) from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm (during CW) and from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm (for class). What I found was that my eating habits were dramatically different based on the situation.

At CW, I found it hard to stay engaged in my work for a lot of reasons, and every day somebody brought in snacks. This was the perfect storm for me to eat when I wasn’t really hungry—not only was I disengaged in what I was doing, but good food was sitting five feet away from me at all times.


On top of my usual breakfast and lunch, I found myself snacking on one thing or another at least once an hour (luckily, for most of the days, I was snacking on veggies or fruit, but it was mindless, pointless snacking nonetheless). This is something that I notice during the school year, too. If I’m not grading papers or lesson planning and there is food in the team room (which is connected to my classroom), I WILL snack on what’s there. Willpower has never been my strong suit, clearly.

On the flip side, during my class last week, I didn’t feel the need to snack ONCE. I ate my regular breakfast and lunch and brought some watermelon to tide me over before I got home for dinner, but the combination of being extremely engaged in what we were doing (this is by far one of the most interesting courses I’ve taken yet) coupled with the fact that there were no snacks to tempt me kept me on track.


I ate when I was hungry, and I ate until I felt satisfied, and then I was done.

Being mindful of my habits is definitely something I’ve gotten better at over the years, but this past week has made me take a closer look into how and why I eat than I have in a while!

Do you eat when you’re bored, too? What do you do to keep yourself out of the kitchen when you’re not really hungry?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2011 9:48 pm

    I can definitely get into the habit of eating when I’m bored instead of actually hungry. When things are slow at work and I find myself reaching for a snack I have to REALLY ask myself if I’m actually hungry. Most usually I’m not so I pop a piece of gum in to occupy my mouth and drink some water – usually does the trip!

    • July 13, 2011 8:11 am

      Same here, Cait! The little tricks do help, but it’s still hard when there’s food staring you in the face, you know?

  2. July 12, 2011 10:56 pm

    I think I’m more likely to eat if it’s just ‘there’ waiting to be eaten. I’m not one to really eat when I am bored. If there are donuts in the team room…you better believe that I will want one. Not because I am a huge donut fan, just because they are THERE (I think they know my name!!)

    • July 13, 2011 8:10 am

      I’m the same way. I don’t even really LIKE donuts, but I’ll still eat them! Out of sight, out of mind.

  3. July 13, 2011 3:57 pm

    I love that Curriculum Writing was so boring you had to eat… Next year, tell them no, you can’t do it due to possible weight gain and brain cell loss. hehe

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