Obesity is a risk for everyone in our country today, but children and adults with ADHD appear to have a much higher than average risk. One study in 2015 looked at the research done in this area and concluded that the prevalence of obesity was increased by 70% in adults with ADHD and by 40% in children with ADHD.
I confess to not having a brain that easily understands the fine points of statistics and research, but I do know from what I have read and from my own life experience that those of us with ADHD can have a big challenge regulating our eating! In my life I have lost 60 pounds – TWICE!
Dieting is hard, hard work, and most often diets are not successful in the long term. Fortunately, I found something that works beautifully for me (and for my husband) and that has now become our lifestyle. It is not a diet, but it is a program for eating that works very well with ADHD brains. It is something you may have heard a lot about recently, but when we started in 2012 it was not nearly as well known. I am talking about intermittent fasting.
Russell Barkley even told me that he agrees that intermittent fasting works well for folks with ADHD, and he thinks the key is its simplicity!
While diets can be anything but simple — often require strict adherence to eating plans, measuring food, counting calories, regular weigh-ins, etc., — intermittent fasting has one simple rule: eat during your eating window and don’t eat outside of your eating window. That’s it! You can eat a vegan diet, as my husband and I do, or any other form of healthy diet that works for you.
There are many ways people choose to practice intermittent fasting, but what works best for me is to have the same schedule each day of the week. Some people choose to confine their eating to eight or even ten hours each day. Others choose to eat during six hours.
I choose to eat during five hours and to fast the other 19 hours of the day. That’s called a 5/19 plan. Other plans such as 6/18, 8/16 or 10/14 can work, too. The main discipline is to follow your chosen schedule and obey the one rule of intermittent fasting – eat during your eating window and don’t eat outside of your eating window. Outside of your eating window you need to stay hydrated and can do that by drinking water or any non-caloric beverage (though artificial sweeteners are not recommended).
Some people have their eating window later in the day if they would like to have dinner with family or friends. My husband and I choose to eat from 7am to noon every day. That’s what works best for us. I quickly lost the pounds that had begun creeping back on after my last diet and am maintaining my goal weight easily on this program.
If you are interested in learning more about intermittent fasting, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org – or use the contact links at freetobecoaching.com. You may be interested in my group coaching program focused on intermittent fasting. While the rule is simple, the support of a group of like-minded individuals is an enormous help in getting started and sticking with it, though the nearly immediate improvement in your sense of well-being and the loss of pounds are great motivators as well!