If you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), you know about many of it’s symptoms, such as forgetfulness and not being able to focus or concentrate, but did you know that problems with gaining or losing weight can partially be attributed to ADHD as well?
How can having ADHD make you gain weight?
First of all, you don’t misunderstand. The fact that you have ADHD is not why you have gained weight. However, there are a number of ADHD symptoms that can indirectly contribute to unwanted weight gain. Your inability to pay attention and your tendency to live in the future rather than the moment mean that you may often eat food or more of it than you realize. Poor planning and organizational skills mean that the process of planning meals, making a list, doing the shopping, and then preparing meals may be too overwhelming for you. As a result, you may turn to less healthy alternatives like fast food.
When you have trouble making decisions, such as which diet to follow or what to eat for dinner, you often end up making poor decisions or no decision at all, waiting until you are so hungry that you eat whatever is in front of you. When you have ADHD, you also have trouble with self regulation and self observance. This means that you are really unaware of how much you are eating throughout the day.
How does having ADHD interfere with weight loss?
Some of the same symptoms that may make you gain weight can also interfere with weight loss. For instance, unless you keep track of what you eat by recording it somewhere, you may forget what you have eaten and accidentally overeat. Your poor decision making skills can make it difficult for you to decide on a weight loss program that is right for you, resulting in either a poor choice or none at all. Your impulsive nature make take over when you’re hungry, causing you to “treat” yourself to something that is not part of your diet plan. And finally, a combination of eating too few calories and not getting enough sleep can cause your body to retain fat and slow down your metabolism.
What can you do to lose weight successfully?
When people with ADHD find something new that they are interested in, they tend to jump in with both feet. In terms of weight loss, you may join a gym, buy new exercise clothes, get rid of all of the “bad” food in your house, and start restricting your calories severely while going to the gym every day. No one can keep up that pace for long, and soon you may find yourself going back to old habits.
- Work on changing unhealthy habit at a time.
- Drink more glass of water everyday.
- Change an unhealthy snack for a healthy one.
- When you are ready, choose a mainstream weight loss plan and set reasonable goals.
- Walk more every day.
Making these small changes gradually will help you set a foundation for successful weight loss.
What about ADHD medications? Don’t they help you lose weight?
Yes and no. When you first begin taking a medication for ADHD, you may experience a temporary loss of appetite and lose some weight. This is only temporary, however, and cannot be relied on for weight loss. On the other hand, if you do take a medication for your ADHD, it will help you manage your symptoms more effectively, making it less likely that they will interfere with your weight loss efforts.
Like many things when it comes to ADHD, managing your weight can be more difficult because of it. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t reach and maintain a healthy weight. Start with small healthy changes and consider medication to help you manage your symptoms, and you will find that losing weight when you have ADHD doesn’t have to be such a struggle.