There are 2-3 times in day when I get bored for about 15-30 minutes. Usually that’s in between my scheduled work. Mid morning at about 10 or 11 am and again at about 230 or 330 pm in the afternoon.
Since I had been eating much less than my usual intake, I’d get hungry pretty soon and was unable to determine if I was really hungry or just bored. Either ways I would end up eating junk food with many useless calories.
I dont think I really have a problem eating when I am truly hungry, but the “eating when you are bored”, really bothered me a lot.
There are a few tricks I adopted to avoid adding calories and prevent eating when I was bored.
First, I’d drink really warm water. Closer to hot water than warm. Initially I had to take some herbal tea with it, but after a few weeks, I avoided even the tea. The reason why warm or hot water works compared to cold was it would take me longer to drink, by which time I’d get distracted with something else. Cold water just went in really quickly and I was “hungry again” within minutes.
Second, I eliminated many foods from my diet, because I felt they were truly wreaking my system. These were cakes, chocolates, cookies and the like. Easy to eat, but really hard to avoid. The way to eliminate them is not to buy or stock them at all. I now keep granola (Kind, with no additives) or plain nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, etc.)
Third, I scheduled meetings during my known “weakness zones”. Being engaged in a meeting let me focus on the work, or talk to someone, eliminating my “boredom eating”.
Fourth, I removed small change and avoided carrying cash. I found that I’d go to a vending machine (most dont accept credit cards thankfully) and grab something at least once or twice a week. Removing cash helped me go to the vending machine, but actually buy nothing.
Fifth, before I ate, I’d first check the calories that it would add on MyFitnessPal. Since I was in a friendly wager with 2 of my friends on who would be under the calorie goal for the most # of days, it was easy for me to get the “calorie sticker shock” from eating junk food and avoid it all together.
Sixth, I am known to be very competitive, so I enlisted 2 of my friends, to help message me during 11 am and 3 pm (We were on WhatsApp) to encourage me to stick to the plan. I did the same for them, and they were in a different time zone, so it worked out well. Erik’s lost over 15 pounds and he’s super fit now.
Seventh, I’d schedule my walking “to gain steps on FitBit” around the time away from my desk or from any food during that time. Since I carried no cash, I could not eat out anyway. The walking was a scheduled conference call with my direct reports or calls with entrepreneurs.This was another competitive thing I was doing, so I’d highly recommend that if you are into that sort of thing.
Eight, I’d sometimes chew gum. This was rare, because I dont like chewing gum, but on a few occasions it did help. I wont recommend it though.
I did not use all these techniques at the same time, but depending on the day and my sense for what would work, I’d use one or two of them.
The thing that worked best for me over time was “Calorie sticker shock”.
I am going to trademark that actually. If only everyone could see the # of calories that is in the junk food they eat, I believe most folks would make the right choice.
If eating a small bag of chips, plus on regular soda and one small cookie (Or one samosa, one masala chai and two biscuits in India, ) during your afternoon snack was known to add 500 calories of your 2000 calorie daily intake, I think most folks would avoid one or all three of those items.