Does ADHD Make You Look Fat?

Jump to:

If you’re one of those size 2 ADD Moms, feel free to skip this article. But if losing weight is a challenge for you, you might be interested to know that your ADHD is part of the problem.

Consider some of the typical symptoms of ADHD: impulsive behavior, lack of focus, poor planning skills and lack of follow through. Even things like always running late can be a factor.

How do those things affect your weight? Hmmm…..

You walk past Cinnabon and can’t resist the smell so you buy a cinnamon roll or two. Impulsive behavior.

You’re trying to do more than one thing at a time and you’re mindlessly grabbing food and sticking it in your mouth. Or maybe it’s that candy dish on your desk that you reach into. Lack of focus.

Making dinner based on what’s in the house, or worse yet, hitting the drive through because you haven’t planned your meals for the week or followed through and done the shopping.

Running late? There’s that handy drive through again.

Women with ADHD have extra trouble losing weight when they try to stick to a diet, too. A diet like South Beach has your meals pretty much laid out for you, but boredom can quickly set in and then the diet is over.

And did you know that women with ADHD have abnormally high cravings for junk food, wheat and dairy products? (I could personally live the rest of my life eating macaroni and cheese.)

ADHD can play a role in weight issues in other ways too. We may get over involved in a certain project (hyper focus) or just distracted in general and not realize that we’re hungry until we are starved.

Once that happens, we have a tendency to eat too much, especially if what we reach for is junk food, wheat or dairy. It’s as though we aren’t focused enough to realize when we’re full.

In addition, our emotions can play into our eating habits. We eat to self medicate or because we’re bored or lonely or feeling bad about ourselves. Eating becomes comfort and our bodies pay the price.

So does all this mean that we ADD Moms are doomed to plus size jeans?

No. Now that we understand the problems, we can find solutions.

Look for a new way of eating. Nothing strict or too limiting. Make sure it’s something that you can do for the rest of your life. Weight Watchers is one of those plans.

Start planning your meals. There are lots of sites online that will do it for you – some for free and most for a reasonable amount. Sparkpeople is one of my favorite sites and they offer meal planning for free.

Recognize your trigger foods (like my mac and cheese) that cause you to regularly overeat. You don’t have to give them up, but you can limit how many times you cook them. And you can have a salad first.

Concentrate on buying real food instead of processed food. It’s better for you and probably cheaper too. If it has an ingredient that you can’t pronounce, you should probably not buy it.

Take a look at who you’re hanging with. I found out a long time ago that my brother-in-law Steve was not the guy to join Weight Watchers with; if there was a bakery within 5 miles, he could find it. And talk me into eating with him.

Consider some extreme self care or even therapy. If you’re eating for emotional reasons, you need to address that. I’d also recommend Geneen Roth’s book, “When Food is Love“. Lots of good information there.

Bottom line: ADHD can affect your weight just as it affects other areas of your life. But you always have a choice: you can let it run your life and make excuses or you can work on managing it.

Your choice.

Picture of Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle

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

Read More

6 Responses

  1. I am a 17 year old girl. I usually have a hard time sleeping but lately I can only fall asleep and get 4 to 5 hours. I can’t focus in school anymore. I need to walk around or do something. I am 170 pounds and 5″4′. I used to binge eat alot, but I’m getting semi better. I have never been diagnosed with anything besides a mild condition. I am a very tempermental person, and can get mad very easily. I had mood swings as a child, and thought nothing of it. Do you think I should get checked out? Also my granpa was bipolar and I think my dad has adhd as well. He is just like me.

  2. I think that a check up would be a good idea Krista. If you can, I would suggest starting with a medical doctor then seeing a psychologist about the possible ADHD.