True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

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saxmaniac1987
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True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby saxmaniac1987 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:26 pm UTC

Oh hey everyone. On today's show, we're following a 22 year old college graduate who is grudgingly working a job that leaves him sitting in front of a computer most of the day, bored out of his mind. 6 feet tall and weighing in at roughly 260 pounds, he comes from a household culture that champions large amounts of delicious food, and eschews physical activity. The steamy, blazing heat of suburban Philadelphia makes outdoor activity nigh impossible, just to add insult to injury. All these factors are causing our young hero to finally be concerned about his weight. He notes "If I was working a job where I was on my feet all day and physically active, I wouldn't have as much of a problem." Bound to his office by the infamous Cat5, he turns to you, viewers, for help. He wants to become a fitter, happier, version of himself, and to live a long, happy life...
"A witty saying proves nothing" - Voltaire

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Solt
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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby Solt » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:06 pm UTC

The exercise from a semi-active job would help a little, but not too much. It's the food. You have to cut back, there's no way around it.
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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:33 pm UTC

I have the exact same situation, made worse by the fact that my desk is very close to the vending machine.

There are a number of things that have helped:
1) Cut back hugely on the alcohol. I was originally drinking ~5 pints of ale every night, more at weekends. Then I went teetotal for 2 months, and now barely drink any alcohol at all. Of course, this doesn't help you unless you're also a big drinker.
2) Start calorie counting. Judging by your weight and height, you should be consuming around 2100 to 2200 calories per day as a resting rate just by being alive. What with driving to work, walking across car parks, and various other things you do throughout the day, you are probably burning well in excess of the "men's average" of 2500kcal/day. If you count your calories and stay under 2000kcal/day, you should drop at least a pound per week. As a guide, there are 3500 calories in a pound of fat. Burn off 3500 calories, you drop a pound.
3) Take up cycling. Maybe not as appealing for you in sunny Philly. For myself, I started doing ~10mile bike rides 2 or 3 times a week in the evenings after work (while still keeping my calorie consumption below 2000). Before that, I took an hour out each evening to walk. Again, a good way to burn off the calories, and doesn't require the purchase of a bike.
4) Bring an mp3 player to work. It helps with the boredom.

I've managed to go from being pretty overweight (not quite obese though), to what you see in my avatar in the space of about 4 months. Still a bit of fat around the belly, but that seems to be the last bit to go (and it ain't going without a fight). For me, the biggest difference was made when I stopped the heavy drinking. The other two things have not made as big a difference as the alcohol.

However, I think Solt is underestimating the difference a more active job could make. Sitting at a desk is one of the most passive things a human body can do, and you burn almost no calories while doing it, compared to standing.

Edit: I know the idea of physical activity may be unwelcome, but there's an upside. Muscle tissue passively burns more calories than fat tissue. When you've built up a bit more muscle, you'll be able to eat what you're used to without putting on weight. Another upside is that as you burn off fat, the less you'll suffer in the heat. Probably seems obvious, but it's worth saying.
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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:41 pm UTC

Also, a huge help to me has been: when I start to feel hungry, as in the urge to get up and get a snack overrides gravity's warm embrace, I get a glass of water first, drink it, and then wait five minutes. Most of the time, that settles the hunger issues without adding calories. Also, since we seem to be of a very similar framework and background, you'd be surprised how much better you feel drinking a lot more water in a day. It sounds platitudinous, but I was surprised after a few days.

saxmaniac1987
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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby saxmaniac1987 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:39 pm UTC

Thanks for the suggestion so far, gentlemen. Some more facts:

1. I don't drink much anymore. I hit my peak during late junior year of college, but haven't had the money (or, more accurately, the friends locally) to do much drinking. So that helps.
2. I'm trying pretty hard to get a teaching job. That would solve a LOT of the problems with inactivity and boredom.

I definitely need to find some source of not crappy water at work. I hate spending the money on bottled water, but the fountain is warm and tastes terrible. I guess I can cycle more. Unfortunately I'm not in the city, so I'm battling a TON of hills. What are some tasty, filling, but low calorie lunch ideas? I have a refrigerator and toaster oven at work, but no microwave...
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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby Nath » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:47 pm UTC

Why not just fill a water bottle at home and bring it with you?

In addition to bringing your diet under control, it'll help to find some form of physical activity you enjoy. I had a fairly sedentary childhood too, and now enjoy combat sports and weight training, both of which are usually done indoors.

Oh, and do you drink soda? That's another easy place to cut out some useless calories.

