Last time we talked about how cognitive functioning can affect your attempts at weight loss.
This time, we are going to talk about self regulation and how that affects your weight.
I can hear you thinking, you know. 😉
You’re thinking that if you didn’t have such poor self regulation skills, you wouldn’t have a weight problem. Duh.
OK. That’s true as far as it goes, but it’s not all of the story. Your weight is more about your ADHD brain and less about your ability to live on dried oatmeal paste than you think.
Part of being poor self regulators includes being poor self observers. Ever see a picture of yourself at a much younger age, wished you were that thin now, and realized that at the time you thought you were fat? Case closed.
So when we are poor self observers and regulators, we tend to underestimate how much we have eaten. I know I am good at this. I focus on the healthy things I ate that day and completely ignore that bag of chips or extra bowl of mac and cheese.
As ADDers, we also tend to be grazers. We eat small amounts throughout the day rather than three meals. The Mediterranean and South Beach diets work that way, and they are effective, but they are also diet plans. When you graze throughout the day with no thought as to what or how much you’re eating, you tend to gain weight.
Our poor self awareness also extends to things like thirst and hunger. We have a hard time telling when we’re really hungry and not just bored. And according to Dr. Olivardia, once we have a growling stomach or are really thirst, we have already waited too long for a meal or some water.
We are also good at ignoring cues that tell us we are hungry or full, which according to Dr. Olivardia, is a form of eating disorder.
Poor sleep habits can also lead to weight gain.
Got your attention now, don’t I?
We ADDers are bad about getting enough sleep. Many of us are night owls to begin with, and most of us have trouble transitioning into or from sleep, meaning we may get even less sleep than we need.
Sleep deprivation decreases leptin in our body. This triggers our body to go into survival mode, storing fat and lowering metabolism.
So how do all of these things help you in terms of weight loss?
Well, you can start by getting more sleep more consistently.
And as far as the self regulatory skills go, here are some ideas:
Find a diet plan you can live with. Something sensible, please. At the very least, eliminate processed foods.
Increase your intake of fruits, veggies, and lean protein. That should be the basis of your diet.
Put your fork down between bites and have a sip of water instead.
Drink water throughout the day.
Portion your food out for the day or the week.
Find someone to motivate you.
And once you have those things in place, think about getting out and enjoying life without focusing on food and weight all the time. There’s more to life.
This series isn’t over yet! Stay tuned!