How ADHD Affects Your Weight, Part 3

Weight loss, ADHD an add woman

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Last time we talked about how poor self regulatory skills and poor self awareness can affect your weight.

Emotions and Your Weight

Today’s topic is how your emotions can have an affect on your weight.

Weight loss, ADHD an add woman


I probably don’t need to tell you that many of us reach for food when we’re bored, upset, or anxious. This is a form of self stimulation and is often mistaken for depression.

We also use food as a reward or for the pleasure it brings us. Food itself and the act of eating can be very sensual, which believe it or not, is a very grounding sensation. It makes us calmer, more relaxed.

In general, we ADDers are impatient, have a hard time delaying gratification, are impulsive and looking for a quick solution. If we’re hungry, needy, bored, etc, we often reach for food.

And when we reach for something to eat, it’s rarely something healthy. Whoever rewarded themselves with a few carrot sticks? Carrot cake is more like it.

Self Medicating

So when we choose that slice of cake over some veggies, we are adding sugar and carbs to our body. Sugar releases dopamine into our system, carbs introduce serotonin. Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters that regulate learning, mood, appetite, sleep, and attention.

On the surface, that sounds like a good thing – regulating our attention, mood, and other good things. In reality, it’s a form of self medicating. We use food – mostly sugar and carbs – to make us feel better.

Think about it. What’s your go to comfort food? Mine is macaroni and cheese. Your might be cookies or mashed potatoes or a few slices of bread. Carbs and sugar.

When you self medicate – an attempt to treat your ADHD symptoms – you add put so good things into your body, which can cause you to gain weight.

And when you gain weight, you feel bad about yourself. You may even get depressed. Then what happens?

How about some pasta and cake to make you feel better?

Losing Weight with ADHD

So what’s the answer here? How do you lose weight when you have ADHD?

Well there are more positive ways to reduce your symptoms than food.

  • Start by making sure you are getting enough sleep. Remember, not getting enough sleep can make your body start to store excess fat and slow down your metabolism.
  • Next add in some physical activity. Exercise is great at helping you lose weight and it also has a positive effect on your ADHD symptoms. That’s a win-win.
  • Try journaling as a way to get your feelings out, rather than suppressing them with food.
  • Make sure you get enough water throughout the day. Proper hydration not only helps your body flush out fat, it also helps your brain function more effectively.
  • Finally, concentrate on whole foods rather than processed ones. It’s better for your body and your weight.
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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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