ADHD and Snacking Leading To Weight Gain

Ever since I can remember my hands have had to do something.  When watching TV I have had to write, play computer games, or browse the internet at the very least.  When I was in college I was diagnosed with what my doctor referred to as full spectrum ADHD.  This is because I present multiple different effects of ADHD.  One of these effects is the always having to be doing something active, even if it is only with my hands.

One of the ways I have found to keep my hands busy when I am doing things on the computer or on the TV is to eat.  Whether it be snacks or full meals.  I do believe my ADHD has been a major factor in the amount that I have eaten.  I have also grown to enjoy the tastes of food.  Together these have been a major factor in my weight gain.  Part of the reason that I have been able to determine that is the fact that when I was on my Adderall I started to lose weight and I felt like I was eating less.

Attention Deficit/Hyper Activity Disorder also leads to a lot of spontaneous action, that includes little to any food planning.  I can definitely attest to this being a major difficulty.  Rarely am I one to schedule my meals.  Partially it is because I don’t want be tied down to something so that I can eat the taste I want for dinner, but it is also because when it comes to planning I will forget about the plan or get distracted.  Now that I am not living alone I am trying to come up with ways to better this but I am falling short.

One way that I have been trying to use to fight my ADHD subliminally telling me to eat is to everytime I go to the kitchen to grab something out of the fridge, ask myself: “Do I really need this?”  I will then ask myself if I am hungry.  This may sound like one of those mind over matter things that very few people have been able to get to work but so far it has been working very well.  I find it works best when I am eating a big meal such as dinner.  I will look at the second breadstick and though I do want it, when I ask myself if I am full my tummy answers yes.  ADHD also helps to disable the “it’s time to stop eating” signal from the body, making it harder to detect when you should stop eating.  Now that I am trying to diet I am noticing myself getting fuller sooner but I used to not feel full as easily.

I am also trying to replace the snacks I do manage to talk myself into eating with healthier snacks.  While at home and even sometimes at work recently I have started eating grapes or carrots instead of cookies or cake.  I may have splurged a little in the snacking department while house sitting the last week and a half but I am going to attempt to go back to the snacks that I was eating before.

Carrots are better snacks for ADHD

The other thing I have been doing to counteract this is to whenever I want to eat a really good snack that I have been craving, I add an extra workout or extra walking to my day.  This might not help the snack I am going to eat that day but it will help to burn off the previous day’s calories and possibly burn off a previous snack.  Plus the more I can be motivated to get up and get out, the better.

With all of this being said I am not writing about this to say my ADHD is all that has made me gain weight.  There have been many other factors such as previously working in grocery stores.  ADHD has just been a major contributor and one I wasn’t aware that I had until college.  Looking back at it now a lot of other things in life make sense now that I know I have ADHD.


Information on ADHD

If you want more information on ADHD the National Institute for Mental Health has a good piece on it here.  Your doctor or a counselor will also be able to provide you with information about ADHD if you don’t want to read a government source.

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