ADHD, Food, and the Back-up Plan

Todays ADHD and diet question:

What's the most important thing to remember about diet and ADHD? Apparently I'm not so good at giving one answer. Here are five important things:

  1. Remember to EAT.
  2. Plan to eat.
  3. Know what foods work best for you.
  4. Know your body and how often you need to eat.
  5. Have a back-up plan.

Right now I want to focus on #5.

If you are someone who is prone to forgetting to eat- and then gets spacier because you didn't eat (and forgets even more once you haven't eaten), have a back-up plan. If you are someone who forgets to eat when you're hyperfocusing, and then your hyperfocus goes on unproductively because you're out of fuel, have a back up plan.

This can include protein (or other snack) bars or nuts or cheese sticks if you're on the go, or whatever will get your brain back into one piece so you can then figure out what you need to do.

It can also include talking with your family members/partner or friends about what you'll do or what it will look like when you haven't eaten- and what they can do. If you get so spaced out or disorganized when you get over-hungry that you can't figure out how to get some food together, tell them you'lll ask for food when that happens, and give them some ideas of things to give you- can they make you a pb&j or some eggs? (When I get it really bad, I say to my husband: "insert food please.")

Of course both of those things involve some planning; you need to know what emergency foods work for you- and what are at least ok- and have them in your house, or car, or bag, and know where to get them if you don't have any.

And you need to know when to give up. As soon as you recognize that you're too hungry to think clearly, get some food. Suspend further decision making until you've got that food in you. Suspend judgment on the kind of food; it's ok if it isn't perfect. You need to restart the brain and then reassess. Trust yourself and the knowledge that it isn't the best time to plan or make decisions. Attend to the basics first.

And then, get working on steps 1-4 so the back-up plan remains just that, and not a way of life.