Rounding the corner, momentum strong, pumpkin spice thick in the air. You guessed it, the holiday season is nipping at our heels again!
Along with a good dose of joy, merry, and warmth, this time of year can also conjure up some bigger (and sometimes downright uncomfy) feelings, emotions, and reflections within our mind and body around sticky food rules, harsh and critical self-talk, and shame shame shame for every little move we make (or don’t make).
Personally, I’ve been feeling the pull to reflect on my food and body journey of holiday time past, my navigation of newer territory around the holidays this year, and some bigger picture food and body relationship realizations for future holidays (and future life in general)!
Oh yeah, who am I you may be asking? Let me introduce myself!
Hi there! I’m Marcy :) I’m a current Masters of Science in Nutrition student at Bastyr in San Diego, an ADHD human with a decade of...
As a human who is eating with ADHD, you likely experience some *unique* patterns and habits around food and eating. Even when you do your very best to nourish yourself, you might often find yourself in a pretty sticky ADHD eating spiral.
Medicated for ADHD or not, it’s hard to snap out of hyper-focus, hard to hear and understand your special and subtle hunger cues, hard to face the steps on steps on steps it takes to get food from the kitchen to your mouth, and with an undernourished mind and body, your animal instincts can quickly become a barbaric sensation of NEED FOOD, ME HUNGRY… NOW! And thanks to diet culture, there is a steady stream of guilt, shame, and self-judgment that follows all of this.
That my friends, is what the Wise Heart team likes to call the ADHD Eating Spiral.
And for those of you that are of the unmedicated ADHD variety, this spiral has a similar loop but a different...
Have you ever thought about the rules - some more obvious, others almost unnoticeable - that you hold around food and your body? Everyone has unique beliefs, narratives, and ideas that drive how we each relate to food and body, but where did they come from and why do we hold onto them? To really understand your own unique set of food and body rules, it can be helpful to take a little trip backwards in time, to visit your younger self.*
*If thinking about your own childhood feels triggering or activating, we suggest thinking about children in general for the example below
Hi, little child, you. Sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the floor of the kitchen, overhearing the adults chatter on about what they don’t like or need to change about their bodies, commiserating over failed dieting attempts and sharing the latest fad diet tips… all of this swirling around as normalized kitchen counter chatter. The tune of the conversation getting slowly and...
I’m sure I’m not the only one that needs to hear this (and could really use the reminder #forever&always ) but boy oh boy can it feel like an uphill battle to be kind in our highly stimulated minds! The not-so-kind-in-our mind thoughts can feel like second nature, like a smooth and deeply grooved neural pattern to berate and beat ourselves up with. Whether it’s something we said last week, something we did yesterday, something we ate today, or something we’re actively thinking about (“WHY AM I THINKING THIS WAY?” inception) it still leaves us feeling worse for wear in our mind and body and keeps the un-kind groove… groovin’.
Our quirky and unique brains can easily get on the un-kind merry-go-round, but have a hard time getting off once the cycles and circles are in motion. The thoughts are painfully stimulating! Emotionally charged! And it can feel like they’re firing on all cylinders up there.
You may have heard (or even felt) criticism that intuitive eating is not possible for neurodivergent (i.e. ADHD, Austistic) people. At Wise Heart Nutrition, we reject that all-or-nothing thinking and invite you to explore our approach, and see how intuitive eating may need to be modified to be realistic for you. Here, we reframe each of the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating to be inclusive of neurodivergent folx. It might not feel ~magically intuitive~, but setting up systems that work for you in order to honor your body’s needs with compassion is 100% intuitive eating.
While this is obviously easier said than done, everyone can embrace this first principle. It helps to learn more about how diets don’t work. Like how in 90-97% of cases, those who lost weight will gain it back within 2-5 years; and about of people will gain back even more weight than they originally lost. The diet and weight...
Many individuals, (especially ADHDers and folx with a history of dieting) struggle with binge or compulsive eating, and more often than not, the binge eating is automatically seen as the "problem" to be fixed. This often results in deprivation and restriction to "make up for overeating", which then leads to more binge eating. In addition, beliefs about not having "enough willpower" or "discipline", as well as guilt and shame, often show up after or during a binge due to our society creating the myth that you should, or even can, have control over food. Binge eating, negative emotions, and restriction often spirals into a vicious cycle, which can feel impossible to break.
The cycle (see graphic below) has several stages: the binge, the sense of emotional relief or numbness, the thoughts and feelings that follow, the planning, the disruption to the plan, and then back to the binge. Diet culture has...
Dietary variety (eating lots of different foods from all the different food groups) has long been considered a pillar of “good nutrition”. Blanket dietary recommendations like this are intended to support the greater population, but when these guidelines are solely focused on nutrients and physiological health, many groups of people get overlooked, left out, and placed in a disadvantaged position where health and wellness (when measured by whether or not a person is meeting a given recommendation) are essentially out of reach. And when these folx continue to chase after an impossible standard, other aspects of health (mental, emotional, relational, financial, etc.) suffer… and that isn’t really supportive of health at all.
When we talk about health, instead of trying to fit everyone into one box, we need to consider and understand what is REALISTIC, CONTEXTUAL, ACCESSIBLE, POSSIBLE,...
You planned to eat something, but then you got sucked into the ADHD black hole and totally forgot. Suddenly, it’s 5pm and you feel this primal, intense pull towards the kitchen cabinet, and find yourself in a frenzy, grabbing and eating cookies, chips, gummy bears, and peanut butter without actually enjoying any of it.
Or maybe you open the fridge and see the ingredients you bought to make dinner, but the thought of cooking brings on a flash of overwhelm, so you quickly order delivery for the 3rd time this week.
Or perhaps you have some meal options that sound doable, but in the moment, literally nothing sounds appetizing, so you just feel angry, irritated, and intensely emotional… and you end up curling up in a ball and avoiding all things food.
Yep. I’ve been there too. And for many years I thought that a) I lacked discipline and willpower, b) I had no motivation or impulse control, and c) I was...
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