I began glowing while reading Maya’s insights about the ADHD friendly diet. I’m thrilled with Maya’s recent jump in progress. (If you missed it, Maya is our ADHD Success Club guest blogger.) She’s getting it. Understanding the Why behind the What. Making small changes and adjusting as needed. Being realistic. Go, Maya, Go! – Dana
While I marvel at the dietary discipline of some people (both in the Success Club and in my real world), I realize that for me doing too much too fast yields temporary results. For me, success in any facet of life involves my understanding why I must make changes coupled with small steps forward. This helps me build and sustain good habits. This way I’m not overwhelmed by complexity and can get back on track when needed.
WHY CHANGE TO AN ADHD FRIENDLY DIET?
Dana explained this week that a better functioning brain helps make it easier for clients improve organization and time management. Part of brain functioning involves maintaining an ADHD friendly diet. She introduced brain functioning in an earlier ADHD Success Club module on battling mental fog.
WHERE AM I NOW?
First, here is what I’ve improved and what I’m doing well eating for ADHD. On work days, I for breakfast I usually have a few boiled eggs or occasionally a smoothie with chia and flax. I drink my coffee black and mostly just drink LaCroix type fizzy water. Most of my lunches are pretty ADHD friendly. Often I snack on almonds or other nuts, but sometimes I eat junk. We have too many simple carbs in the house and not enough complex carbs. I should work on moving us in the right direction.
During spring stress at school, my dietary habits plummeted. My Easter basket was full of my brain’s Kryptonite, dark chocolate and jelly beans. Teacher Appreciation Week yielded desserts and gifts of dark chocolate. Teachers on the 8th-grade hall shared love with many treats. Let’s just say, there is a counter by which I should NOT walk. Teachers (and others) often stress eat to deal with spring fever, testing time, and adolescent hormones. While I have discipline and don’t eat an entire pan of brownies, I sometimes have more than a serving coupled with lousy timing for my brain.
I should eat less or wrap and save the treat for the end of the day. This week Dana explained her theory of moderation by explaining how she allows herself to eat a cookie, a bite of chocolate, or an occasional bowl of ice cream. She also explained how she eats what she knows affects her brain by saving it for the right time of the day. Scarfing down a brownie at the end of planning is not going to help my clarity during teaching or meetings. With every sugar high comes a sugar crash as well as the decrease in neurotransmitter functioning. Simply put, too much sugar is bad for my ADHD brain.
At the end of the school year, I was “wondering” what was going on with my meds and my clarity, and I blamed my fog on end of the year exhaustion. Ha! Subconsciously, I fully knew that I was filling my body with the types of food that negatively impact my brain as I realized that my brain lacks clarity and I feel like taking a nap. Once again, I’m realizing that bad choices and habits impact me tremendously. In times of stress, the choices I make are the worst ones for my brain. Grabbing sugar when I feel stressed is counter-intuitive to optimal brain functioning. This reminds me of how my brain craves complexity but needs simplicity. The action in these realizations is that I need to find simple ways that will help me make lasting changes.
SLOWLY SHIFTING TO THE ADHD FRIENDLY DIET THIS SUMMER BREAK
- Infiltrate home with healthy foods by taking fun bi-monthly family trips to Sprouts and Trader Joe’s
- Inform family of ADHD friendly diet plan
- Make healthy/family friendly meals to 1) make my husband happy that I’m cooking, 2) help make the family healthier, and 3) boost the brain functioning for all of us.
- Watch choices healthy people make (i.e. my Vegan/gluten free sister travel partner)
- Pay attention to food and brain function with various types of foods
- Make healthy snack & /school lunch list
- Use the family OurGroceries app
- Remember portion control by reinstituting my former Weight Watcher habits for snacking (no hands in bag and small container snacks)
- Combat my sugar weakness (new rule: NO SUGAR SECONDS). Note: While this is a far cry from a one-a-day approach or an only on special occasions’ approach, I think this is what is doable for me right now.
- Break down this list (prioritize and set up due dates on DueApp).
The last item on my list is to ensure that my I move from thoughts to actions inspired by the “voice in my head.” This voice is the Dana voice, in a mantra-like form, “Remember—you’ll forget.” If I don’t make a plan, I certainly won’t execute it. ← Wow, those words are beginning to feel like MY words. Wow, I truly think that Dana’s words and mindset are actually becoming a natural part of my being.
This makes me pause and process with happy tears in my eyes, Progress and awareness feel so good. Thank you, Dana. Oh, I’m asking for accountability on this because it’s something I can do this summer to make sure I can achieve my ADHD friendly diet goal with many steps: 1) gain clarity and awareness, 2) make a plan, 3) execute the plan (tweaking if needed), and 4) figure out how to sustain it moving forward.
* Note: One hour after posting this blog, I have created a tentative plan by setting 4 repeating reminders in my phone to begin taking small steps to shift to an ADHD friendly diet. I remembered that I would forget, and I did what I needed to do to combat that.