When Eating Out Of Boredom: What Is It And Why Does It Happen?

There are various reasons why one eats out of boredom. Sometimes it is to fill a void, other times it is a defense mechanism or learned behavior.
When eating out of boredom: What is it and why does it happen?

Eating can be explained from different points of view. The best known are usually the biological ones. However, there are other explanations that everyone should learn. In this article, we will show other perspectives that explain when eating out of boredom.

This is something that many (if not all) have done at one time or another. For some people, it becomes something chronic since they do it every day and can not stop. They may think that there is nothing to be done to change it, but they are wrong. In fact, it is possible to change this behavior.

Furthermore, it is important to continue to be aware of the number of times a day / week you eat out of boredom. It’s an unhealthy habit. Remember that overeating can be dangerous.

In addition, we will dive deeper into the tendency to eat out of boredom and why it happens. Finally, we will focus on strategies that you can use to avoid it when it becomes detrimental to your health.

What is it about when eating out of boredom?

Food keeps the body going and makes it work properly. However, it is not the only important mechanism of the human body. As you probably know, people also need social and emotional balance to achieve well-being. Sometimes these mechanisms are mixed together and this is where one can get to eat out of boredom.

Let us now look at how Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines both of these words: First, the verb eat is defined as “to ingest through the mouth as food: to ingest, to chew, and finally to swallow.”  Second, boredom is defined as “the state of being tired and restless due to lack of interest.”

Generally, eating out of boredom refers to consuming food while your mind is tired. It has to do with your emotional reality. In fact, we talk about emotional hunger when we have problems we can not really find a solution to and instead resort to food for support.

Why does it happen and is it ever healthy?

Eating is related to a person’s learning pattern. By analyzing a variety of circumstances, it is possible to determine what drives a person to consume food.

When a person gets bored, they enter a vicious circle where their emotions, thoughts and behaviors intervene. Not knowing what to do can be overwhelming for anyone. The result is that the person tries to end the vicious circle by looking for something to entertain himself with. In this case, it’s food.

Emotional eating and boredom

We all know how hard it can be to work with his mind. Thoughts, negativity and worries race through your head. In such a situation, it is very common to find a defense mechanism that can help deal with all that pain. Therefore, haste is a major characteristic when eating out of boredom.

It has no limits and produces guilt and shame:  Whereas emotional hunger is something that happens gradually, can wait and usually does not produce negative emotions.

In fact, various studies focus on the relationship between overeating and emotions. For example, Cordoba, along with his colleagues in their article published in the Journal of Health Psychology , shows how people tend to overeat in the face of negative emotions.

Man lying on sofa with pizza

Therefore, whenever a similar situation arises, this person will immediately think of the one thing that gave them a good feeling at that time: Food. This can become unhealthy if done too much (when a person makes it a habit).

We must also not forget that eating triggers the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine. This, of course, can encourage someone to continue the habit of eating out of boredom.

On the other hand, there are times, such as stressful situations, where not knowing how to react can lead to a person eating out of boredom. This can be part of an adaptive and natural process as long as it is laborious.

Strategies for not eating out of boredom

Eating out of boredom is something that does not always happen consciously. It would certainly be good for your well-being if you learned to identify it. Are there strategies to help avoid it? Let’s see.

  • Change your activities. Instead of eating when you are bored, you can try an activity that strengthens your well-being and at the same time makes you happy. For example, exercise increases endorphin levels, which will make you feel comfortable. This, of course, depends on each individual person. It is up to you to find the activity that suits you best.
  • Keep track of what you eat. Write down what you eat every day. That way, you will become aware of what you are getting into your body. It will also help you remember where you tend to eat. It becomes easier to stop eating out of boredom when you realize how often you do it.
  • Avoid temptations. When shopping, do not buy the things that you usually eat when you are bored. These are usually snacks and such.
  • Time. Do not drag your meals too long. It is better to eat small portions often, than a huge meal once or twice a day.
  • Satiety. If you eat food that satisfies you, it will be harder to end up eating out of boredom because you will feel full.
  • Control your emotions. Acknowledge your feelings, explore them and do not let them take over. Remember you are in control. This way you can avoid eating out of boredom. It also requires self-knowledge and willpower.
Woman eats out of boredom


After all, you can seek professional help to do these things. For example, you can make use of nutritionists, doctors or psychologists. The important thing is to find strategies that make your life as healthy as possible.

In short, there are various reasons why one eats out of boredom. Sometimes it’s to fill a void. Other times it is a defense mechanism or learned behavior. For some people, this may be a way to break a vicious circle.

For others, it is about the feeling of satisfaction generated by the release of neurotransmitters. Whatever it is, it is important to identify whether it is too much or not. This way you will be able to do something and change this habit.

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