The 3 Biggest Obstacles To Losing Weight With ADHD


The 3 Biggest Obstacles To Losing Weight With ADHD
Have you ever wondered why people with ADHD struggle with their weight? This article tells why!

3. The Use of  Food to Self-Medicate
Food is often an easy, fast way to alleviate stress, anger, sadness, loneliness or boredom, along with several other emotions that may  come up in an individual’s life.  Since food is readily available, legal and provides immediate gratification, many individuals will reach for food to alleviate many of these emotions.  Sometimes individuals tell me that food helps them to stay focused and grounded while studying or before doing a boring or difficult task.  Boredom is a big problem for individuals with ADHD and can also add to the desire to use food to alleviate these feelings. Since individuals with ADHD have low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for the reward center of the brain, many will use food to help elevate these levels, while providing them a sense of satisfaction and pleasure. 

How does one go about addressing the above issues that lead to problems with weight regulation?  Firstly, if you have an eating disorder, do seek help from an individual who is trained in treating this problem.  Make sure that this individual is also knowledgeable about ADHD and how that diagnosis may figure into the treatment protocol.  If you have an ongoing struggle to lose weight, work on developing good organizational and planning tools.  There are many great computer programs and APPS you can put on your iPhone or android to help with meal planning and shopping while out about.  Get in the habit of meditating and developing awareness around all your activities, as well as eating.  A great book on mindfulness is Dr. Lidia Zylowsak’s book entitled The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD.    It even comes with a CD that walks you through the meditation process.  Make a rule not to eat while doing other activities. If you have a tendency to hyper focus and skip meals, set an alarm to remind yourself that it is time to take a meal break.  If you are not on medication for your ADHD already, consider trying a medication regimen, which can be very helpful in keeping one’s attention and focus as well as lessen the tendency to be impulsive. If you are on medication, make sure you take it regularly and that it is working properly. Develop a daily exercise program including some form of cardio vascular exercise.  Work with an ADHD coach or counselor that can help you develop and stick with your routine and schedule. In seeking professional help, be sure that the clinician you are working with is knowledgeable about ADHD, since developing a treatment protocol without considering the specific challenges facing these individuals, can be detrimental to obtaining a successful treatment outcome.

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Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Leslie Rouder


Leslie Rouder, LCSW, Cht. 

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Location: Boca Raton, FL
Credentials: CHT, LCSW
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Empowering Women, Holistic Coach
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