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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby TheNorm05 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:16 am UTC

Well here's an idea. Get yourself a cucumber or two a day, slice them without peeling them, and maybe add a bit of lemon and salt and have at it. Cucumbers have a good deal of weight because of the water they store and are very low in calories, though most of them are sugar so that may be an issue. I hear it's also good for your skin(for acne and whatnot but I wouldn't know firsthand). As for it being too hot to really go outside I feel you. In Texas it's almost always above 90 unless it's been dark for an hour or more. My suggestion would be to go out at night or early morning(like 10pm or 5:30am). Find yourself an outdoor track and just go every night for a walk, or a light jog if you feel comfortable. Drinking water throughout the day is always a good idea, and chewing gum can also help stave off cravings.

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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby fersrs » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:02 am UTC

I was in a similar situation, and I've found a few things that really help. If you eat low or zero calorie foods (carrots, celery, broccoli) when you get the urge to eat out of boredom you can cut way down on calories as well as filling up so you don't overeat during meals. When it's too hot to exercise outside, go to a gym. If you can't afford a membership buy a used stationary bike; the older models are some of the cheapest home exercise equipment I've found. What was hardest for me is adjusting to not being completely full all the time. If you can keep your stomach filled at between 25 and 50 percent full all day without going over for a day or so your body will adjust and you won't feel the need to eat when you're not hungry. Eating healthy snacks between smaller meals insures that you don't go hungry, and drink plenty of green tea or water. http://www.livestrong.com/'s MyPlate lets you record what you eat, and you can set goals and record exercise as well.

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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby Bright Shadows » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:33 am UTC

saxmaniac1987 wrote:Thanks for the suggestion so far, gentlemen. Some more facts:

1. I don't drink much anymore. I hit my peak during late junior year of college, but haven't had the money (or, more accurately, the friends locally) to do much drinking. So that helps.
2. I'm trying pretty hard to get a teaching job. That would solve a LOT of the problems with inactivity and boredom.

I definitely need to find some source of not crappy water at work. I hate spending the money on bottled water, but the fountain is warm and tastes terrible. I guess I can cycle more. Unfortunately I'm not in the city, so I'm battling a TON of hills. What are some tasty, filling, but low calorie lunch ideas? I have a refrigerator and toaster oven at work, but no microwave...

Gogo peanut / almond butter toast and bananas. It is the breakfast lunch and dinner of champions. Add milk if you want.

Toast and soup is good if you have a nice thermos. Again, bananas are a nice fruit. Apples rock too.

Broccoli and dip of some sort may be worth trying. My experiences are limited on this one.

Tacos are delicious. Focus on beans if you like them in any way, because they hold the things to some form of 'healthy'. Small amounts of good cheese makes better taco fixings than lots of meh cheese.

Would someone steal a water purifying pitcher? If not, grabbing one of those to stick in the fridge would work. They aren't super expensive anymore.

When battling hills, walking up them and trying to roll over the smaller ones from a larger hill both help. These seem kinda obvious, but if you do them every time, and not just when you're tiring, it is a big difference.
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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby dreamcatcher » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:26 pm UTC

@OP: I'm at the exact same age, height and weight. I also have an office-and-desk-bound job. So I'll be watching this thread closely :)

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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby DrStalker » Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:54 pm UTC

Very similar situation myself, and the easiest things I found that have helped have been removing all refined sugar from my diet (which wasn't as hard as I thought it would be) and drinking water or sparkiling water only (which was really hard, and I had to do it by using unsweetened fruit juice as an intermediate step)

I also avoid fake-sweet things like diet coke, because I know from past attempts that switching to diet softdrink doesn't break the habbit and wouldn't last. (I also have a theory that when you taste fake sweeteners it fakes your body into prepping for a sugar influx and messes with insulin levels, but I have no data to back that up. )
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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby Nimblefinger » Mon Sep 06, 2010 8:06 pm UTC

I eat a lot because most of the time I'm pretty physically active, doing lots of sports etc. Whenever I've needed to cut down my eating due to a reduction in training or whatever, I've found myself also eating out of boredom etc, but I found some of the following things worked for me:

Instead of eating, have a cup of coffee/green tea. These get around the yuck water problem, though they are hot obviously.

Celery used to be a good snack - I've grown bored of it now, but every now and then it is tasty still.

Try to avoid low GI foods in the evening. That is, foods with sugars which are rapidly absorbed, as opposed to more starchy foods or things with protein and fat, so skipping the sugary dessert and having the same number of calories in the form of crackers and cheese or some such.


