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  • Writer's pictureBegin Within

You're Not Hungry, You're Bored!

Or…tired, overwhelmed, happy, or sad. There are countless number of feelings that we can interchangeably insert here.

The world seems to run at two speeds – zero and 100mph. We are still in a season of reduced access to activities and social networks due to COVID19. And I suspect our lives will look like this for a good while. ‘The COVID 19’ weight gain is a real thing for many Americans. Is it real for you?

Many things can trigger our wanting to eat. For example, while working from home, I found myself wanting to grab something to eat any time I saw the kitchen (trigger)…which was basically all day long. I could not possibly have been hungry all day long. I needed to search within to discover that I was bored. And stressed. And lonely. And at the time, food could provide a little bit of comfort and relief from these uncomfortable and/or undesired feelings.

Do you find yourself snacking in the middle of the afternoon or late at night?

Do you binge Netflix and by default grab chips, popcorn, or ice cream?

Do you watch TV, scroll social media, and snack all at the same time?

Each of these examples presents a scenario of boredom eating. If you found yourself nodding yes to any of the above, it’s time to begin within.

Some common reasons we turn to food for comfort include:

· A perceived stressful event or experience (ah-hem, COVID19)

· Anxiety

· Depression

· Elatedness

· FLAB – Fear, Loneliness, Anxiety and/or Anger and Boredom

Emotional eating

Many of us have adopted eating as a method for filling an emotional void, avoiding feelings and emotions, or keeping ourselves awake. I ask you to honestly assess your daily eating patterns by answering the following questions to begin within:

1. What times of the day do you eat? Meals? Snacks?

2. How do you feel before you eat?

3. How do you feel after you eat?

4. What happens right before you eat?

Emotional vs physical hunger

Many clients find it difficult to differentiate because emotional and physical hunger – because they have been perceiving them and treating them as one in the same for so long. Following are some key differences between emotional hunger and physical hunger:

1. Emotional hunger comes on abruptly and physical hunger comes on gradually.

2. When you’re emotionally hungry you crave a specific food and only that food will meet your need.

3. Emotional hunger feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly with the food you’re craving; physical hunger can typically wait.

4. Even when you’re full, you’re more likely to overeat when you’re attempting to satisfy an emotional need. When you’re eating because you’re physically hungry, you’re more likely to stop when you feel full. (More about mindful eating to come.)

5. Emotional eating often leaves behind feelings of guilt and shame because of the impulsivity attached to it. Eating when you’re physically hungry often does not.

3 things to do instead…

1. Go for a walk. The benefits of walking are endless. Walking is linked to decreased blood pressure and increased longevity. Walking will also alleviate muscle soreness from any previous workouts.

2. Get creative. Adult coloring books have become a popular activity. Activating the creative center in your brain can not only distract you; but also increases one’s overall quality of life. You can sketch with a paper and pencil, knit, scrapbook, write a poem. Do something that gets those creative juices flowing!

3. Meditate. I know, I know…easier said than done. While many people have difficulty starting a meditation practice, many could benefit from its effects.

As with many things, the first step is awareness. Use the questions above to do an honest check-in within yourself. If you are ready to dig a little deeper within, one of our Begin Within coaches would love to connect for a 30-minute goal session. Click here to schedule a complimentary virtual meeting.


Becca is a certified personal trainer with Begin Within. She holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Psychology and is passionate about inspiring and motivating others to reach their optimal potential and well-being.

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