ADHD and Weight Control continued
And I didn t feel deprived. It s true for every human being, every mammal that feels confined, restricted, or controlled we re going to lash out. That s what diets do to us, Luther said. And if you start feeling deprived and don t address that, you re going to self-destruct. Even when successful, Luther said she allowed herself a tiny bit of dark chocolate every day, which went a long way in keeping that deprived feeling at bay.
Luther also said that when her eating was under control, she could even go out with friends, eat and drink, and then the next day she wanted to go back to her healthier way of eating.
We Can All Use a Positive Spin
Unfortunately for Luther, in recent years that has proven more difficult, partly due to depression and hormone fluctuations that hit about two or three years ago. I just couldn t sustain things as well, Luther said. I lost it through the holidays. The depression just dragged me down.
Luther said she reached out for help, but nothing worked. I couldn t even get the doctors to hear me. I was scared of my own impulsivity and needed additional support.
David Girwerc, founder of ADDCA (the ADD Coach Academy), believes that when something is out of harmony, people need to pay attention to that "disharmony" and the signals that manifest in one's own body. He points out that for inattentive types, they need to work that much harder to observe those patterns. "It is all about the power of the pause," he says and learning how to identify the signals that are being sent to your brain before they expand into a dangerous situation that can compromise your physical and or mental health.
Girwerc explains how depression can create a barrier to the successful patterns already established, which is what happened to Luther. Even though she had experienced success before, having learned how to pause and consciously make the right choices and decisions that created consistent and positive results, the depression took her right back to her old days. "But if she was successful once before, she can do it again," Girwerc said.
"Positive psychology is about savoring the success and taking those learning experiences into the next phase. It is the savoring and reappraisal that makes resilient people come back and take action in new and improved ways."
Luther agrees, and in retrospect, she believes that perhaps she had to regain some of the weight to learn further lessons particularly around negative self-talk and being loving and compassionate toward yourself, no matter what.
There will be good days and bad days and if you make a mistake, beating yourself up is not going to help, Luther points out. Self-compassion is about awareness; it's about being empathetic with one's own self and finding habits that you can enjoy to pull yourself forward.
Creating a Brighter Future
According to Dr. Russell Barkley, a leading ADHD expert, we struggle to have a memory of the future. What that means, Luther explained, is that it is very difficult for those with ADHD to see ourselves in the future. We can t connect to our future selves on an emotional or intellectual level. We aren t able to think of our future selves and act from what our future selves will really, really want. It s very difficult for us to remember and act from how we want to feel and be a month from now, let alone years from now. We need multiple and constant reminders to help us manage our eating, especially when temptations arise and our willpower is worn down.
That is exactly the reason Luther suggests finding someone to be your weight loss buddy, Someone who also wants to lose weight and needs support. Luther suggests setting short, attainable milestones like 5 or 10 pounds at a time. She also suggests building in non-food celebrations for when you reach those short goals. Get help to manage the negative self-talk. Enlist structures that really will be supportive; get that partner to help you. It makes it more fun and helps tremendously.
Don't think of managing your weight as a war, Luther said. Learn to be mindful and self-compassionate.
I certainly don t want to look back on my life and have it be all about my weight, so keep it in perspective. After all, the scale doesn t tell us who we are as people!