Resorting to food to calm stress or boredom is for many people a true disorder, which when it becomes frequent and ingests a higher amount of food than a normal person would eat in similar circumstances, accompanied by the feeling of losing control and it is a binge eating disorder. Eating out of boredom is a way to calm anxiety, that is, it is not that one has anxiety about eating, but that the person has anxiety: and eating helps to relax you, is distracted from boredom.
When we eat food that emotionally gives us pleasure, or we identify that certain foods cause certain substances that make us feel pleasure (such as dopamine and serotonin) in our brain, we immediately calm our anxiety and rest for a moment so that most likely later comes the fault.
And it is a feeling of guilt that then makes you go through periods of hunger or withdrawal so that you deprive your body of food to compensate for that compulsive episode, and this is what perpetuates the cycle, because finally afterward we feel like it again.
Why Do We Eat To Get Rid of Boredom?
The first thing is important for you to know that you are the one who is generating anxiety. I am not saying that the reality that we have to live is not complex but many of us has to see how we interpret and perceive these stressors.
The truth is that getting used to living a daily life with high levels of stress makes our body-mind integrity difficult to get rid of boredom.That is why we eat something to get rid of boredom. When we are unable to relax and free ourselves from this state of tension on our own, an excellent way to escape from such tension is food. Other people use cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs to get rid of boredom.
How Do You Get Out?
To get out of this boredom with food, the first thing to do is to break the vicious cycle of eating. And on the other hand, attend to what is causing anxiety at the beginning.
You have to work at a deep and superficial level. We really like to explain what happens to us, from the metaphor of the iceberg. If we realize that we are in Antarctica and observe an iceberg from the Icebreaker Deck, we will only be seeing the block of ice above the water.
Anyway, We will share a series of suggestions to try to disarm this vicious circle:
Many people get bored because they deprive themselves of food for a long time during the day. This deprivation of food comes from the boredom you feel for the deprivation of food that you have from the past binge. A practical suggestion is to make (for example) 4 rich sauces and eat one in every 4 hours. It is crucial to eat something you like in every 4 hours. Do not spend more than 4 hours without eating. In this first moment, which lasts 10 days to 15 days, do not focus strictly on eating healthy, or eating things that make you lose weight. Focus on eating in every 4 hours, whatever you want. May your stomach receive the message that you are doing something constant to keep it fed.
Start eating with mindfulness. When you take a bite, you will feel and pay full attention to what you are eating. We usually eat doing other things, in a distracted way, and the most important thing to change our relationship with food is to eat paying full attention to food. And someone can say, “Yes, but I pay too much attention to food, I become obsessed with food.” Surely this attention you are giving is the wrong one because it comes from obsessive need. This attention we are referring to is that you feel in your mouth, on your tongue, in the taste of your saliva, in your taste buds and your body: how it feels to eat.
You are eating very slowly, enjoying, savoring every bite, taking all your attention more than what is happening in that present moment with you while you eat and this is the fundamental point to start leaving compulsive eating behind you. When you are attracted to food your body does not realize what you are doing, it is as if you disconnected from yourself.
By eating with full attention you will realize what you are doing (without blaming yourself, without demanding yourself), curiously recognizing what the taste is like, how it feels, and you will stop when you decide to stop. It’s about starting to change your relationship with yourself and your body at the time of eating. Stop obsessing about diets and food and start listening to what our body asks to eat without guilt.
Between meals you are going to write or speak to yourself what you are feeling. You are going to write on a paper the answer to how do i feel ?, or are you going to stand in front of the mirror tell you how do i feel? At first, it is rare to do it, but by writing it, by saying it, by listening to us, we find a way to make emotions flow, those emotions that generate boredom to you.
It is very important that you replace what the binge gives you. When we ask a patient what gives him the binge, many respond: “I divert attention from my problems, I run away, it relaxes me.” Instead of looking for relaxation and rest in the food, we propose to give ourselves that rest genuinely (5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes), so that our body produces its own relaxing substances, and take advantage of those periods between meals to vent what you feel.
It’s about resting, lying down, loosening, breathing carefully, exercising, swimming, practicing yoga, meditating, stretching and just doing something that takes you out of your routine so that in return you do not have to forcefully ask for food.
Now, you will go through a period of abstinence, your mind is going to shout at you to do what you did before, because chemically your brain needs that shot of sugar, then in those moments when you feel that your mind returns to ask for eating, it is very important that you pause, stop, for 5 minutes of doing nothing but feel and accept what is happening with you at that time. What do you feel? Restlessness, nervousness, perspiration, the tension in some part of the body, feeling that you cannot breathe well, etc.
You don’t pretend that everything goes perfect at first and you should stop too much eating to get rid of boredom. You need to raise awareness that it will be a process in which you are likely to continue to have binge eating, which will gradually decrease as you change your attitude with food and the way you manage your emotions, stress, and boredom.
It is important that when you have a binge again, you activate self-pity, which is not victimizing you, or saying “poor me.” Self-pity is: “I understand that I am in the process of leaving this behavior that does not help me, but I keep repeating it because this behavior is what I am used to.”
So, I understand that I had a very stressful day, I understand that it is a day that I was very angry, I understand that I bring many emotions that I do not want to feel, I understand that I am afraid, and that is why I ran to eating food. Then you begin to understand and realize why you do it, and in this kind of way, it will be much easier to start changing it.
Change the focus of the tip of the iceberg, deep into the iceberg: What is taking me for running to eat? What was going on with me that made me eat in this way?
Eating is a habit and it is something that your mind asks you many times to relax. You need to increase your genuine relaxation activities so that your body-mind has its own dose of relaxation substances. Sing, paint, dance, listen to music, meditate, stretch so that your body has that dose of happiness, and stop looking for “just” food to get rid of boredom.