Healthy Eating Is Boring

Healthy Eating Is Boring - how to combat boredom during weight loss (photo by annapustynnikova)

After I overhauled my diet and began to lose weight, one of my biggest struggles was something I never expected—boredom. I hadn’t realized it, but throughout my whole life, food was my biggest source of entertainment. I day-dreamed about food; planned my lunch as I finished my breakfast; ate when I had nothing else to do. Lots of times, just the thought of going to the grocery store was fun. What kind of cereal would I get? Would there be a new flavor of ice cream to try? To me, sitting down in an oversized booth with that thick Cheesecake Factory menu felt like sitting by a fire with a good book. Food was the centerpiece of almost every social and recreational activity. And once I made food less of a focus, the lack was striking. The boredom hit me hard.

The strategy I use to combat this is two-fold: don’t use food as your main source of entertainment and make healthier choices more fun.

Find New Hobbies

For starters, food isn’t really supposed to be fun—at least not all the time. The main purpose of eating should be nutrition and sustenance. This seems obvious to most people, but for those of us who struggle with emotional eating, it’s a hard pill to swallow.

For me, new hobbies and new sources of entertainment were the solution. When I started losing weight, I became obsessed with crossword puzzles. They kept my mind active and prevented me from snacking or constantly dwelling on food. I also started reading more—particularly these books. I began painting my nails more often, crafting, and organizing. Bottom line: You need to replace your food hobby with other hobbies, or else you’ll only feel a lacking.

Get Cooking

Still, food can’t always just be fuel. And eating the same thing for every meal does get fatiguing. Healthy eating shouldn’t be a mind numbing chore and it doesn’t have to be. The solution for me was learning to cook in a healthier way. This was the game changer. I started making over my favorite (comfort food) recipes into lighter, healthier versions and the process left me feeling satisfied, confident, and more motivated.

Losing weight shouldn’t suck all the fun out of eating. Eating can be fun and should be. But it can’t be for every meal. A meal at a favorite restaurant, a slice of birthday cake, a dinner party—these are appropriate times to make eating a part of your entertainment. But if you’re looking for some excitement at lunch time on a Tuesday afternoon, grab a salad and a crossword puzzle.

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9 thoughts on “Healthy Eating Is Boring

  1. Mary Beth

    OMG, you are so right!!!! So much of my time is consumed with everything “food”…shopping for it, cooking it, eating it, not eating it. thought everyone had these obsessive thoughts. I am in recovery and am trying to come to grips with all this. Thank you for your raw honesty, Andie. You are helping me and so many others. I started reading and doing my nails again more often to take my mind off food. I’m at work today thinking I will stop st a drug store on the way home for some green nail polish for St. Patrick’s day tomorrow! I’ll try to steer clear of the green frosted shamrock cutouts at Wegmans.

    Reply
  2. jordan @ dancing for donuts

    thank you for sharing this!!!! i totally agree – sometimes i get into ruts and i’m over trying to eat a clean diet all the time, but making the actually cooking part the main event can be really fun. i also love cooking for other people and sharing healthy recipes with them can be super rewarding!

    Reply
  3. Carly

    I am totally in agreement with you, Andie. I too am an emotional eater and love everything around the subject of cooking. Over the years, the weight has inched up until I became morbidly obese. I have recently had gastric surgery and am happy to say that I am almost half the way to my goal weight and feel so much better. But, the struggle with my mind is still not over. Physical activity, exercise, enjoying my dog, going to films and cultural events, and taking better care of myself are things I am investing in more instead of obsessing about food. I am working on it, and with the support of great blogs such as yours, will be sure to succeed.

    Reply
  4. Judy

    Wonderful advice. Food is not entertainment and it is not to be our major comforter either. It takes time to replace it, think through what we use to stuff down. Thanks Andie.

    Reply
  5. Denise Blust Vermillion

    Sometimes just one little thing will be enough to tide me over, or get past the “blah” stage. I often make your lightened up eggplant Parmesan and I splurge on Rao’s sauce. It is SO good! It feels so decadent but it’s relatively healthy and nutritious. Win win!

    Reply
  6. Belle

    Hi Andie,

    I love your recipes and your journey. Thank you for being so honest about your weight loss story – it’s so helpful. I use food as entertainment too. I think you’re right about creating new hobbies to fill the gap that used to be filled with comfort eating/drinking. Even if you’re at your ideal weight, creating new hobbies is a good idea – we’d all be better off doing a crossword or painting our nails rather than watching hours of TV!

    You’re an inspiration!

    http://www.thislifeisbelle.com

    Reply

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