The ADD Diet: How To Lose Weight When You Have ADHD

The ADD Diet: How To Lose Weight When You Have ADHD

If you have ADHD or ADD and are looking to lose weight, we’ve got a number of practical tips to help you.

In this guide, we will talk you through establishing a clear plan, including how to approach your nutrition and day-to-day meals. We’ll discuss balancing blood sugar, which is crucial for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and stable energy levels, as well as creating accountability for staying on track, and exercise to support weight loss and mental health. Routine is also key for those with ADHD and struggling with weight loss, and we have some practical strategies for creating a routine that will support you.

We are a team of qualified, experienced nutritionists who specialise in weight loss. We support a number of clients with ADHD / ADD in successfully losing weight. If you’re looking for support with overcoming your weight challenges, achieving your desired weight and maintaining it long term, we can help. Book in for a complimentary call with us today to find out more.

Here are a few insights we have gained that will help you stay on track to reach your desired weight and maintain it.


Yes, studies have found that ADHD can be a significant barrier to successful weight loss. One study found that obese patients who screened positive for ADHD reported more previous weight loss attempts, lost less weight, consumed fast food more frequently, had higher emotional eating, greater difficulty with weight control skills, and lower eating self-efficacy compared to obese patients who screened negative for ADHD. One review also discusses research showing that treating ADHD or related deficits in emotional regulation can improve weight loss outcomes. For example, one study found that obese adults with previously undiagnosed ADHD who were treated with stimulants lost 12.36% of their initial weight, while those without ADHD gained 2.78% on average.

The symptoms of ADHD, such as poor executive function, reduced neurotransmitter levels, and impulsivity, can make it more difficult for individuals with ADHD to maintain healthy eating habits and exercise routines, leading to greater challenges with weight loss and management.

While it can be more challenging for those with ADHD to manage their weight, it’s not impossible. Understanding the strategies that will support you is key.


Losing weight and maintaining a weight you’re happy at can be a struggle even for neurotypical people. Throwing ADHD into the mix can add in additional challenges. But fear not – it is possible.

If you have ADHD and want to lose weight, there are practical tips to help you. Before starting your weight loss journey, it is important to establish a clear plan. A plan should include the clear dietary approach you will follow, what your day-to-day meals will look like, and whether you will allow yourself a weekly treat meal. Balancing blood sugar is important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. To achieve stable blood sugar, structure balanced meals around a source of protein, a moderate serving of healthy fats, and plenty of vegetables and/or salad. Creating accountability is helpful for staying on track and reaching your goal. Exercise can help you lose weight indirectly by making you feel good and reinforcing your commitment to your nutrition plan.

In the following sections we’ll share detailed strategies for successful weight loss if you’re managing ADHD or ADD.


As the saying goes; fail to plan, plan to fail. Before you start your weight loss journey it’s important to have a clear plan in place. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

What sort of dietary approach are you going to follow?

What will your day to day meals comprise of?

How many meals will you eat per day and at what times?

Will you include snacks in your plan?

What do you need to have in place to ensure you stay consistent with eating in a way that supports your weight loss?

Will you drink any alcohol or cut it out altogether?

Will you allow yourself a weekly treat meal?

Ensure you have a clear plan laid out. It can be helpful to write it down and keep it somewhere handy to refer back to.

It’s also worth making a plan ahead of events like holidays and Christmas. In addition to providing our clients with a clear dietary plan, we also support them in making plans for life events. At times like this it can often be more realistic to aim to maintain your weight rather than aim for weight loss. Consider how you can strike the balance between enjoying yourself, but not letting all of your healthy habits go out of the window. Brainstorm and put together a list of guidelines for yourself. Your list might include ensuring you eat vegetables at all meals, setting a limit as to how many treats you’re going to have and aiming for two litres of water every day. Think of what will best support you and keep your list handy so that you can refer back to it when you need.


Balancing blood sugar is not only important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, it also helps to ensure sustained energy levels. Aim to structure your meals around a source of protein, a moderate serving of healthy fats and plenty of vegetables and / or salad. Avoid basing meals around starchy carbohydrate foods like bread, pasta, rice and potatoes which don’t support weight loss or sustained energy. Here is a guide to the glycemic index with practical tips on how to stabilise your blood sugar levels.


The more you can get into the habit of planning your meals in advance, the easier you’ll find sticking to a healthy diet. It can take some discipline to get into the habit initially, but it’s worth persevering.

Keep a stock of healthy tinned and frozen foods for those times when you find yourself with an empty fridge. Here is a recipe for a low sugar berry smoothie that you can throw together from frozen and store cupboard ingredients. It’s surprisingly satisfying and great as an emergency option. (Side note, this recipe includes avocado. If you notice an avocado starting to get overly soft simply halve it, peel it and freeze it for late use in your smoothie).

