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I Would Never Have Known I Was Fat if it Wasn’t for My Wii

May 12, 2013

ADHD and MiiWell, that isn’t actually true.  I believe I realized it right around the time that I stopped allowing people to take pictures of me on any kind of regular basis.  This of course has had the added benefit of allowing me to remain 29ish for more than a decade, at least so far as could be proved with photographic evidence.

Nevertheless, I wasn’t always fat, and yes I have the pictures to prove it.  But I can tell you exactly when I started thinking that using words like voluptuous and curvy might help men overlook the fact that there was more of me than there should be.  Coincidentally, it was also the time that my ADHD began to have the most significant impact on various areas of my life.  And it was around the time that I went from being super-active (not to be confused with hyperactive) to barely active at all.  That might seem like a lot of change all at once but I am not kidding when I tell you it all happened almost overnight.  Well not the fat part, that took time, but the changes in me that would take me from being a normal-size person to a being a plus-sized person happened in the blink of an eye and were so subtle, it would be years before I would be aware of them at all.

It all goes back to college.  In high school I was a three sport athlete that spent hours on the field before hitting the gym to teach aerobics on the side.  In college, I was a party-loving sorority girl that sometimes remembered to go to class.  In high school, I was so active I never really had to pay attention to what I ate.  In college, I kept eating that way which included nightly trips to the snack bar for mozzarella sticks and buying steak and cheese subs from D’Angelo’s with my meal points.  With that picture in mind it won’t be hard to imagine that my Freshman 15 was handily followed by the Sophomore 20 and even the half-of-Junior year 20 more.  By the time I decided to take some time off to get my priorities straight, no only was I barely getting the grades required to remain enrolled, I had gained almost 60 pounds…and started smoking.

When I look back now, I can see the devious thread of ADHD weaving through that time in my life and leaving me rapidly unraveling.  It is only now however, with 20 years of experience and understanding that I can tell you with certainty that I am fat in large part because I have ADHD.

Now before you start thinking I am using it as an excuse, I didn’t say that ADHD made me fat.  That would be an excuse.  I said I am fat because I have ADHD which is an entirely different thing, and here is why.

I am fat because:

  • I have trouble remembering that I am fat
  • I have even more trouble remembering to do things like keep track of my food
  • If I do remember to track my food, I have trouble remembering what I ate because much of the time I eat on auto-pilot
  • Eating on auto-pilot makes it difficult to change your eating habits since that requires that you pay some kind of attention to what you are putting in your mouth
  • Eating on auto-pilot is also how you eat an entire box of cookies without realizing it
  • Sometimes I want to eat a whole box of cookies at once, on purpose, and it is really hard NOT to do that once my brain gets all interested and realizes it is possible
  • My brain is REALLY good at rationalizing away things like calories, fat grams, and cankles when there is a box of cookies on the line – I mean, it is just this once and I really haven’t eaten much today
  • Rationalization is probably bad when you have a neurotypical brain but when you have a brain like mine, forget about it – if I had a dollar for every time I overindulged “just this once” because I was convinced that it had been a really long time since the last time (regardless of the actual amount of time that had passed) I would have a lot more money to buy cookies….I mean new clothes when I finally lose this weight.
  • When you have an ADHD brain like me it is almost impossible to use future rewards, like the cute skinny clothes mentioned above, as an incentive to change current behavior…..There is NOW and NOT NOW and right now, there are cookies
  • While most people would assume that I eat too much, that is not the case all the time
  • In fact, I frequently forget to eat at all – thanks Adderall!
  • While this was super-awesome in the beginning and resulted in me swiftly dropping 20 pounds, the end result it that my body, which should really know better by this point, thinks I am starving and in an effort to be helpful it stores everything I eat as fat.
  • I know this because of a visit to a helpul nutritionist who explained to me in detail how bad it is to skip meals because she wasn’t buying that I forget to eat.
  • When I forget to eat, it will eventually catch up to me all at once and I will eat enough for a whole day in a very short time because I am STARVING instantly and may even feel faint or dizzy
  • This behavior is very similar to an eating disorder called Binge Eating…however, I think in order to have an eating disorder you have to pay a lot more attention to food than I do….I have a not-eating disorder, it is called ADD.
  • Every once and awhile I do actually remember that I am fat which means I have spent the better part of the last two decades trying not to be fat anymore which, after trying all the different diets and weight loss programs, has really only made me fatter.
  • Well, that isn’t exactly true, most of them work….for awhile
  • I am really really good at losing weight for about 6-8 weeks
  • This is because learning new things, even diet programs, is fun and interesting to my brain and when things are fun and interesting, I am unstoppable
  • Unfortunately, most diet and weight loss programs lose their fun and interesting-ness after about 6-8 weeks.

So, where does that leave me?

Over the course of the 20 years since I stopped being able to buy clothes at Express, I have binged, dieted, starved, lost, gained, and not exercised my body until my metabolism was so messed up the aforementioned nutritionist actually told me that I needed to eat more, not less if I wanted to lose weight in order to convince my body it is not in fact starving so it will stop storing and start burning.

Yay me!

If you think about it though, it makes perfect sense.  I take speed to slow my brain down, why wouldn’t I have to eat more to lose weight.  If only I could figure out what I had to do in order to make a billion dollars….

The point is this….losing weight is hard, no matter who you are.  Being fat is easy, even if you take Adderall.  But having ADHD makes the hard one even harder and the easy one much much easier.  While it was all those mozarella sticks, steak and cheese subs, and cookies that got me to the place where the video game in my living room feels the need to alert me every day that I am obese…..my ADHD is what keeps me here.

Turning Leaf Life Coaching offers coaching for ADHD and Life Transitions worldwide .  For more information, go to www.turningleafcoaching.com.

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