If you are anything like me, you have had a challenge with regulating eating and thus a challenge of carrying around more pounds than are good for your heath and well-being!
Diets have rules and requirements, and those can be hard for folks with ADHD-type challenges to manage. Also, researchers have found that diets don’t work in the long run. For one thing, your body’s metabolism slows down when you are dieting due to the lower number of calories you ingest, and it stays slow when you end your diet and go back to your prior eating regimen. Thus the pounds start to return and can come back in even greater number!
I’ve found a solution that works beautifully for me and my husband, clients, and colleagues. We’ve lost weight and are keeping it off! It’s called Intermittent Fasting or IF. You may have heard of it, since there have been a lot of books and articles written about it in recent years. My husband and I first started using it in 2012 and it worked amazingly well for us. Now we have decided to live an IF lifestyle. Both of us weigh around what we weighted in high school (though I think I actually weigh less now!).
For us, the plan looks like this. Our “eating window” (the time we allow ourselves to eat food) is five hours every day. We’ve chosen 7am to noon. The rest of the day and night we fast — eat no food — , but we do drink lots of water and non-caloric beverages. Some people on an IF plan have an eating window of 6 or 8 consecutive hours every day. You can do whatever works best for you. It is important to strictly keep the fast, because after 12 or so hours of not giving your body anything that it perceives as food, your body starts to burn fat. It becomes a fat-burning engine while you maintain your fast!
Last weekend I asked Dr. Russell Barkley, internationally recognized expert on ADHD, if he thought IF could work well with ADHD brains. Not surprisingly, he knew all about IF and agreed that it does work well for us. He highlighted the simplicity of IF as the main reason it works so well for folks with ADHD.
It is simple because there is only one basic rule: eat during your eating window; fast during your fasting window. There are no records to keep, calories to count, portions to weigh. For 19 hours a day (in my case), there is no need to make decisions about what or how much to eat, there is no meal to plan, there is no guilt! It’s simple! It works great for us ADDers!
As a coach colleague reminded me, IF also creates structure in our days. We need structure to support us, to keep us on track and motivated. Your eating window and your fasting window are a scaffolding for your day around which other elements can be built.
As an ADHD coach, I run support groups for individuals engaged in IF. My group members can be completely new to IF, or they can have already tried it for some time and would enjoy the support of a group going forward. The groups meet weekly for eight weeks by Zoom, so geography is not an issue. Together we discuss why IF works so well, support each other if challenges arise, celebrate our victories, and have fun!
If you are interested in joining such a group, please visit freetobecoaching.com/fast-forward to learn about my Fast Forward to Success program — a group coaching program for individuals engaged in intermittent fasting. Then, if you are interested, schedule a 20-minute conversation with me so we can determine if the program is for you. You’ll need to be sure your doctor is on board, as you would for any new program such as this, but there are so many health benefits that unless you have a condition that makes fasting unwise, your doctor (like ours) may well be delighted that you are considering IF!
I hope to hear from you!