ADHD and Obesity

 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that can cause much turmoil in a young person’s life. The difficulties associated with this disorder can last a  lifetime if left untreated, leading to more problems later on in life. If left untreated, ADHD can lead to a lack of development in the brain, immaturity for age, social disconnectedness, and it puts them at higher risk to develop an addiction.

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ADHD causes problems in the child’s home, school, and social life, which can in turn lead to a variety of other disorders. It is important that parents, doctors, and educators are aware of the symptoms and ask the questions that need to be put forth.

A significant number of cases are diagnosed each year, leading to more and more children being put on medications and families seeking therapy. There are a significant number of interventions that can be used to treat ADHD, medication being recommended for the most severe cases. A combination of counselling and lifestyle changes can often make a large difference in the child’s life. ADHD may carry over into adolescence and adulthood, however, many develop coping strategies to combat the symptoms.

There have been links made between ADHD and obesity. Links have been made to obesity and the use of medication, as well as the impulsive nature of some of those diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD and obesity in childhood can predispose you to obesity in adulthood. Dieting and children are not something that go hand in hand, so what can you do to help your child?

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Making healthy lifestyle choices (i.e. eating right, exercising, etc.) is an easy and effective way to combat obesity in your family. Choosing to educate your child about eating habits and awareness of eating choices can help them develop a better sense of themselves and their choices. Allowing enough time for sleep, meals, and exercise will contribute to a happier and healthier child. Often times we may choose to stimulate our children with things like television and the computer. But everything has their time and place. Finding a balance between physical activity and time spent indoors is important.

We all want our children to grow up feeling happy, healthy, and loved. Let’s work together to make the next generation stronger, more aware, and empowered.

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An In Depth Look at Carbs and Cravings: Part 2

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There are many factors that influence our need to feed and overeat. The current obesity epidemic has experts exploring these factors. So what influences our need to feed? Being able to see and smell the food tempts us to eat, even if we are eating outside of meals and snacks. Dehydration and alcohol consumption also plays a part in our need to eat outside of mealtimes. Brain chemistry (unbalanced) also increases our need to eat excess, all in an attempt to increase the serotonin and dopamine in our brains. Excess eating may also be due to a lack of control over emotional distress (loneliness, stress, depression, boredom, etc). So what can be do to curb our cravings?

Well the first thing is to identify what is causing the craving in the first place. It could vary widely from person to person. However, commonly it is a hormonal imbalance (low blood sugar, low serotonin levels) brought on by stress, poor eating habits, and a variety of other things. Regulating blood sugar levels by being healthy and taking care of yourself is an easy way to ease these cravings. Other lifestyle changes like sleeping well and managing stress are good ways to also help eliminate cravings.

Preventing the craving from happening in the first place is quite clearly the goal, first and foremost. This can be done by ensuring that your meals are balanced and nutritious. Making sure that you are getting the appropriate amounts of protein is important for every meal, as well as making sure you never miss an afternoon snack. This is an easy way to prevent cravings in between meals and get you through the afternoon until dinner time.

If you are having a craving, it is better to choose a healthy sweet alternative rather than reach for the sweet cupboard. Having berries and other naturally sweet treats is a great way to get rid of your craving.

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Giving up carbs is a hard thing to ask anyone to do, but even reducing your carb intake can make a huge difference. A few ways that you can cut back on your carbs include:

  • Making sure that you are well rested and can manage your stress well

  • Have a healthy digestive tract

  • Have supplements on hand to balance your brain chemistry and to help manage stress.

Say no to the unhealthy carbs and yes to an overall healthier and happier you!