Food-Free Rewards to Replace Mindless Eating

By Ayotunde Adeyeri, MD, FASMBS, Medical Director

After weight loss surgery, you’re embarking on a transformative journey to better health. One of the keys to long-term success in maintaining weight loss is finding alternatives to replacing mindless eating. Instead of reaching for chips or ice cream, it’s time to explore non-food activities to provide emotional comfort when you feel sad, stressed, lonely, excited–or simply bored.

Jot down five things you enjoy doing that are not food-related. Keep it on your phone, desk, the refrigerator—or wherever this list will be consistently viewed. I’ve noted some recommendations as a starting point:

Dive into Creative Outlets

Engaging in creative hobbies can be incredibly satisfying. Consider taking up painting, writing, knitting or rekindle an activity you loved but left behind. Pick up a musical instrument you haven’t touched in years and start to play again.

Connect with Nature

Spending time in nature is a wonderful way to unwind and find inner peace. Explore local parks, go for an autumn walk at the Shore. One of my patients signed up for a birdwatching walking tour series and loves it.

Embrace Physical Activity

Regular exercise helps you boost metabolism, burn calories and release endorphins, elevating your mood and reducing stress. Whether it’s hiking, dancing, swimming, or practicing yoga, there are a world of fun physical activities waiting for you to explore.

Learn Something New

Acquiring new skills can be both challenging and exciting. Consider enrolling in classes or workshops that pique your interest, whether it’s cooking, photography, or learning a new language. The sense of achievement from learning something new can replace the temporary comfort of mindless eating.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness and meditation can help manage stress and offset emotional eating triggers. Incorporate daily mindfulness sessions into your routine to develop a deeper sense of self-awareness and emotional resilience.

Volunteer and Give Back

Giving back to your community can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about, and you’ll make a positive impact and find a sense of purpose and fulfillment. You’ll also meet a whole new community of people. You’ll also meet a whole new community of people.

Your journey to a healthier lifestyle is not just about your physical appearance; it also includes nurturing your emotional and mental well-being. By discovering and embracing food-free activities that are meaningful to you, you’ll not only replace mindless eating, but also enrich your life in ways you never thought possible.