When Food Can’t Fill the Void: Processing Summer Boredom Without Food

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Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Director of Content and Social Media at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

For many individuals, summer time can bring long periods of boredom or stretches of more down time than one knows what to do with. This might be due to various reasons, such as breaks from a normal school or work routine, a slower than usual schedule, vacation periods and more.

Food can easily become a way for filling time, making time pass, or creating “something” to do when not busy with activities or a full schedule.

When Food Becomes More Than Nourishment

Whenever food is used as a way to fill a void, whatever this sense of void might be, this can begin to create a chaotic relationship with food, especially when food is turned to for meeting emotional needs. For some people, boredom can be triggering because it creates a sense of void, or allows for time to process emotions, experiences, or events that have otherwise been buried under a layer of busyness.Summer food

Eating can be a way of distracting from boredom and the associated emotions that might be experienced. Even as a temporary distraction, a person may find that food helps numb boredom as long as eating is occurring. The danger in this is that emotions begin to override physical instincts of hunger and fullness, where a person may begin to ignore biological cues in favor of satiating emotional needs. If you have found yourself in this kind of situation, it may be worth examining your relationship with food.

Developing Healthy Coping Skills

If you have found yourself in a position where food is being used inappropriately, consider talking with someone you trust, particularly if this is negatively impacting your quality of life. Appropriately processing your emotions with positive coping skills can lessen your need to turn to food for emotional reasons. This might involve work with a professional, such as a therapist or counselor. A dietitian can also be helpful in learning how to renegotiate your relationship with food, especially if erratic behaviors with food have been occurring over extended periods of time.

Whether during the summer or at any time when food might seem like a solution to an emotional situation, know that there is a way for learning how to have a healthy relationship with food and body.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are your thoughts about dealing with boredom without food and ways to effectively process emotions?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 10, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com