Otherwise I'd suggest going with increasing exercise. You could try shorter bouts of exercises, rather than a horrible sweaty hour or half hour run in the heat, try simply doing 4 or 5 100m sprints with enough time to catch your breath inbetween. That would take maybe 5-10 mins tops, is fun since its really intense, and it boosts your metabolism for a long time afterwards. Even just doing a couple before a shower in the morning could be good.

Another way to sneak exercise in that work in any temperature, is doing some bodyweight squats in the shower (if there is space). Starting with a few and just add one each day or something like that is a good way to motivate yourself to increase the amount you do, maybe even do this with sprints or pushups or something.

Only other thing I'd say, is be careful of allowing yourself to eat a little bit more/grab a snack just because you did a small amount of exercise that day...I have fallen into this trap before. A few pushups doesn't merit it, you'll overall get a net calorie gain if you burn 50 calories on pushups, and then eat 100 in the form of a muffin, and its quite easy to kid yourself about the numbers in this sort of thing (again, from experience).

Hope some of my ideas seem vaguely sensible - and good luck!
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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby TheNorm05 » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:27 am UTC

Nimblefinger wrote:I eat a lot because most of the time I'm pretty physically active, doing lots of sports etc. Whenever I've needed to cut down my eating due to a reduction in training or whatever, I've found myself also eating out of boredom etc, but I found some of the following things worked for me:

Instead of eating, have a cup of coffee/green tea. These get around the yuck water problem, though they are hot obviously.

Celery used to be a good snack - I've grown bored of it now, but every now and then it is tasty still.

Try to avoid low GI foods in the evening. That is, foods with sugars which are rapidly absorbed, as opposed to more starchy foods or things with protein and fat, so skipping the sugary dessert and having the same number of calories in the form of crackers and cheese or some such.


Otherwise I'd suggest going with increasing exercise. You could try shorter bouts of exercises, rather than a horrible sweaty hour or half hour run in the heat, try simply doing 4 or 5 100m sprints with enough time to catch your breath inbetween. That would take maybe 5-10 mins tops, is fun since its really intense, and it boosts your metabolism for a long time afterwards. Even just doing a couple before a shower in the morning could be good.

Another way to sneak exercise in that work in any temperature, is doing some bodyweight squats in the shower (if there is space). Starting with a few and just add one each day or something like that is a good way to motivate yourself to increase the amount you do, maybe even do this with sprints or pushups or something.

Only other thing I'd say, is be careful of allowing yourself to eat a little bit more/grab a snack just because you did a small amount of exercise that day...I have fallen into this trap before. A few pushups doesn't merit it, you'll overall get a net calorie gain if you burn 50 calories on pushups, and then eat 100 in the form of a muffin, and its quite easy to kid yourself about the numbers in this sort of thing (again, from experience).

Hope some of my ideas seem vaguely sensible - and good luck!


I'm not sure doing body weight squats in the shower is a good idea, since you might slip and hurt yourself. That's just my common sense screaming at me though. What I was doing though was pretty similar. I'd work out before I showered so by the time you're showering you're all hot, so even a cold shower(we didn't have power for the whole summer.. miserable) feels nice and you feel refreshed and ready for the day.

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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby Nimblefinger » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:02 pm UTC

I should probably have disclaimered my massive, massive lack of common sense - that is a more sensible idea.
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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby Samfox » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:36 am UTC

Well if he happens to live near his job why not start with walking there. Also, healthier food, working out.....Lot's of ways to imrpove this. Or switch job if he finds anything fancy where he has to move more....

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Re: True Life: I eat because I'm bored.

Postby koipen » Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:17 pm UTC

I say that your lifestyle should be not diet, but regular. If you diet, and then go back to your old habits,you only receive bad feelings.

1. Eat regularly. This way your body knows that it will receive food at certain times, and you won't be hungry. 5 times a day is a good rhythm: breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and evening snack. Breakfast should be big enough to get you to lunch, and snacks don't have to be too big.

2. Eat well. Know how to use different ingredients to make delicious food. Olive oil, fish and rye are all tasty and good ingredients to use.Remember to eat enough fat and proteins, and cut back on white bread.

3. Remember to reward. Chocolate bar, if not taken too often, is good treat for yourself. Starvation leads to temptations.

4. Caffein is not needed. If you sleep enough (which you will, if you don't use caffein), you won't need caffein. It will keep you awake at evenings.


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