Instead of Eating....

When boredom or the urge to procrastinate strikes, there are better options than opening the fridge.

Click here to access this week's Weekly Topic

“Eating doesn’t solve anything except hunger." You’ve probably heard a variation on that truth along your weight-loss journey. Whether it's strong emotion or just garden-variety boredom or foot-dragging on a task to do, food might seem like an appealing choice. Unfortunately, we don't tend to grab an apple or a handful of baby carrots. Food that’s high in fat and/or sugar can deliver an instant boost; it triggers the reward centers in our brains, flooding it with the feeling of pleasure. And it momentarily diverts us from what's going on in our heads.

Outside influences

Like emotional eating, diversion eating—when you're seeking a respite from boredom or to delay on something you don't want to do—stems from external hunger. Unlike internal, physical, hunger, it’s not satisfied when we take in a sufficient number of calories or amount of food. No surprise that external eating can wreak havoc on your weight-loss efforts.

Make the shift

Your WW FreestyleTM weekly explores what's going on when you feel "hungry" half an hour after you had dinner or when you're staring at a four-foot pile of laundry. And just as the problem is arising from your mind, not your stomach, the solution is in your head, too.

The two approaches in your Weekly help you pause, recognize what you're really feeling, and make another, non-food decision. Here's some more help:

Bored?

Let’s say you find yourself rifling through the pantry after the kids are off to school in the morning. It's an hour after breakfast, so you’re probably not hungry. Chances are you're simply bored and could use a human connection. You could call a friend or relative, invite your neighbor over for tea, or hop onto Connect for inspiration and non-food diversion! (You can download the WW mobile app for iOS and Android. Or maybe you've hit a lull at work. For member Stephanie, featured in the Weekly, the solution was a change of scenery. Like her, you could take a quick walk outside (and rack up some FitPoints®). Or pay a quick visit to a colleague, stand and stretch or march in place, close your eyes and breathe slowly for a minute or two.

Procrastinating?

We've all been there. A bathroom to clean, a report to write, a lawn to cut. The task feels daunting and uninviting. Much easier and more appealing is to eat that leftover lasagna in the fridge. But here's the thing: The task will still be there after you've eaten. So before you turn away from the toilet brush or the keyboard, pause and remind yourself that food is incapable of scrubbing a toilet or interpreting a spreadsheet. Try these ways to do an end run around diversion and get 'er done.

  • Break the task into smaller parts and tackle each one to completion.
  • Start with the easiest part; doing so can often smoothly usher you into the rest of the job.
  • Set a time limit for each segment of the task.
  • Tackle another to-do first, which can get you in a productive frame of mind.
  • Make it fun: Put on music or listen to a podcast.
  • Reward yourself (in a nonfood way, of course!): Play a game on your phone, take a catnap, look through family photos, download a new song or two....