I Eat When I Am Bored

Marandah Mangra-Dutcher, Copy Editor

Since we have been out of school and told to limit human interaction, I have discovered something about myself. I eat when I am bored; even if I am not hungry. I will be sitting and watching something on Netflix and all of the sudden my brain is like, “I need food.” It is an unfortunate habit to have, but when texting friends and browsing TikTok I have also found that I am not the only with it. So why do we eat when we are bored?

Thinking back to my childhood I remember when I was sad or frustrated my mom would sometimes offer to go get ice cream or sweets in order to make me feel better. In movies and television, shows girls who are going through a break up eat buckets of ice cream to help them get through. Ice cream and food are the solution to everything, or at least that is how I have been taught by media. It has been in-grained in my head, but there has to be a reason why it was taught to me. There has to be some truth to food fixing problems.

I took to the internet to find a scientific explanation as to why people do eat. When we eat food, our brains have increased levels of Dopamine, a hormone and neurotransmitter. Dopamine causes a feeling of achievement and that feeling is addictive. Dopamine is present in high levels when addicts take what they are addicted to. This Dopamine hormone causes us to desire the need for things that make us feel this way, and food is one of those things. Another reason why we eat when bored and upset is because food releases Endorphins. Endorphins are the main ‘feel good’ hormone, and who would not want that feeling when they are bored or upset? We gravitate towards junk food more however, because they release the most Endorphins compared to healthier foods like vegetables. I have never heard of anyone who grabs vegetables when they are upset or frustrated, it is always ice cream or chocolate.

What I do not understand is why we eat instead of exercise, exercise causes similar reactions from our brain. So why are we programmed to eat instead of exercise? The simple answer that I am going to stick with is that it is just easier to eat. It is easy to grab something from the refrigerator and sit back down rather than get up and go do physical activity that would make us feel the same way.

The only way to fix this habit is to reprogram our minds and bodies. When you feel the urge to grab food but you are not actually hungry, go for a walk or do some yoga instead. It will be a long process but I think in the long run it will be better for our health if we start now. It would be amazing if our bodies were programmed to work out instead of eat, but depending on how you view the world and how you were raised that is not necessarily true. You have to work for it and, with time, it will eventually become second nature. Just like how we eat when we are bored now.