Batch cooking is a great way to ensure you have healthy meals prepared in advance. Consider setting aside one half day a week to plan and prep meals in advance. Getting someone to batch cook with you (or even for you) can be hugely helpful. Here’s a guide to meal prepping.


If you’re trying to lose weight with ADHD, routine is key. It can be helpful to identify what time you’re going to eat main meals (and snacks if they’re part of your plan). Setting an alarm in your phone to remind you to eat at your set times can be helpful.

Time restricted eating can support weight loss. This involves eating all of your food within a set window of time each day.  It’s important to identify the eating window that best works for you and stick to the same time each day. For example, if you plan to eat all of your food within a 10 hour window you might have your breakfast at 9am every day and ensure your last meal is finished by 7pm. Setting a cut off time for eating can also stop mindless grazing during the evening. Using a fasting timer app like Fastic can help time your fasts and give you a heads up when your eating window is coming to an end. Seeing your fasting days stack up will give you that little hit of dopamine to help you stay motivated.


Finding ways to stimulate dopamine healthily can help you to stay motivated. Here are a few ideas:

Track your weight loss results on a chart and update it weekly.

Create a checklists of healthy habits. Print it out, stick it to the fridge and check them off each day.

Use a habit tracker app that count your days sticking to a heathy habit like meditation or avoiding alcohol.

Break down your weight loss into smaller goals and reward yourself regularly. For example, if you have 20kgs to lose, you might choose to treat yourself every time you lose 5kgs. Choose a non food reward like a massage, a magazine or a fun day out.


Getting enough quality sleep will help your attempts to lose weight hugely. However, people with ADHD are more likely to struggle with sleep. They can experience shorter sleep time due to problems falling asleep and staying asleep. More information on the link between ADHD and sleep can be found on the Sleep Foundation’s website.

So how does lack of sleep impact your weight loss efforts? When you haven’t slept enough, levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin are increased so you’re likely to feel hungrier than normal which can lead to to overeating. Sleep also regulates how much leptin the body produces. Leptin is known as the ‘satiety hormone’ that lets us know when we’ve had enough to eat and sends signals to the brain that we’re full. Lack of sleep reduces levels of leptin meaning that our ‘stop eating’ messages don’t get through. In short, not getting enough sleep will leave you feeling hungrier than normal and less satisfied by the food you do eat.

Establishing a regular bedtime and wake time, avoiding screens and winding down before bed can all help prepare you for a better night sleep. There is a lot you can do to help yourself sleep better. I wrote a guide to sleep for the Evening Standard which includes a number of practical steps you can take to help get better sleep.


Creating accountability is especially helpful for helping you stay on track and reach your goal. Life events like Christmas, holidays or busy periods at work have the potential to throw us off track. Having someone to be accountable to can help to maximise the chances of staying on track.

Accountability has a profound impact on supporting weight loss. So much so it is one of the five pillars of our Intelligent Weight Loss Method. It’s helpful for neurotypical people and even more so for those looking to lose weight with ADHD / ADD. Accountability is not about telling you off if things haven’t gone to plan. Far from it. It’s about having someone to check in with you, ask how you’re getting on and help guide you back to balance when necessary.

If you aren’t working with a nutritionist who provides weight loss coaching, consider how else you could create accountability. Is there a friend or family member who you could organise to have regular accountability calls with? Or someone you could message with a weight update once a week?


Exercise has huge benefits for our physical health as well as our mental health. For those with ADHD the benefits of exercise can be profound. It is understood that exercise tempers ADHD by increasing the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline, both of which play key roles in regulating the attention system. Regular physical activity is understood to raise the baseline levels of dopamine and norepinephrine by promoting the growth of new receptors in certain brain areas.

Exercise is often associated with weight loss due to its impacts on calorie burn and muscle growth. Exercise can also help us lose weight through making us feel good. When we get that rush of endorphins it can boost our mood making us less likely to seek out pleasure from food. It can also provide that sense of having achieved something positive, reinforcing our commitment to healthy eating and other beneficial lifestyle habits.

Find an exercise you enjoy and you’re much more likely to stick to it. If you enjoy the gym, that’s great, but if not there are many other ways to get active. Classes can be fun and mentally engaging as well as physically. If you live in a city, Class Pass is a great way to try different types of workouts and benefit from the variety. If you can get a friend to join you, even better.


