Like anything else, overeating is a habit. It’s easy for us food lovers to get fixated on food, and look forward to meal time. Enjoying eating is fine, unless of course you are overeating. Sometimes we eat just because we love to eat, or because we’re bored it’s “something to do”. Or we eat because we think we should (it’s lunchtime, or others are eating).
Sometimes changing the habit of overeating is as easy as getting used to doing something else instead of eating as a pastime. And if you have something to DO, you’re less likely to sit around and nosh.
If you are struggling with overeating, here’s my list of 50 things you can do instead of eating. These are just some ideas to inspire you — maybe one of my ideas will make you think of something else you’d like to do.
Notice that I did not include “watch TV” on the list because it is too easy to mindlessly snack while watching TV. Also, note that these are not all things to do that burn calories. There are lots of things you can do that are just fun and enjoyable — that take your mind off of eating.
50 Things To Do Instead of Eating
1. Go for a walk. I do my best to get in 10,000 steps or more each day.
2. Lift weights.
3. Go swimming.
4. Read a book. (Best if you can listen to an audiobook while you walk or exercise or garden.)
5. Work. (If you tend to eat at your desk, institute a new rule that you can only eat when you’re not working.)
6. Take a bubble bath. This is a great habit to get into at night, instead of sitting in front of the TV, where you are likely to be tempted to snack.)
7. Go rollerblading.
8. Ride a bike.
9. Take a yoga class.
10. Swing the kettlebell.
11. Clean out your closet. If you’re losing weight, it’s a good idea to box up some clothes you won’t be needing anymore.
12. Go for a jog. I never thought I’d enjoy running, but I’m starting this week to learn how to do barefoot running.
13. Listen to an audiobook while you do something else (do the dishes, organize your closet, or what-have-you).
14. Take a dance class.
15. Take a language class — learn Spanish or French or Chinese. If you can’t afford a class, join a local Meetup.com group.
16. Do a jigsaw puzzle — this is a fun thing to do with kids.
17. Go for a hike.
18. Go camping for the weekend. It’s not so easy to overeat while camping — since you can control what you pack and what you prepare (and food preparation takes some effort).
19. Go see a movie. Skip the popcorn — bring a bottle of water only.
20. Start a garden. Not only does gardening burn a lot of calories, but it’s a great feeling to grow your own food. If you don’t have a place to garden at home, look into joining a community garden.
21. Work on your tan. I love the feeling of being tan, and it’s great for getting vitamin D. I’m committed to taking 10-30 minutes every day in the summer to sitting outside and getting sunshine (this can also be done while gardening).
22. Volunteer. There are lots of volunteer opportunities online.
23. Raise chickens.
24. Play with your kids. Throw a ball, play Barbies, go swimming, read them stories.
25. Go to the library.
26. Plan a trip. Maybe you can’t afford to go for another year or two, but you can start planning and saving now.
27. Buy a rental property. Instead of spending your weekends lounging around in front of the TV and snacking, go to open houses. Maybe you can’t afford to buy a property right now, but you could start looking around and saving your money to invest.
28. Finish your degree. Maybe you never got your college degree, or you want to get an advanced degree.
29. Shop for new clothes. You don’t have to buy anything — just look and think about what you will get when you lose weight.
30. Play chess.
31. Do crossword puzzles.
32. Learn to knit.
33. Take up photography.
34. Learn to program computers.
35. Stain some furniture or paint a room.
36. Plan a kitchen remodel. Again, maybe you can’t afford it right now, but you can start dreaming and planning.
37. Plan a family reunion.
38. Take up quilting or sewing.
39. Do sudoku.
40. Clean out the garage.
41. Have a garage sale.
42. Take a spinning class.
43. Work with a trainer at a gym.
44. Take up surfing.
45. Get a part-time job doing something you enjoy or want to learn more about. Maybe you can work at a nursery and learn about plants or teach a yoga class.
46. Start a home business. You could teach piano or be a tutor, or start an Etsy shop. You can use the extra money you earn to do on vacation or save it to invest in real estate.
47. Read all the classics. Work your way through all the classic literature you missed in high school and college. (Again, best if you can listen to the audiobooks while you do something else.)
48. Get a rebounder. Burn calories while you watch TV or listen to audiobooks.
49. Take a martial arts class. Nothing like getting a black belt to get your self esteem up!
50. Take up rock climbing.