Sugar and Carbohydrate Cravings: The ADHD-Dopamine Connection

For us, mainstream weight-loss programs are ineffective. Sugar and carbohydrates provide an abundance of dopamine, which is what ADHD brains lack and crave (or rolls, as the case may be). We need to become shrewd and cunning before we can become healthy. This is how ADD-friendly weight loss works.


Linking ADHD and Obesity

According to medical research, the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in obese people is five to 10 times higher than in the general population. Although it is still unclear, there is a very real connection between fat and ADHD. Impulsivity, ill-preparedness, and intense emotions are undoubtedly detrimental to weight loss efforts, but there may be other factors at work as well.


Dopamine Deficit in the ADHD Brain

Low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is a substance produced into the brain by nerve cells, are, as you may know, one of the hallmarks of ADHD.


As a result of this dopamine deficiency, individuals with ADHD are “chemically wired” to always seek more, according to Harvard Medical School in Boston psychiatry professor John Ratey, M.D. According to him, “eating carbohydrates causes a rush of dopamine in the brain.” “It is the need for the sense of fullness.”


Control Your Dopamine

If you find it difficult to control your dopamine levels with diet, you might want to think about taking a stimulant medicine. Stimulants help people with ADHD become better at observing and managing their activities and avoiding impulsive eating by increasing the brain’s executive function. Additionally, they facilitate continuous follow-through with meal and exercise regimens for those with ADHD.


Eat Throughout the Whole Day

Adults with ADHD should do the following to further prevent overindulging in eating binges to satisfy their dopamine cravings: Do not let being preoccupied or preoccupied compel you to skip meals. When you are at your lowest, you are far more inclined to overindulge in bad calories.


Grazing—eating many small meals throughout the day—offers a “source of continual stimulation that may alleviate symptoms of restlessness in adults with ADHD,” according to Lance Levy, M.D.


Get Rid of ADHD Temptation

Even the most self-controlling people still find it difficult to avoid sweet and salty meals when they are hidden in the cabinet. By creating a “food environment” that encourages healthy eating, you can prevent impulsive eating. This entails stocking up on wholesome meals and snacks that do not take much preparation and getting rid of munchies like chocolates, chips, and other items that promote bingeing. Hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, protein bars, part-skim mozzarella sticks, dried fruit, almonds, and seeds, apples, and oranges are all excellent options for a diet that effectively addresses ADHD.


Steer clear of crash diets.

Recognize that rapid weight loss or crash diet schemes frequently result in a rebound effect that makes you weigh more than you did initially. Consider the adjustments you are making as a component of a bigger scheme to enhance your general state of mind and body. You must make consistent dietary and behavioral modifications in order to maintain a weight loss. Are you really going to spend the rest of your life eating just grapefruit and stolen eggs? If not, you should eat balanced meals and make long-lasting dietary adjustments. After all, who would?


Exercise Releases Dopamine—A Need in ADHD Brains

Did you know that by raising dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, exercise might help reduce symptoms associated with ADHD? Adults with ADHD who engage in regular physical exercise can increase their baseline levels of dopamine and norepinephrine by promoting the development of new receptors in certain brain regions, which helps to further regulate attention and lessens the desire to increase dopamine through food.


Change Up Your Exercise Routine

While stationary cycles, elliptical machines, and treadmills are excellent cardiovascular exercises, they may also rapidly get monotonous. Maintaining your interest can be achieved through interval training. Compared to longer workouts, interval training burns more fat in 20 minutes by alternating short bursts of high-intensity exercise with periods of low-intensity activity.


This is how you do it: Spend five to ten minutes warming up on a stationary cycle, the treadmill, or a run. After 20 to 30 seconds of as fast as you can pedal, walk, or run, take a minute or two to recover with low-intensity exercise. Regain your speed, then relax. In 20 minutes, perform five or six alternations.


Keep It Real

It did not happen overnight that you gained 20, 30, or 100 additional pounds, and it will not go off that fast either. The effects of years of overeating and inactivity take time to undo, so discuss realistic weight-loss goals with your doctor.


Many adults with ADHD have unrealistically high fitness objectives, which unintentionally create the conditions for failure. Saying you will work out for thirty minutes, for example, but only managing fifteen, could demoralize you to the point where you skip your next workout.


Establish Realistic Objectives

Start by determining the bare minimum of activity that you consider appropriate, such as 15 minutes twice a week. Next, decide on a modest maximum exercise time, such as 30 minutes twice a week. You most likely will not have any problems achieving your minimal target, and there is a strong likelihood that you will surpass it as well.


Reaching your objectives gives you a positive feeling and motivates you to continue working out. In order to avoid becoming stuck, do not forget to periodically raise your minimum and maximum goals.


Monitor Your Development

Put an X on the days you work out on an old calendar that you hang up. Keep it simple: There is no need to record your heart rate, workout time, repetitions, or laps. Examine your accomplishments once a month to gauge your progress.


An easy way to keep track of the calories you consume each day is to use a mobile app such as Cronometer. Increasing your knowledge of the calorie content of common foods can enable you to make better judgments on the spot.


Remain Inspired

Get friends to join you on your weight loss journey; they can help you stay motivated and share your suffering and accomplishments. Losing weight is easier when done with a partner. You can even wish to include a wager on who will reach their goal weight first to spice things up. Financial gain is a powerful motivator, and decreasing weight even benefits the “loser.”


When you need a lift, friends can also be a big assistance. Many adults with ADHD become really excited about starting an exercise regimen, but after a few weeks they get disinterested. If it describes you, send yourself a supportive note. When you first start an exercise program, give it to a buddy, and when your motivation wanes, ask her to “deliver” it back to you.

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