Weight loss is difficult for most adults, but even more so for those who have ADHD. Part of the reason is the tendency for impulsiveness that comes with ADHD. This can lead to cravings for foods that are high in fat and sugar. The other difficulty is dopamine. The ADHD brain typically has low dopamine and the dopamine boost from carbohydrates and sweets can become almost addictive. So, if you have ADHD, any strategy to lose weight has to take these factors into consideration. Here are some tips for building a weight loss plan you can stick with.
Think long term – Understand that you are not embarking on a short term fix to get your body to a weight level that is considered normal. Your ADHD brain makes it all too easy to immediately fall into bad eating habits. You want to set up nutritional and exercise habits that will keep you weight under control for the long run.
Set realistic goals – The first step in that process is to set goals that are realistic and then work to exceed them over time. For example, set your goals for exercise to something you know is achievable and sustainable. Then move the bar a little higher once you’ve accomplished those early goals. This will prevent the frustration of not meeting your goals and giving up.
Be informed – Take the time to learn about what nutrition works best for you. Consult your doctor or nutritionist and be aware of what foods will satisfy you without adding weight. Research on weight loss shows that dieters who understand the importance of good nutrition are more likely to lose weight, and less likely to regain it.
Establish a plan – Set up a schedule for meals and exercise, including what the meals with consist of, and how long each exercise session will be. Build flexibility into your plan, but stick with it. If you set realistic goals for yourself, this won’t be so difficult.
Track your progress – Keep a record of what you are doing and how you stand in relation to your goals. This should be simple, not a burden. The main idea is to keep yourself motivated as you move toward your goals.
Build in motivation – Give yourself rewards when you reach a milestone. Also, if you need help, enlist friends or a family member to help you stay focused on achieving your goals.
ADHD can lead to overeating and excessive weight gain. Over time, this can result in other health problems. However, the food and exercise routines you build as part of an informed dieting plan can keep you in good health throughout your life.