How to avoid boredom eating (with cross stitch and other tips!)

by Laura Agar Wilson on September 5, 2013

in health and wellbeing

il_570xN.325006787via sewcutegiftsandmore on Etsy

Intrigued by that blog post title? I know that sounds utterly random but bear with me! One of my major issues before I lost weight was boredom eating. You know the drill, you have dinner, maybe even a little desert, but as soon as you sit in front of the TV you get that ‘snacky’ feeling. You trot off to the kitchen and start rustling through the cupboards in search of food. Then you plonk yourself down on the sofa, eat the snacks, and more often than not, you pop back off for more. Cue food baby and feeling of guilt for mindlessly snacking. Sound familiar to anyone?

Recently that habit has started to make a reappearance for me. While I was actively gaining weight, I just went with it because the added calories and nutrients were what my body needed at that time. Now I’ve reached a good place with my weight, I need to re address that habit so that it does not become an issue again.

Before I get into how to start overcoming that, I do think it’s important to highlight that sometimes I actually really enjoy lying on the sofa with James watching a movie eating snacks. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing that some times. However, when you find it’s happening on week day evenings while watching Supernatural (I can’t decide between Dean and Cas for who I fancy most ;-) then maybe it’s time to keep it in check.

What I have discovered about myself is that I can’t just sit in front of the TV and watch it. For some reason I have to be doing something else and that is why snacking is such an attractive habit. I wanted to find something I could do to keep my hands busy, that was relaxing and if at all possible, also productive.

That’s when I decided I would start cross stitching again! Cross stitch and embroidery hold a very dear place in my heart as they were something I learned from my Nana and Grandma. Although, I can’t imagine them doing these cross stitch patterns…


PyroDogPins on Etsy ‘Here comes the fuzz’ design

SatsumaStreet on Etsy Pretty Little Paris Design

AliciaWatkins on Etsy Taken Sampler

plasticlittlecovers on Etsy David Bowie told me to do it in a dream design

plasticlittlecovers on Etsy Swallow and Anchor Tattoo design

I just had to share those designs, LOVE the Taken one, that made me laugh my head off! I’ve ended up getting something a little more traditional, this LOVE design.

I know that I’ve focused on cross stitch here, but all sort of crafts would work such as knitting, crotchet etc.

I also find that identifying the situation and habit that the snacking takes place in, and changing it, can help. For example I used to snack like crazy on a Saturday night, usually when James was out with his friends and I was home alone. When that happens now, I make specific plans to do something, either out or at home, that does not involve being sat in front of a screen, so that I don’t slip into that bored state and go back to snacking.

Also be aware that there is a difference between boredom eating and emotional eating and you do need to ask yourself if it is really just boredom eating you are experiencing. I believe that with emotional eating it’s totally worth the time and effort to get to the bottom of it and address the cause (what might be making you feel down or upset) rather than trying to just address the symptom (the snacking or over eating).

Can you relate to boredom snacking and eating? Are you much of a crafter? Have you done cross stitch before?

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Ksenija @ Health Ninja September 5, 2013 at 12:37 pm

:) that is such a sweet post. I also noticed that keeping my mind (and especially) hands busy with something else helps me to deal with boredom eating. Especially hard are those days when you should be doing something that you really do not want to (writing an essay, cleaning, preparing for an exam) and instead start boredom eating. I decided that sometimes taking a half hour break to do something more enjoyable and then refocus on the task ahead helps a lot with this.
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Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

Oh yes, eating can be such procrastination!


Karina September 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Yep, I can relate to this issue and suspect the reason so many of us put on weight(mainly females) and get fat! The cross stitching is a great idea(especially for you, Laura; cherished memories of granny:-)or any craft ie knitting, crochet etc. I , personally love crafts and plan to indulge when I have time to kill.



Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:17 am

I think you are bang on, I definitely need to get more into crafts as a way of doing something productive yet relaxing!


Georgia September 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Love this post!

I struggle a lot with boredom eating – always have! My worst time is late afternoon around 4-5 PM when I am generally free… my hands always start to wander to the kitchen cabinets! This is the reason for any weight gain I ever have, gotta keep those hands busy!

Not overly creative myself but I find planning or prepping for dinner is good (that way I am not avoiding thinking about food but getting involved without eating) or perhaps blogging / reading. Very jealous of you creative, crafty people out there! I would put Kirstie Allsopp to shame…
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Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:18 am

I think blogging and reading can be good as long as all the lovely food doesn’t make you want to run to the kitchen and make something!


Emma September 5, 2013 at 8:39 pm

This makes a lot of sense! I’m a big crafter- love crochet and knitting and like to do it in front of a film. It’s not mindless snacking I struggle with if I have nothing to keep me focused though, but fidgeting! I can’t sit still unless my hands are occupied!
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chrissy grace September 5, 2013 at 9:15 pm

yes yes! its all about the crafts to handle the cravings!! my handy projects of knitting and english paper quilitng has been a brilliant thing to do to help me on my journey to goal! xxx
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Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:19 am

I know we talked about this a lot, I think it is a great way of helping with the snackies!


Tamzin September 5, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Yep totally I am a sucker for boredom eating! Gosh I used to cross stitch all the time!
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Rachel September 6, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Crochet is very good for stopping the snacking – you can’t eat when your fingers are tangled with wool. Unfortunately it’s so addictive you can’t go to bed either and end up at midnight saying ‘just one more row! I like to make the granny squares as you dont need to follow a pattern so can do it without thinking and it’s not too fiddly.


Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:19 am

Haha, I can imagine! I do need to try my hand at crochet again!


Lexi September 6, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Oooh I can SO empathise – one of the reasons I love crochet! I’m just a ‘busy’ person, not good at sitting still so it gives me some quiet time and I love the feeling of achievement when you have made something too.
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Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:20 am

Me too, I am so bad at just sitting!


Cat September 7, 2013 at 9:13 am

I love this idea! My problem is that I’m not a huge TV watcher though I do it to spend time with friends and family. To counter my ‘OMG I must be doing something productive’ type-A attitude, I like to draw, and recently I’ve been beading necklaces – so therapeutic and you can still pay attention to the TV! Cross stitch is a great one – it’s something I’d love to take up. Not sure I know where to begin though!?
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Laura September 7, 2013 at 11:21 am

Oh wow I used to bead necklaces ages ago! Love the idea of drawing too. With the cross stitch I would have a look at some cross stitch kits. They come with everything you need and instructions to get started. I’ve gone back to it my using a kit, then hopefully I’ll be able to follow patterns after that!


Maria @ runningcupcake September 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm

That was partly why I started to make a patchwork quilt last year- when I was off work sick for so long (waiting for and then recovering from my op) I could not really do anything- the only physical thing I was allowed to do was gentle walking, and I had to be careful not to aggravate the cyst etc. So I spent my days sitting around at home, listening to the radio, watching TV or looking on the internet. So the sewing was good to do with the radio on, and also meant I could not be munching on something mindlessly, which is so easy to do. Although I have finished the patches, I am just not sure how to do the back or the padding, so have left that for another time!
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Kate September 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I’d like to find something to do with my hands that would lead to Christmas presents for people – I’ve always been a Christmas baker but that’s quite counterproductive! I paint my nails nearly every evening and that keeps the snacks at bay. We don’t keep snack foods in and I can’t go and rustle up something if my nails aren’t totally dry!
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