Welcome back to the podcast! Today on the show we are talking all about ADHD. ADHD is something we are becoming more familiar with in general.
If you are someone that has ADHD or disordered eating you are going to learn a lot from this episode. We are going to be sharing tactical tips for nutrition if you do have ADHD. Today to talk about ADHD, we have Becca King with us. She is a registered dietitian from North Carolina and she specializes in helping adults with ADHD who struggle with disordered eating.
[03:49] Becca shares about herself and the work she does
Becca is a registered dietician and also has ADHD. She has struggled with disordered eating. A lot of her clients have ADHD and usually struggle with binge eating or overeating in some way, shape, or form. She actually worked in weight loss as her first job and that really wasn’t a good fit for her because it did not align with her values as a dietician. She got the chance to get laid off at the beginning of the pandemic and she knew she wanted to work in the anti-diet and intuitive eating space. She was reflecting on her story and her experience and working with a really good friend, and they both kind of struggled with the same thing. She realized that no one was talking about ADHD and struggles with eating so she decided that was what she was going to start talking about.
[06:17] What is ADHD & common myths
ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It’s basically a developmental impairment of your executive functioning so having issues with prioritizing, planning, staying on task, and completing things. One of the common myths is that more boys have it than girls. There is the stereotype of that little hyperactive boy who can’t sit still or maybe misbehaves in class.
[13:38] How ADHD impacts nutrition?
With nutrition, it all comes back to the executive dysfunction piece. You have to decide what to eat and get food on your plate. There’s a lot of executive function involved in that and so that can be very complicated for people that may not be able to decide what to eat, or go into the grocery store and be very overwhelmed, or even able to plan a meal and put all the pieces together. Without getting overwhelmed it can feel like a lot. Many of my ADHD clients might not even recognize that they’re hungry so that can be another challenge.
[23:29] Emotional eating & how to change it
Acknowledging what sorts of emotions or feelings or even emotional dysregulation is another piece of ADHD. It is sometimes harder to regulate emotions and food. The first step is normalizing it and saying that it’s okay and then exploring coping tools we can add so food isn’t what we rely on. With her clients, they talk about what can be most helpful to them in those moments. Sometimes it might be food but it can also be other things like going on a walk, listening to music, or calling a friend. When you do allow yourself to eat for stimulation or as a way to self-soothe, you’re going to end up probably overeating or potentially binging.
[25:53] Intuitive eating with ADHD
Intuitive eating is about creating space. You remove all the rules and that gives you the space to figure out a way of eating that works best for you. It will really look different for everyone. Especially for folks on medication, might not be able to eat three meals but it is still important to find ways to nourish yourself. The most important thing is just having the space to make it work for you.
[30:49] Tips for incorporating intuitive eating
It really depends on what you feel like you’re struggling the most with. With most of Becca’s clients, they start with a consistent eating pattern. That may mean moving things so healthy food is in your line of sight in the refrigerator or having a little snack tray in your office as a visual cue. It is important to just reduce the barriers to eating and nourishing yourself as much as possible. Another thing that she tells her clients is to check in with themselves and set an alarm to do this if they need to. Then ask yourself what I need right now? This will help create a better mind and body connection and help you better understand yourself.
[35:16] Becca answers the fun questions
Her favorite food right now is sushi but it fluctuates between sushi and Mediterranean food. She would love to have the superpower of flying because it would be cool to fly. Her best kind of self-care is solo dance parties. Balance for her means trying as best as she can to listen to her body and mind without judgment and really connecting with her needs and being flexible with things.