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.
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.