If you are susceptible to restlessness it can be tempting to head to the kitchen for a rummage in the cupboards. But instead of reaching for snacks, identify other, healthier ways to address restlessness. Getting out for a walk is not only a great way to harness your energy, it also physically removes you from the kitchen. Listen to a podcast or audiobook while you walk if you need mental as well as physical stimulation. If you can get out for a walk in nature, even better. If walking doesn’t work for you, identify another healthy go-to activity. It could be something creative like colouring or knitting.


If you do deviate from your plan, the most important thing is to not beat yourself up. It happens. Life can get in the way. But don’t let your deviation prevent you from achieving your goal. Brush yourself off, re read your plan and remind yourself of why you’re doing this.


Working with a nutritionist can be hugely beneficial for those looking to lose weight with ADHD / ADD. Having someone to provide you with a diet and lifestyle plan you’re confident is right for you. Creating accountability to keep you on track. Providing the practical tools to ensure healthy habits stick. And supporting you in overcoming any challenges along the way.

We can help you overcome your weight challenges, reach your happy weight and maintain it long term. Book yourself in for a complimentary 25 mintue call or contact us and a member of our team will be in touch soon. We can talk through your challenges and explore whether one of our Intelligent Weight Loss programmes is right for you.



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Sarah has worked with hundreds of clients over the past decade to help them live in a healthy body that they feel confident in.

Sarah spent a large part of her teens and 20’s as a professional dancer battling with orthorexia and an unhealthy relationship with food and her body. This created a desire to understand the human body more so she could finally cut through the confusion and end the cycle of yoyo dieting. This fuelled her passion to help other women do the same.


Sarah specialises in supporting women who are struggling to lose weight due to underlying health issues. She’s helped many women manage their weight during and after the menopause, as well as clients with thyroid disease and immune system dysfunction. Sarah loves food and sharing healthy recipes with her clients. Her aim is to ensure that clients don’t feel deprived and instead, achieve their weight loss and health goals in a positive and sustainable way.


To enquire about working with Sarah, please contact us.



Ailsa is one of our most experienced practitioners. She specialises in helping clients to lose weight, develop a healthy relationship with food and finally feel comfortable in their skin. Ailsa’s mission is for everyone she works with to enjoy the journey and that working with a nutritionist should not be a punishment, but your access to a new possibility.


Ailsa is not only an experienced weight loss nutritionist, she is also a skilled coach. She helps our clients overcome emotional eating, destructive habits and self-sabotaging behaviours that have prevented successful weight loss in the past. Ailsa has spent years in clinic working with clients who have experienced yo-yo dieting and have discovered that long term weight loss is not just about eating less until you can stand it no longer.


Working with Ailsa you will be comprehensively supported, not only in improving your nutrition and lifestyle, but also your eating habits and your relationship with food. When you work on all these elements together, the results can be truly astonishing.


To enquire about working with Ailsa, please contact us.

Test Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of the business. Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning. A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.



Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of th clinic.


Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning.


A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.


Stéphanie is a skilled nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner with additional training in eating disorders, disordered eating and obesity. She believes that working towards both physiological and mental health is key in achieving optimum wellbeing.


Stéphanie’s personal experience of emotional eating and the ongoing struggle to find the right support led her to combine the science of nutrition with behavioural coaching to motivate and empower her clients. She specialises in helping people who struggle with their weight and their relationship with food. She helps them develop a healthier and more peaceful relationship with food and their bodies.


To enquire about working with Stéphanie, please contact us.


Inna is passionate about supporting women on their journey to improved health and wellbeing. She believes that the solution to effective weight loss does not lie in ever more restrictive diets, but a more sophisticated approach that optimises health and vitality, as well as promoting effective weight loss.


Working with Inna you will benefit from her in-depth knowledge of female health and hormones. She will support you in developing a healthy diet, lifestyle and mindset that ensures you reach your ideal weight and maintain it in the years to come.


Inna is passionate about food with a wide repertoire of delicious healthy recipes and meal ideas to ensure your weight loss journey is as enjoyable as possible!


To enquire about working with Inna, please contact us.



Ania is a firm believer that improving your health and losing weight should be a positive, empowering journey, not one centred around deprivation.


After being diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions in her twenties, Ania spent several years educating herself on the power of food and nutrition. She put it all into practise and changed her diet and lifestyle, reversing her endometriosis and thyroid disease. After experiencing such a significant improvement in her health, Ania had a big desire to help others. She embarked on a four year journey to study nutrition, graduating from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition with distinction.


Ania specialises in autoimmunity and works with clients who have underlying health issues preventing successful weight loss. Her expertise enables her to successfully support our clients with conditions such as hypothyroidsm (underactive thyroid), PCOS and diabetes. 


To enquire about working with Ania, please contact us.

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